Dominant Defense: Seahawks shut down Cardinals, 19-3, in must-win game


The Seattle Seahawks defense forced three sacks, two fumbles and an interception to dominate the Arizona Cardinals, 19-3, at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

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The Cardinals (9-2) only managed 204 total yards including just 64 on the ground.

Seattle came into the game knowing they needed to win it to stay competitive in the NFC West and they did just that, improving to 7-4 this year with four of their last five games coming against division opponents.

Steven Hauschka paved the way for Seattle’s scoring, converting four of five field goals, including a 52-yarder, to help Seattle score the most points Arizona has allowed since Week 8.

The Seahawks came out swinging and played impressively from the very first play.

The Cardinals won the opening toss and elected to put their offense on the field first, but Seattle’s defense was having none of it, forcing a quick three-and-out.

Seattle used nine plays to get into Arizona’s redzone on their first drive, but they were forced to settle with a 27-yard field goal.

It was the only score, for either team, in the first quarter. The Cardinals had a chance to get on the board but Chandler Catanzaro missed his first field goal of the season to keep the score a 3-0 Seattle advantage.

In the second quarter, the Seahawks got back in the red zone but failed to capitalize again and were forced to settle with another Hauschka field goal.

When the Cardinals got the ball back, Drew Stanton misread great coverage by Byron Maxwell, who picked off the pass and brought the ball into Arizona territory. Stanton finished the game with 149 passing yards.

Nov 23, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) reacts with the fans during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately for Seattle’s defense, once again, the Seahawks offense couldn’t get a big play going and Hauschka had to kick his third field goal of the game, that one from 52 yards out.

Before the half ended, Hauschka attempted field goal number four, but it was blocked to keep the score at 9-0.

The Cardinals drove down the field but only managed three points in the redzone to make it a 9-3 game at the intermission.

The third quarter belonged to the Seahawks plain and simple.

The defense allowed only 44 total yards from the Cardinals offense, forcing a three-and-out and two punts on Arizona’s only possessions of the period.

The Seahawks held the ball for more than nine of the 15 minutes in the third quarter, and managed another field goal and a touchdown.

The touchdown drive was their best of the game. It took 5:41, used nine plays, went 75 yards and ended when Russell Wilson hit Cooper Helfet for a 20-yard score. Wilson was 6-for-6 for 70 yards on the drive.

In one of his best games of the season, Wilson was 17 of 22 for 211 yards and a touchdown with 73 rushing yards on nine carries to boot. However, the offensive line allowed him to get sacked seven times.

Marshawn Lynch had a better game receiving than rushing, catching three passes for 43 yards while rushing 14 times for only 39 yards.

The Cardinals were playing without Larry Fitzgerald so Andre Ellington was their leading receiver with five catches but John Brown led the team with 61 receiving yards.

The Seahawks had seven penalties for 74 yards while Arizona only had three for 25 yards, but Seattle won the possession game 35:27-24:33.

Seattle played with the confidence that inspired their Super Bowl run last season, and they will get only a short week of rest as their next game will be on Thanksgiving Day against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.