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Game at a glance: Cardinals 17, Seahawks 10

Posted Dec 22, 2013

In a game where the Seahawks had so much to win, they lost a disappointing decision to the Cardinals that pushed the opportunity to clinch the NFC West title to next week’s season finale against the Rams.

A recap of the Seahawks’ 17-10 loss to the Cardinals before a crowd of 68,266 at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:

PLAYER OF THE GAME: RICHARD SHERMAN

Yes, the Seahawks lost. But don’t blame their All-Pro cornerback, who intercepted two more passes – giving him four in the last two games and a league-leading eight for the season.

Sherman’s first interception, on a Carson Palmer pass intended for Larry Fitzgerald in the first quarter, led to the Seahawks’ first score – a 27-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Sherman’s second interception, on the second play of the fourth quarter, came in the end zone after the Cardinals had recovered a fumbled kickoff return by Robert Turbin.

“We just saw a tremendous defensive football game today,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Two defenses just duking it out all day long.”

And no one had their dukes up any higher than Sherman, who now has eight interceptions in each of the past two seasons and a league-high 20 since 2011.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The game-winning touchdown pass, as Michael Floyd made a falling grab in the end zone of a Palmer pass that was tipped by Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell. The score came with 2 minutes and 13 seconds to play and capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive after the Seahawks had scored to take a 10-9 lead.

“I think Max did a great job of making him make a spectacular catch,” free safety Earl Thomas said. “That’s what we talk about. If we’re going to get beat, they’re going to have to be on ESPN about it.”

The flipside of that play went like this:

“Carson came out of a quick snap,” Fitzgerald said. “That was a good decision on his part. They were still kind of running around, getting lined up, and we were able to get them on the jump. Mike just made a wonderful play and Carson made a wonderful throw. It was one of those moments when you just lose yourself for a minute.”

Defense: The Seahawks’ first interception, which also came in the end zone on a pass that Maxwell tipped and strong safety Kam Chancellor picked off. The Cardinals had driven to the Seahawks’ 5-yard line, but Maxwell and Chancellor kept them not only out of the end zone, but off the scoreboard.

Special teams: Hauschka slapping a 24-yard field goal attempt off the left upright. It was significant because it was only his second miss, in 33 attempts, and the first that wasn’t blocked.

“I think the snap was a little high; that’s what I heard, I don’t know that,” Carroll said. “But we should nail that one. But Steven has had a fantastic year and we’re counting on him to finish in fantastic fashion. He’s been there for us all season. How that happened, I don’t know.”

INJURY REPORT

Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse came out of the game with a sore ankle and left tackle Russell Okung has a sore toe, Carroll said. Yes, it’s the same toe that forced Okung to miss eight games earlier this season.

WORTH NOTING

The Seahawks intercepted Palmer four times – all on third downs – giving them nine of their league-leading 26 picks in the past two games.

Marshawn Lynch finished with 71 yards on 18 carries, but had only 11 in the second half. He has now gone five games without a 100-yard rushing performance, his longest stretch without hitting triple digits since going six games without one to start the 2011 season.

YOU DON'T SAY

"It's tough to get a win anywhere in this League, but especially up here."

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

Kearse had three receptions to lead the Seahawks, making him the sixth player to lead the team or share the lead this season.

Chancellor led the team with 11 tackles, making him the fifth player to lead the team or share the lead this season.

The Seahawks offense had season-low marks in converting on third downs (15 percent, 2 of 13) and net passing yards (89); and their second-worst marks in first downs (10) and total yards (192).

The Seahawks were penalized nine times for a season-high 102 yards, running their totals to 121 for 1,118.

The Seahawks have lost two of their past three games after going through a stretch dating back to the second half of last season where they lost twice in 20 games.

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