SEATTLE — Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner stood face to face, screaming at each other in celebration, counting up all the turnovers the Seattle Seahawks accumulated.
There were plenty, along with a franchise record for points in a 58-0 rout of the inept Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Sherman and Wagner each had two interceptions, part of the eight turnovers forced by the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch had three touchdown runs and Seattle (8-5) kept firm grasp on the final NFC wild-card spot. It also kept alive slim chances of catching San Francisco in the NFC West.
The Seahawks also picked up their first division victory of the season and gave coach Pete Carroll his first eight-win season in three years with the Seahawks.
Leon Washington’s 3-yard run with 2:32 left pushed the Seahawks past the old record of 56 points scored against Buffalo in 1977. The eight takeaways were their second most, equaling a 1998 achievement.
Lynch ran for 128 yards on 11 carries and scored on runs of 20, 4 and 33 yards. His last score on the first drive of the second half tied his career high for TD runs in a game and was the capper to his afternoon. Lynch’s backup, Robert Turbin, also topped the century mark with 108 yards.
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson wasn’t asked to do much, completing 7 of 13 for 148 yards and one touchdown. But unlike last week in Chicago, the Seahawks didn’t need any heroics from Wilson.
In fact, Wilson got to be a spectator for the last 25 minutes while Matt Flynn finally got his first regular-season action in a Seahawks uniform.
The Seahawks scored nearly every way possible, turning their first home game in about a month into a rout that will only increase debate in Phoenix whether Ken Whisenhunt will be back as Cardinals coach.
It was an effortless performance by the Cardinals (4-9), who have lost nine straight, the longest slide for the franchise since 1944. It was the worst shutout loss in Cardinals history and their first time being shut out since losing 38-0 to the Seahawks in 2003. The Cardinals gained just 143 yards and almost as many turnovers as first downs (10).
Larry Fitzgerald had one reception and that didn’t come until the fourth quarter. John Skelton made numerous ill-advised throws into coverage and was intercepted four times.
Arizona actually started well, with Skelton completing his first three passes. When Skelton finally threw in the direction of Fitzgerald the day quickly spiraled out of control. Skelton’s pass found Fitzgerald’s hands, but was wrestled free by K.J. Wright, tipped from hitting the ground by Walter Thurmond and into Wagner’s hands.
Wagner’s return set up the first of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals. The Seahawks then went 85 yards in 11 plays capped by Lynch sprinting around the edge for a 20-yard TD.
Wilson later hit Anthony McCoy for 67 yards to set up Lynch’s 4-yard TD.
Skelton was stripped by Chris Clemons and fell on the loose ball for the second Arizona turnover. Skelton threw into triple coverage to Fitzgerald and Sherman caught the poor throw, returning it 19 yards for a touchdown.
Patrick Peterson muffed a punt deep in his zone, the ball was batted around and eventually tipped to Malcolm Smith, who recovered in the end zone for a 31-0 lead.
And finally, Peterson was hit from behind and fumbled on a punt return late in the first half. Wilson hit Zach Miller for a 24-yard TD with 6 seconds left in the second quarter.
About the only bit of fight shown by the Cardinals came late in the third quarter during a pushing and shoving match that resulted in Daryn Colledge getting a personal foul for unnecessary roughness. By that point, the Seahawks led 51-0.