Seahawks Bury An Ugly Memory, Put League on Notice With 36-6 Humbling of Cardinals in Arizona
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes in a second-quarter outburst and the Seattle Seahawks emphatically snapped Arizona's nine-game winning streak in a 36-6 rout on Sunday.
Playing on the same field where they lost a Super Bowl heartbreaker last February, the Seahawks (10-6) dominated from their opening possession and led 30-6 at the half.
It was a sour end to the regular season for the NFC West champion Cardinals (13-3), who had clinched the NFC's No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye.
Tyler Lockett set up three of Seattle's four first-half touchdowns — with punt returns of 66 and 42 yards and a 36-yard reception.
Seattle will play at either Washington or Minnesota in the wild card round next weekend, depending on the outcome of Sunday night's game between the Vikings and Green Bay.
Arizona's Carson Palmer, who broke the franchise's single-season record for passing yards, did not play in the second half. Wilson sat out the fourth quarter.
Seattle improved to 3-0 at Arizona since Bruce Arians became the Cardinals' coach. Arizona beat the Seahawks in Seattle 39-32 on Nov. 15.
Christine Michael rushed 17 times for 102 yards, including a 44-yarder on Seattle's first touchdown drive.
Wilson, repeatedly burning the Cardinals with misdirection plays, completed 19 of 28 passes for 197 yards. In a span of 3 minutes, 54 seconds, he threw TD passes of 7 yards to Will Tukuafu, 8 yards to Chase Coffman and 24 yards to Jerome Kearse.
Tukuafu's touchdown was his first reception of the season.
After Seattle forced an Arizona punt to start the game, Michael burst over the right side of the line for a 44-yard run to the Arizona 21. Wilson found Cooper Helfet for 20 yards to the Cardinals' 1 and Bryce Brown scored from there to cap a 12-play, 88-yard drive that used up 7:19 of the first quarter.
Two plays later, intended receiver Larry Fitzgerald was held up near the line of scrimmage and Jeremy Lane's interception set up Steven Hauschka's 52-yard field goal that made it10-0.
Arizona's lone score came when Palmer threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald. For the fifth time this season, Chandler Catanzaro missed the conversion kick and Seattle led 10-6 with 11:59 left in the first half.
Then came the Seahawks' deluge.
Wilson threw 36 yards to Lockett in an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with the touchdown toss to the fullback Tukuafu.
Lockett's 66-yard punt return, plus a facemask penalty against the Cardinals on the play, led to the touchdown pass to the third-string tight end Coffman.
Lockett's 42-yard run set up Wilson's touchdown pass to Kearse that made it 30-6 with 2:06 left in the half.
Seattle's first punt came with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
Fitzgerald caught six passes for 55 yards and, with 109 catches, broke the franchise record for receptions in a season he set with 104 in 2005.
The Seahawks led the NFL in fewest points allowed for the fourth consecutive season.
The Cardinals' other two losses this season — to St. Louis and Pittsburgh — were by a combined 14 points.