Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton takes a hard fall after popping a short pass in the first quarter.

The Seahawks came out on top during a must-win match-up against the

The Seahawks came out on top during a must-win match-up against the division-leading Arizona Cardinals Sunday at CenturyLink. Seattle won 19-3.

Defense was the name of the game at CenturyLink, where both teams struggled mightily to reach the end zone, largely to no avail.

The Seahawks were repeatedly blessed with excellent first-half field position—starting each drive, on average, at their own 43—but couldn’t make it to the end zone. An explosive Cardinal defensive effort led to an abysmal third down conversion rate of only 17 percent for Seattle. The running game was held to 52 net yards, and passing only 63.

It certainly didn’t help that Seattle spent much of that promising first half lifting quarterback Russell Wilson up off the turf. An aggressive Arizona defense laid the blitz on thick and heavy throughout the game. As a result, Wilson was sacked five times in the second quarter alone, and seven times by the end of the day—a new season-high.

So, despite the great starting field position, the Hawk settled for three field goals in the first half. Kicker Steven Hauschka hit three of four first-half attempts with a long of 52-yards, to give Seattle a six-point lead at halftime.

View the full slide-show of Sunday’s game here.

Arizona, for its part, didn’t fare any better. Despite posting higher total yardage than Seattle, the Cardinals managed to only post three points in the first half (and ultimately the game). The team might have done better, had stand-in quarterback Drew Stanton not thrown an interception, receiver John Brown not dropped a touchdown pass, and if a 49-yard field goal attempt not veered wide right.

The second half largely followed suit, at least for Arizona. But Seattle finally managed to break away and cement its lead. Another Hauschka field-goal early in the third put the Hawks up by more comfortable nine points. Wilson was finally rewarded for his generally good day, which included 73 yards rushing and 211 passing, as he connected with tight end Cooper Helfet for a 20-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, raising the profile of the young undrafted free agent and earning him the nickname Blue Steel among some fans.

The game ended at 19-3 after an uneventful fourth quarter.

The victory keeps Seattle within striking distance of the Cardinals, who remain in first place in the NFC West division with a two-game lead. The Hawks move up to second in the division, ahead of rival San Francisco 49ers. Seattle faces the 49ers for the first of two late-season matchups on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco.

Oh, and one last note, we’re told that Marshawn Lynch (who had a pretty mediocre day) talked to the media in the locker room after today’s game. Perhaps he didn’t walk to lose another $100,000.

Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton scrambles to avoid a Seattle rush in the first quarter.

Players collect their thoughts before the game.

Newly-signed Seattle tight end Tony Moeaki moves upfield for a 17-yard gain in the first quarter.

Seattle runningback Marshawn Lynch is run out of bounds on a 9-yard gain in the first quarter.

Seahawks’ kicker Steven Hauschka completes a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Fans cheer in the first quarter.

Cardinals’ receiver John Brown drops a pass broken up by Seattle’s Byron Maxwell. Maxwell was called on the play for pass interference.

Referees judge a 49-yard Arizona field goal attempt no good in the first quarter.

Cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks defense ultimately came up victorious over the Cardinals Sunday. But first …

Seattle receiver Bryan Walters returns a Cardinal punt for 21 yards in the first quarter.

Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson is sacked for 6-yard loss in the second quarter.

Seattle runningback Robert Turbin cuts into an Arizona defender during a 9-yard run in the second quarter.

Seattle’s Byron Maxwell runs upfield after pulling down an interception in the second quarter.

Fans cheer in the second quarter, following a Seattle interception.

Russell Wilson is sacked (again) in the second quarter.

Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka kicks a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Cardinals’ running back Stepfan Taylor is stopped up by Seattle’s Kam Chancellor in the second half.

Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton throws an incomplete pass in the second quarter.

Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton is sacked for a 7-yard loss by Seattle’s Cliff Avril in the second quarter.

Hawks quarterback Russell Wilson rushes for a 40-yard gain in the second quarter.

A Cardinals fan cheers on the team in the second quarter.

A Seattle fan protests a call by refereres in the second quarter.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson runs for a gain of 40 yards in the second quarter.

Cardinals’ receiver John Brown catches a 22-yard pass in the second quarter.

Seahawks’ Byron Maxwell breaks up an end-zone pass intended for Arizona receiver Michael Floyd in the second quarter.

Seattle fans cheer on the team as Arizona faces third and goal in the second quarter.

Cardinals’ receiver John Brown reacts after dropping a pass to the endzone in the second quarter.

Participants in the halftime weiner dog races wait their turn on the field.

Wiener dogs are loaded into their starting gates for a set of races during halftime.

A small dog runs full stride during a wiener-dog race at halftime.

A wiener dog runs across the field during a race at halftime.

Russell Wilson is sacked for a 10-yard loss in the third quarter.

A Cardinal fan supports the team in the third quarter.

Fans cheer the team in the third quarter.

Arizona quarterback is taken down for a 3-yard loss by Bruce Irvin in the third quarter.

Russell Wilson scrambles for a 4-yard gain in the third quarter.

Arizona’s Andre Ellington is quickly taken down by Earl Thomas for a one-yard gain in the third quarter.

Russell Wilson is tackled by Arizona cornerback Jerraud Powers ona 15-yard pickup in the third quarter.

Seattle’s Cooper Helfet works past an Arizona defender en route to the end zone in the third quarter.

Seahawks tight-end Cooper Helfet celebrates his 20-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Arizona receiver Michael Floyd is tackled by Seattle’s Bobby Wagner for a 11-yard gain in the third.

A Seagal cheerleader dances in the third quarter.

A Seagal cheerleader dances in the third quarter.

Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton is tackled by defensive tackle Jordan Hill in the fourth quarter.

Arizona defender Patrick Peterson breaks up a deep pass to Seattle’s Kevin Norwood in the fourth quarter.

Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton is knocked over after releasing a pass in the fourth quarter.

Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson leaves the field post-win

Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson takes the field for pregame practice.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson warms up before the game.

A stadium employee cleans up skittles candies thrown onto the field in the hopes of luring Marshawn Lynch over for autographs before the game.

The Seagals cheerleaders take the field before the game.

Service members hold a giant flag before the game begins.

A service member steals a look at the big screen during pregame festivities.

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