GLENDALE, Ariz. – Matt Hasselbeck was brilliant until he cracked a bone in his left wrist. Even that didn’t stop him altogether.
The Seattle quarterback, out last week with a concussion, threw for 333 yards and a touchdown, most of them before he was hurt late in the first half, and Mike Williams had the biggest game of his rejuvenated career in the Seahawks’ dominant 36-18 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Hasselbeck cracked a bone in his left wrist on a quarterback sneak late in the second quarter. He didn’t start the second half, but returned in the third series of the third quarter.
His wrist was in a cast after the game, but he said he was hopeful to play at New Orleans next weekend. Coach Pete Carroll said the injury “looks to be manageable.”
When he went to the locker room at halftime, Hasselbeck figured he was done for the day.
“In my mind, I felt there was no way,” he said.
But he came back and, although the team had trouble completing drives, the Seahawks never really were in trouble.
Williams, who spent the past two seasons out of the NFL after flopping in Detroit, caught 11 passes for 145 yards, both career highs, for the Seahawks (5-4), who swept the Cardinals for the first time since 2005. His performance came despite fracturing the pinkie finger on his right hand in practice on Thursday.
With St. Louis losing to San Francisco in overtime, Seattle is alone in first place in the NFC West, a division the Seahawks won six years in a row before Kurt Warner led the Cardinals to the crown the past two seasons.
“There was a time when we owned this division,” Hasselbeck said, “and they just took it from us.”
The Seahawks are in the process of earning it back.
“We opened it up and threw the ball a lot and still rushed for 100 yards,” Carroll said. “It is a really good day for us in a lot of ways.”
Meanwhile, Warner is retired and the Cardinals are in trouble.
Arizona (3-6) lost its fourth straight, its longest skid since dropping eight in a row in 2006, Dennis Green’s final season as coach.
“These are tough times for us,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “I think what we have to do is continue to work the way we’ve been working and have our guys step up. That is all you can do.”
On several occasions, boos echoed through the building.
The Seahawks, outscored 74-10 in losses to Oakland and the New York Giants in their two games since beating Arizona in Seattle, could have made this win far more one-sided. Seattle had to settle for four of Olindo Mare’s five field goals when second-half drives stalled at the 16-yard line or closer. Two of them ended at the 1.
Mare missed a sixth field goal, from 29 yards, when it bounced off the left upright.
Arizona’s Derek Anderson completed 23 of 45 for 322 yards. He was intercepted once, fumbled the ball away once and was sacked five times, two apiece by Aaron Curry and Chris Clemens.
Hasselbeck dissected the Arizona secondary for 273 yards passing in the first half.
He repeatedly threw with success toward cornerback Greg Toler and safety Adrian Wilson, often defending against Williams. Eventually, Toler was benched in favor of Michael Adams.
After the game, Toler and Wilson sat silently at their lockers, not turning to face reporters.
The game plan, Williams acknowledged, was to stay away from cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
“He is so instinctive and fast,” Williams said. “We kind of worked our way away from him while we took advantage of the guy on the other side.”
Hasselbeck had a 63-yard touchdown pass to Deon Butler, who evaded three defenders, including Toler and Wilson, on the catch and run that put Seattle up for good 17-10 midway through the second quarter.
The Cardinals had a wisp of life late. Anderson’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Early Doucet, followed by a 2-point conversion toss to Larry Fitzgerald, cut it to 29-18.
Arizona went for an onside kick and recovered, but was called for touching the ball before it went 10 yards.
Arizona kick returner and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling injured a hamstring in the first half and running back Jason Wright went down with a head injury. That left the team, already without Beanie Wells, down to only one running back, Tim Hightower.