SEATTLE – Russell Wilson got the hook. He wasn’t complaining.
On his way to some NFL history, Wilson was told to be an observer for the final 25 minutes of Seattle’s 58-0 rout of the inept Arizona Cardinals.
“It was great to be able to come out of the game because we blew them out so bad,” Wilson said. “The game was a crazy game throughout.”
Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner each had two interceptions, Marshawn Lynch ran for three touchdowns and the Seahawks set a franchise record for points. They forced eight turnovers and kept firm grasp on an NFC wild-card spot.
Seattle (8-5) also holds a slim chance of catching San Francisco in the NFC West.
“This was really a different game. This is so much different than everything we’ve played,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s a nice reward. Sometimes you get a chance to win big like that and we haven’t had many since we’ve been here.”
After two straight weeks of games decided in the final seconds or overtime, the Seahawks got a chance to relax. Seattle also picked up its first division victory of the season and gave Carroll his first eight-win season in three years here.
But no one could have expected this kind of rout.
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.
And there were numerous statistical oddities.
Tight end Anthony McCoy, who had a 67-yard reception to set up one of Lynch’s TD runs, became the first Seattle receiver to top 100 yards this season. Sherman got the Seahawks their first defensive touchdown of 2012 when he intercepted John Skelton and returned it 19 yards in the second quarter. He also recovered a fumble.
“I’ve never been involved in anything where the ball falls your way every single time. It seemed like if the ball was going to come out it was going to fall our way,” Sherman said. “Even on the fumble where I fell on it and got the recovery, it just kept bouncing around. I was like ‘There is no way this ball is going to bounce right to me’ and it did.”
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.
Matt Flynn finally got his first regular-season action in a Seahawks uniform and finished 5 of 9 passes for 68 yards.
“I’m glad we had a win like this. We needed it especially for our confidence,” Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said.
The Seahawks scored nearly every way possible, turning their first home game in about a month into a rout that will only increase debate 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. The Cardinals gained just 154 yards and had almost as many turnovers as first downs (10).
Larry Fitzgerald had one reception, and that didn’t come until the fourth quarter. Skelton was intercepted four times.
“For them to come out and dominate the way they did in every phase of the game, it’s embarrassing,” Skelton said.
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 and Lynch added touchdown runs on consecutive drives for a 17-0 lead.
That’s when the turnovers became comical for the Cardinals.
Skelton was stripped by Chris Clemons and fell on the loose ball. He followed that by throwing into triple coverage to Fitzgerald, which Sherman intercepted and returned 19 yards for a touchdown.
Patrick Peterson muffed a punt, and the ball was batted and eventually tipped to Malcolm Smith, who caught it out of midair at the goal line 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.
“I guess today was just our day,” Smith said.