Where to begin with everything that transpired at CenturyLink Field on Sunday afternoon?
“It was unbelievable. It was a total team effort,” said cornerback
And many of those guys were playing in the fourth quarter because the Seahawks were in mop-up mode after everything that had transpired in the first three quarters:
Sherman returning one of his interceptions for a touchdown and also recovering a fumble in a performance that had NFC Defensive Player of the Week stamped on it in boldface caps;
Rookie middle linebacker
All of this added up to the Seahawks’ eighth victory of the season – which is one more game than they won in each of their first two seasons under coach Pete Carroll.
“We had, obviously, a very good game today,” Carroll said after the Seahawks also ran their record at home to 6-0. “It was actually a reward to the players for working so hard and executing well in this game. All phases gave us a great chance to have a heckuva day.
“The turnovers were the story. You have to do well when you get eight.”
The 58 points were the most ever scored by the Seahawks, two more than they put up against the Buffalo Bills in 1977. This also was the largest-margin of victory in franchise history, erasing the 45-point bulge in a shutout win over the Kansas City Chiefs in 1984. They had two 100-yard rushers for the first time since 2005, the season when they made their Super Bowl run. The eight turnovers were two shy of the franchise record that was set against the Cleveland Browns in 1981 and matched against the Oakland Raiders in 1996.
“That’s the plan,” said defensive end
Historic stuff, indeed. But the big-picture view after this one also is enticing. At 8-5, the Seahawks moved into the No. 1 wild-card spot in the NFC playoff picture. They’re tied with the Chicago Bears, but hold the tiebreaker because of last week’s overtime victory over the Bears in Chicago.
The San Francisco 49ers also won on Sunday, pushing their record to 9-3-1 and maintaining a 1½-game lead over the Seahawks with three to play. But the 49ers play the Patriots (9-3) in New England next week, while the Seahawks are off to Toronto to play the Buffalo Bills (5-8). The Seahawks then host the 49ers on Dec. 23 before playing their regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on Dec. 30.
“I’ve never been involved in anything where the ball falls your way every single time,” Sherman said. “It seemed like if the ball was going to come out, it was going to fall our way.”
Case in point, Sherman's recovery of a fumbled forced by No. 3 safety
“It just kept bouncing around,” Sherman said. “I was like, ‘There’s no way this ball is going to bounce right to me.’ And it did. It was the opposite of Murphy’s Law, everything that could go right went right.”
Did it ever.
Wagner’s first interception, on the fifth play of the game, came when linebacker
The Cardinals’ first possession of the second quarter ended, abruptly, when Clemons swatted the ball from the hand of QB John Skelton for a sack and then recovered it.
On the second play of the Cardinals’ next possession, Sherman made his first interception and returned it 19 yards for a score – the first TD by the defense this season.
Eight snaps later, the Seahawks punted to Patrick Peterson, who muffed the ball. Rookie cornerback
Sherman’s second interception came later in the second quarter, after Skelton locked on to Fitzgerald from the snap of the ball and Sherman made a better read on the ball than Fitzgerald.
On the Cardinals’ next possession, Peterson flat out fumbled a punt when hit by Maxwell, who also recovered the ball to set up
That’s how the score got to be 38-0 in the first half. The game was, for all intents and purposes, over. But the Seahawks weren’t done.
After Lynch scored on a 33-yard run to cap the first possession of the second half, Wagner made his second interception, setting up another Hauschka field goal.
On the Cardinals’ next series, Sherman made his recovery of the Johnson-forced fumble, setting up another Hauschka field goal.
“We wanted to come out and make a big statement,” Wagner said. “This is one of those games that we had to win, and we had a huge win as a defense.”
The flipside to all the happiness for the Seahawks was the harsh reality for the Cardinals, who have lost nine in a row after their 4-0 start – which included a 20-16 victory over the Seahawks in the season opener that was played in Arizona.
“Ass kicking,” Skelton said when asked to put the game into words. “That’s the only thing you can say. For them to come out and dominate the way they did in every phase of the game, it’s embarrassing.”
The Seahawks, meanwhile, said all the right things.
“It’s another chapter,” said Wilson, whose fourth-quarter and overtime heroics were needed to pull out wins over the Green Bay Packers, Patriots and Bears – and also gave the Seahawks fourth-quarter leads against the Lions and Dolphins that the defense couldn’t hold.
“You have so much respect for their football team, and defensively they’re done a great job all year. To be able to win in that fashion, especially in the National Football League, it’s hard to do. Now we can go on to the next weekend – it’s another chapter. So you have to move on and play the Buffalo Bills.”
Taking them one at a time, and maintaining the focus it takes to do that, is how the Seahawks have won eight games. It’s also the best way to insure No. 9 – which would give the Seahawks their first winning season since 2007 and setup one huge rematch with the 49ers.
“We’ve always got room for improvement,” Clemons said. “We just have to stay humble and come and play well next Sunday.”
|Total Net Yards||493|
|Time of Possession||34:27|
|Total Net Yards||154|
|Time of Possession||25:33|
In a nutshell: The Cardinals got the ball first, but the Seahawks scored first on a 31-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka that was set up by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner’s interception and 45-yard return. Marshawn Lynch then scored on a 20-yard run with 2:04 left to cap an 11-play, 85-yard drive that consumed 6:14 of the clock.
Player of the quarter: Lynch. He not only scored the only TD of the quarter, he broke a 15-yard run on a draw to the Cardinals’ 5, only to have the ball moved back to the 20 because of a roughness penalty on right guard Breno Giacomini. No worries, as Lynch scored on the next play. He carried five times for 58 yards on the drive.
