Hawks finish emphatically
Seattle recovers from 2nd-quarter swoon, cruises past Cards
GLENDALE, Ariz. – While the Seahawks teetered briefly after again taking a big, early lead on the road, there was no collapse this time.
And that ability to stand tall in the face of adversity spoke as loudly to coach Pete Carroll as anything else that emerged from Thursday night’s 34-22 win here over the Arizona Cardinals.
“For a young bunch of guys we have a very strong resolve about the ups and downs and the rigors of it,” Carroll said after Seattle improved to 6-1 for the first time in its history. “It’s just kind of characteristic of the way we deal with stuff. We don’t like it when things aren’t going right, but it isn’t going to phase us. We aren’t going to lose our cool.”
They had their chance to after taking a 14-0 lead and then seeing it largely dissolve due mostly to their own errors.
Arizona twice got within four points, which brought back eerie memories of the loss at Indianapolis two weeks ago when Seattle led 12-0 early only to lose 34-28.
This time, though, the Seahawks responded swiftly and strongly to easily put away the Cardinals in a building where they had lost six of their last seven games.
“The talk on the sidelines was just hang in there,” said safety Kam Chancellor. “You know you are going to have adversity in games sometimes, but the stronger team always comes out and wins in the end.”
That Seattle was, holding the Cardinals to 234 yards – 30 on the ground – and making a season-high seven sacks.
“Their offensive line, we knew that they had some weak points in there so we took advantage of it,” said K.J. Wright, who played a second-straight game at middle linebacker with Bobby Wagner again out with a sprained ankle.
Seattle drove smoothly for touchdowns on each of its first two possessions, each of the scores coming on passes by Wilson – the first of 31 yards to Sidney Rice and the second a 15-yarder to tight end Zach Miller.
“The last two times on the road we have started well and I’m really proud of that because that’s something you would like to do in someone else’s stadium,” Carroll said. “We didn’t hold it, and I’d rather finish well, but I’m liking it that we are able to start a little bit better than we had been.”
Seattle forced another punt on its next drive and for a second appeared to have a 21-0 lead as Golden Tate returned the kick for a touchdown.
However, the play was nullified due to a penalty for blocking in the back on Mike Morgan.
Seattle moved to the Arizona 43, deciding to go for it on fourth-and-one.
That proved ill-fated when Wilson was stopped for no gain on a quarterback sneak.
Arizona drove for a field goal, and then got right back in the game when Wilson fumbled as he was sacked by Matt Shaughnessy, with Calais Campbell recovering at the 3-yard line – one of two Wilson fumbles on the night.
“That’s on me,” Wilson said. “I’ll make sure I get that right.”
That led to a 3-yard TD run by Rashard Mendenhall that allowed Arizona to be within 17-10 at the half despite Seattle holding a 210-69 edge in yards.
Arizona then drove for a field goal on its first possession of the third quarter, and for one of the few times all night the home crowd was louder than a boisterous group of Seattle fans whose presence was felt throughout.
On Seattle’s next drive, with the Seahawks facing a third-and-three from the Arizona 48, Wilson was able to get off a pass as he was being tackled by linebacker Daryl Washington, finding Miller for a 6-yard completion.
“I knew I wasn’t down,” Wilson said. “I just made a little shortstop flip to him.”
Marshawn Lynch followed a few plays later with a punishing run up the middle in which he carried several Arizona defenders and Wilson capped the drive with a 1-yard TD pass to Kellen Davis to make it 24-13, and the game was really never again in doubt.
Browner then returned an interception to the Arizona 1-yard line, drawing laughs from teammates by falling down on his own.
“We’re going to be in his head for quite a little bit,” laughed Chancellor.
Seattle’s defense then spent much of the rest of the night turning the University of Phoenix Stadium into its own dance floor, defenders taking turns showing off their signature moves after sacks, such as Michael Bennett’s belly roll and Malcolm Smith’s “Hawk-Eyes.”
“It’s fun ball,” said cornerback Richard Sherman. “It’s fun, it’s exciting.”
It also left Seattle assured of being alone atop the NFC West and at least tied for the lead in the NFC at the end of the weekend.
“We just have not had the kind of across the board clean game that we are looking for,” Carroll said. “So it feels like we are still growing. This is still a very young team. We have enough firepower in a lot of areas to overcome the kind of things that are going in the wrong direction, but we are playing good, solid football.”