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Monday, December 10, 2012
Around the NFC West: Running up score?

By Mike Sando


The Seattle Seahawks attempted a pass on fourth-and-23 while holding a 51-0 lead over the Arizona Cardinals with 7:21 remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday.

They attempted another pass on third-and-6 while leading by the same score with 2:46 to play.

These were telltale signs of a team trying to run up the score. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had his reasons. He wanted backup quarterback Matt Flynn to get reps after sitting on the bench all season. That was understandable, but pushing the ball downfield while leading by 50-plus points? Is that the right way to play?

Herm Edwards, Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge considered the question during the video above. They generally agreed with the tack Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt took after the game.

"It's our job to stop it," Whisenhunt said. "You have to give them credit. They're doing their thing. I have no comment on that other than to say, it's our job to stop them and we didn't get that done."

Whisenhunt and the Cardinals have padded stats late in games, including against Seattle. They kept throwing in the final minute of a 34-21 victory over the Seahawks during Week 17 of the 2008 season because Steve Breaston needed one yard to give the team three 1,000-yard receivers. That game was Mike Holmgren's final one as Seahawks coach. Arizona cared more about getting Breaston over 1,000 yards.

I think Carroll cared about getting reps for Flynn more than he cared about racking up more points. I also think Whisenhunt and Todd Haley, the Cardinals' offensive coordinator back in 2008, cared about their own milestone. They weren't trying to show up Holmgren.

That's the way it goes sometimes. These are professional players, not kids.