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It didn’t take long for Cody Barton to shine with Bobby Wagner gone

The former Utah linebacker earned the start for the Seahawks in the same spot once occupied by the eight-time Pro Bowler

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Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton is pictured during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton is pictured during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Seattle. Barton started for the Seahawks on Monday, replacing the departed Bobby Wagner, and had a career-high 10 tackles, a sack and some timely plays in the Seahawks’ 17-16 win over the Denver Broncos.

Stephen Brashear, Associated Press

It’s Cody Barton’s turn to make a name for himself in the middle of the Seattle Seahawks defense, and on Monday night in the team’s season opener against the Denver Broncos, he did just that.

The former University of Utah linebacker earned the right to replace longtime Seahawk Bobby Wagner, a former Utah State standout, at middle linebacker and had a career-high 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack and a QB hurry in helping Seattle hold off the Broncos, 17-16.

After the Seahawks released Wagner, an eight-time Pro Bowler, this offseason and he signed with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle turned to Barton, the former Brighton High star who’s entering his fourth NFL season.

Barton had a pair of big plays in particular that helped thwart Denver scoring opportunities.

With less than a minute left in the first half with the Broncos threatening to score a touchdown facing a second-and-10 from the Seattle 24, Barton rushed through the middle and threw down former teammate Russell Wilson for a 10-yard sack.

That forced Denver to kick a field goal, cutting the Seahawks lead to 17-13 at halftime.

Then, with just under a minute and a half to play and Seattle nursing a one-point lead, the Broncos faced a first-and-10 at their own 49. Wilson, who was traded to Denver this offseason, flipped a pass to running back Javonte Williams in the backfield, but Barton was right there.

He shed a block attempt and dropped Williams for a 4-yard loss.

While Barton was hurt on the play — head coach Pete Carroll couldn’t provide an injury update postgame — it was a critical moment: Denver failed to pick up enough yardage for a first down over its next two plays and missed a 64-yard field goal attempt in the final 20 seconds, ensuring victory for the Seahawks. 

The NFL Network’s James Palmer suggested Barton’s last tackle of the night won the game for Seattle.