GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Seattle Seahawks gave away a chance
to clinch their third straight NFC West title Sunday.
Arizona scored 14 points off Seattle fumbles and a Seahawk
comeback came up a half-yard shy at the finish in the Cardinals'
27-21 victory over the reigning NFC champs.
"We were just too careless with the ball," Seattle coach Mike
Holmgren said. "That's pretty much the game in my opinion."
The last of Seattle's three lost fumbles led to Leinart's 5-yard
scoring pass to Larry Fitzgerald for the go-ahead score on the
first play of the fourth quarter.
After Neil Rackers' 40-yard field goal with 3½ minutes to go to
put Arizona up by six points, Seattle (8-5) drove from its 17 to
the Cardinals 15.
It was the last of several big plays by the Arizona safety.
"Big tackle -- Adrian, fumble recovery -- Adrian, break up on the
pass -- Adrian," Cardinals coach Dennis Green said. "That's the
kind of game he had and the kind of game he has every week."
Green called Okeafor's play "the pass rush of the year for
"He went up against maybe the best lineman in the game [Seattle
tackle Walter Jones] and made a great move," Green said.
Seattle had won four of five and, with San Francisco's loss to
Green Bay, could have wrapped up the division crown. Instead, the
Cardinals have won two in a row for the first time this season.
The Seahawks may well have lost a fourth fumble had Hasselbeck
not made a head-first dive to recover it.
"We had some opportunities and it came down to the last play of
the game basically," Hasselbeck said. "It's hard to overcome a
few and it's very hard to overcome a bunch of fumbles. That's just
kind of where it was today."
James, who had no 100-yard efforts in his first 11 games with
the Cardinals, gained 115 yards on 26 carries to become the first
Arizona back to have consecutive 100-yard games since Marcel Shipp
"Edge is just running the ball great," Leinart said. "He's
finding holes, he's finding seams, he's dragging guys, making guys
miss. When we're putting all this together as an offense, it's
tough to stop us."
Leinart completed 21-of-34 for 232 yards, including a 56-yard
touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson on Arizona's first play from
scrimmage. He was intercepted once but not sacked in another good
showing by the Cardinals' improving offensive line.
"As the quarterback is growing and everybody gets used to
playing with each other, that's what's going to happen," James
said. "You're going to see that week in and week out because a
team can't just key in on one thing."
Unlike a week ago against Denver rookie Jay Cutler, the Seahawks
got little pressure on Leinart.
"You play a young quarterback and it's very simple," Seattle
defensive end Bryce Fisher said. "If you knock him down, he'll
find a way to lose. If you don't knock him down, he'll look like
he's on the way to the Pro Bowl."
Hasselbeck, in his third game back from injury, completed
20-of-28 for 243 yards and three touchdowns with no picks, but he
fumbled the ball away once and was sacked three times. Shaun
Alexander gained 76 yards in 22 carries and lost a fumble.
Down 14-0 in the first quarter, the Seahawks rallied and took
the lead for the only time in the third quarter.
Taking over at its 44 after Rackers' 53-yard field goal try was
wide left, Seattle needed 11 plays to go 57 yards, Hasselbeck
rolling right on third down and throwing 2 yards to Darrell Jackson
for the score to go up 21-17 with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
But Seattle turned it over again when Karlos Dansby stripped the
ball from Mack Strong and Chris Cooper recovered at the Seattle 36.
James' 17-yard run set up Leinart's short scoring pass to
Fitzgerald on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Arizona
regained the lead 24-21.
Trailing 17-7, the Seahawks went 91 yards eight plays near the
end of the half. Hasselbeck capped the drive with a 5-yard TD pass
to Nate Burleson 30 seconds before halftime.
Green gave the game ball to offensive tackle Reggie Wells,
who played despite a temperature of 103 degrees on Sunday morning.
... Rackers is 1-for-6 from 50 or beyond this season after going
6-for-7 last year. ... Seattle defensive tackle Craig Terrill
sprained his right knee in the first half and did not return.
Jackson went out with a toe injury on the Seahawks' last drive.
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