Seahawks Blast Cardinals From The Sky, Clinch Playoff Spot

#1 Seed and Home Field Advantage Still Up For Grabs

It really doesn’t get any better for Seattle Seahawks fans than what they were able to witness on Sunday night.  In front of a loud, hostile Arizona Cardinals crowd the Seahawks absolutely destroyed a Cardinal team that has been limping their way toward the playoffs for some time.

In this one the Seahawks’ message to the rest of the NFL was simple:  We’re back.

The final score was 35-6 and I’m not sure that even that lopsided number accurately depicts the level of domination the Seahawks put on the Cardinals.  The Seahawks locked up a playoff spot for 2014, put themselves in control of their own destiny for home field advantage, and they did it all in front of a prime time audience.

What I Liked

This was a long awaited, breakout game that I had been looking for from tight end Luke Willson.  Willson was handed the keys to the starting tight end position after Zach Miller went out for the year with an ankle way back in Week 3.  It took until Week 16 for Willson to finally step up, but wow, did he step up.

Lynch gave us Beastquake 2.0, another run that we'll always remember.

Lynch gave us Beastquake 2.0, another run that we’ll always remember.

Willson had just three grabs in the game but racked up 139 yards and two touchdowns along the way.  The talented Willson didn’t drop a pass, which has been an issue for him this year.  He did just an amazing job on reading the blitz, and beating the one on one coverage.

Marshawn Lynch didn’t actually start the game.  He didn’t come out of the locker room until the end of the first quarter and didn’t touch a ball until several minutes into the 2nd quarter.  The Seahawks released a statement during the game that Lynch had an upset stomach.  I’m still not sure I entirely believe that story or not.

Regardless of why he was not out there Lynch had an awful start to the game.  He had just a handful of touches in the first half but did get a 6 yard touchdown run.  All that changed in the second half however.

Leading 21-6 with just under 12 minutes left in the game, Russell Wilson handed the ball to Lynch from his own 26 yard line.  Beastmode broke through four tackles and was off to the races down the sideline.  Lynch continued to battle defenders down the sideline and ran through addition tackle attempts by Cardinal defenders but he was not going to be denied.  With a backward dive and familiar groin grab, Lynch was in for a touchdown on a run that can only be described as Beastquake 2.0.

Had this run occurred in Seattle I have no doubt that UW would have been registering seismic activity coming from Century Link yet again.  Instead, this run silenced what had been a boisterous Cardinal crowd.  Lynch finished with 113 yards, two touchdowns on just 10 carries.

After watching Lynch’s big run a few different times now I can honestly state that Lynch’s 2.0 run is not as impressive as the original that he had against New Orleans.  He did not break as many tackles and the game situation was just not as big.

Don’t get me wrong here.  It’s still a spectacular run, the likes of which you’ll rarely see by anyone playing in the NFL .  20 years from now people will still talk about these two runs by Lynch.  Enjoy it, love it, and be proud of it.  Lynch is a unique player that will be impossible for the Seahawks to replace.

Russell Wilson

MVP Russell Wilson? Why not!

Russell Wilson just never ceases to amaze me.  He just keeps coming up with big plays.  The two touchdowns he threw to Luke Willson both had just amazing touch on the ball.  Few QBs in the league can make that throw under the pressure of an all out blitz like that.

On the ground, Wilson continued to give the Cardinals fits and they still have no answer for his ability to run when he can’t find an open receiver.  Wilson ran six times for 88 yards and a touchdown.

On that touchdown run, Wilson rolled to his left, stiff armed a defender to the ground, pranced forward, made a guy completely miss and waltzed into the end zone.  I actually thought Wilson’s performance on that particular run was every bit as impressive as Lynch’s work.

Passing-wise Wilson finished 20/31 for 339 yards and two touchdowns.  339 yards is a career high for Wilson throwing the ball.  The Seahawks finished with 596 total yards of offense against the Cardinals who have a top five defense in the NFL.  It was absolutely a dominate performance.

What I Didn’t Like

There’s not much to knock in this performance by the Seahawks but one that really stands out is kicker Steven Hauschka.  The guy that is usually money kicking the ball was really off his game.  Hauschka missed all three of his field goal attempts which were from 52, 50, and 47 yards.

Hauschka had only missed three field goals all year.  He’s never missed two, let alone three, in a single game in his entire career until now.  I’m chalking this one up to a him having a bad night and leaving it at that.  Maybe he was the one that really had the stomachache.

What I Really Didn’t Like

Are you kidding me with the continued penalties?  The Hawks had been averaging close to 10 flags per game.  They had that many called on them in the Cardinals game in the first half and the majority continue to be the ridiculous type.

The Seahawks were flagged three more times for false starts in this one courtesy of Justin Britt, Jermaine Kearse, and Alvin Bailey.  They continue to lead the NFL in that penalty type.  Additionally, Michael Bennett lined up offside twice on consecutive plays! 

I don’t even see how it’s possible for Bennett to be that out of tune with what he’s doing out there.  You line up offside once, they throw the flag and you do it again 20 seconds later?  C’mon man!

Pete Carroll, Dan Quinn and Darrell Bevell all gave “passionate” halftime speeches addressing the penalty issues.  In the second half, the Seahawks only  committed one penalty.  Perhaps the message finally sunk in to these players.

Final Thoughts- Looking Forward

The Seahawks now are tied with the Cardinals for the NFC West crown.  The Seahawks need only to win next week at home against the Rams and not have the Green Bay/Detroit game end in a tie to secure the #1 Seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

While it seems highly improbable that the Seahawks could lose to the Rams next week, keep in mind this is a Ram team that beat the Seahawks just a few weeks back in St. Louis.  The Hawks will have to not look past their last game and be on guard for Jeff Fisher’s ever growing bag of trick plays.

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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