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.