Play of the quarter: Wagner’s pick, which came after linebacker K.J. Wright ripped the ball from the grasp of Larry Fitzgerald and cornerback Walter Thurmond tipped the ball before it could hit the turf. The Cardinals had taken the opening kickoff and driven from their 22 to the Seahawks’ 37 before the triple-heads-up plays.
Number of the quarter: 10, as in first-quarter points. It’s the most by the Seahawks since they scored 14 in Week 9 against the Vikings.
In a nutshell: The Seahawks pushed their lead to 17-0 as Marshawn Lynch scored on a 4-yard run on the first play of the quarter. Lynch’s second TD was setup by a 67-yard pass play from Russell Wilson to tight end Anthony McCoy on the final play of the first quarter. Lynch had 300-pound defensive tackle David Carter on his back as he crossed the goal line. Richard Sherman made it 24-0 with 10:12 remaining as he intercepted John Skelton pass that was intended for Larry Fitzgerald and returned it 19 yards for a TD. Then, quicker than you could say muffed punt return, Patrick Peterson did just that. Jeremy Lane whiffed on recovering the ball, but kicked it with his foot while on the ground, allowing Malcolm Smith to catch it for the TD that made it 31-0 with 6½ minutes left. Then, quicker than you could say Peterson fumbles a punt return, Byron Maxwell forced and recovered that fumble and Wilson passed 27 yards to tight end Zach Miller for a TD with six seconds to play.
Players of the quarter: Chris Clemons and Sherman. Clemons, the Seahawks’ sack leader, came up with a hat trick, as he beat tackle Nate Potter to swat the ball from the hand of QB John Skelton for a sack and then recovered his own forced fumble. Good. Better. Best. All in a blink. Sherman had two interceptions in the quarter.
Plays of the quarter: Sherman’s pick-six, as he read Skelton’s pass better than Fitzgerald to get his hands on the ball and then ran it in. And, of course, Smith’s very-special special teams play for a TD. And, of course Part 2, Maxwell’s double-whammy that setup the final TD.
Almost play of the quarter: We’ll fudge a bit on this one and go with the 67-yarder from Wilson to McCoy, who caught the ball at the Cardinals’ 45, got a block from wide receiver Sidney Rice and then stiff-armed cornerback William Gay to get to the 4.
Numbers of the quarter: 38 and 1. The Seahawks’ 38 first-half points are more than they had scored in their previous 12 games – complete games. The 1 is for Wilson’s first interception at home this season.
In a nutshell: The Seahawks picked up in the second half where they left off in the first half, as Marshawn Lynch scored on a 33-yard run – on third-and-4 – to run the Seahawks lead to 45-0. Lynch carried three times on the seven-play, 86-yard drive for 59 yards. The second interception of the game by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner setup a 28-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka to make it 48-0 with 7:43 left in the quarter. Anyone for 51? It came on Hauschka’s 32-yard field goal, which was setup by Richard Sherman recovering Jeron Johnson’s sack that forced a fumble.
Players of the quarter: The Seahawks’ six-legged running back trio of Lynch, rookie Robert Turbin and Leon Washington. Lynch got the early TD, but the three combined to carry the ball 13 times in the quarter for 122 yards.
Play of the quarter: Lynch’s TD run, which definitely slapped an exclamation point on this one.
Number of the quarter: 3, as in TD runs by Lynch in the game, matching his career-best from a 2010 game against the Panthers.
In a nutshell: After the Seahawks’ avalanche of points in the first three quarters – including 28 in the second – they settled for seven points when Leon Washington ran 3 yards for a TD with 2:32 remaining.
Players of the quarter: The Seahawks’ backups. QB Matt Flynn got his first snaps of the season. The backup O-line also got in. Some players who have played sparingly on defense made some plays. Rookie Robert Turbin went over 100 yards rushing for the game, giving the Seahawks their first pair of 100-yard rushers (Marshawn Lynch was the other) since 2005 – when Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris did it against the Texans.
Play of the quarter: Just how big a rout was this? The Seahawks went for it on a fourth-and-23 play from the Cardinals’ 33 with roughly seven minutes to play. The pass into the end zone from Flynn went off the hands of rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
Number of the quarter: 58, as in points, which is the franchise record for most in a game. The previous record was 56 against the Bills in 1977. The only other time the Seahawks topped 50 was in 1983, in an overtime win against the Chiefs.
Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals running back William Powell (33) after intercepting quarterback John Skelton during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Seattle, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. The Seahawks won 58-0. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
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Jack in the Box
3 Sacks = FREE Jumbo Jacks! Show your ticket stub at Jack in the Box this week for a free Jumbo Jack. (http://shwks.com/3jib)
The Seahawks Defense scored! All season long, defensive scores = FREE haircuts! Show your ticket stub at Great Clips for a FREE haircut. (http://shwks.com/haircuts)
Top Pot Doughnuts
Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin both rushed for over 100 yards! 1oo+ Rushing Yards = a FREE coffee at Top Pot! Show you ticket stub to redeem this week. (http://shwks.com/rush)
Anthony McCoy recieved 105 yards! 1oo+ Receiving Yards = a FREE doughnut at Top Pot! Show you ticket stub to redeem this week. (http://shwks.com/rush)
Marshawn Lynch scored in the Oberto Red Zone! Bring your ticket stub to a Puget Sound 7-Eleven for a FREE bag of Oberto beef jerky & slurpee. (http://shwks.com/zone)
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