Sunday, December 9, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field in Week 14:
What it means: Seattle improved its playoff chances by improving to 8-5 in impressive fashion. The Cardinals played their worst game of the season and one of their worst ever in falling to 4-9 following a 4-0 start. Eight Arizona turnovers turned this game into a joke. Cardinals ownership surely wasn't laughing. It's tougher to envision coach Ken Whisenhunt holding on to his job after a debacle of this magnitude. This was the most lopsided defeat in Cardinals history and within one point of the largest shutout since 1940 (which happened twice).
What I liked: Both defenses showed up early, consistent with how NFC West games have been played over the past year or so. Seattle's Bobby Wagner picked off John Skelton's fourth attempt. Linebacker K.J. Wright broke up a pass for Larry Fitzgerald, and cornerback Walter Thurmond dove under the ball to tip it up in the air. Wagner caught it and headed the other way, the first of two picks for him. Arizona's defense then held Seattle to a field goal, sacking Russell Wilson on third down.
Wilson, pressured into ineffective play during a 20-16 defeat at Arizona in Week 1, had answers this time. That became apparent late in the first quarter when Wilson quickly dumped off to Anthony McCoy to beat a five-man pressure for a 21-yard gain. McCoy had three catches for 105 yards. Fellow tight end Zach Miller had a 24-yard touchdown grab.
Wilson played very well again. His lone pick came on a tipped pass while Seattle held a 31-0 lead in the second quarter.
What I didn't like: Skelton had four first-half turnovers in his first start since getting benched against Atlanta. That included a pick-six in the second quarter as the Cardinals fell behind 24-0. Even Patrick Peterson, one of Arizona's better players, contributed to the Cardinals' first-half futility by muffing one punt and losing a fumble while returning another. Seattle recovered both, one for a touchdown.
This was the worst loss in a Cardinals history filled with blowout defeats. The team lost 49-0 against Kansas City in 2002. The team previously lost by 46 points in 1941, 43 points in 1969, 42 points in 1944 and again in 1981.
Seahawks scoring record: Leon Washington's 3-yard touchdown run in the final three minutes gave Seattle a 58-0 lead while breaking the franchise single-game record for points scored. The team scored 56 points during a 56-17 victory over Buffalo in 1977. There was also a 51-48 victory over Kansas City in 1983. Seattle scored 49 points against San Diego in 1985, 48 points against Seattle in 2002 and 47 points twice.
Biggest shutout: The 58-0 margin was the largest for Seattle in a shutout. The team previously scored a 45-0 victory over Kansas City in 1984. The Seahawks' 2005 Super Bowl team beat Philadelphia 42-0 in a Monday night game. There was also a 41-0 victory over Jacksonville in 2009.
Beast mode: Marshawn Lynch carried 11 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns. He might have topped 250 yards rushing if Seattle had left him in the game. Nagging back issues sent him to the sideline for a bit, but Lynch returned and carried for a 15-yard gain. Backups Robert Turbin and Lon Washington fared well in relief.
Flynn's chance: Wilson's day was finished after only 13 passes. He completed seven of them for 148 yards (11.4 per attempt) and the touchdown to Miller. McCoy nearly scored on his 67-yard reception. Backup Matt Flynn, the player widely expected to start over Wilson heading into the season, got into the game and tried to push the ball downfield despite the fat lead. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 68 yards and did not take a sack.
What's next: The Seahawks face the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. The Cardinals are home against Detroit.