A recap of the Seahawks’ 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The entire Seahawks team. With a franchise-record 58 points, there was one for each of the 46 players who were active – with bonus points for leading rusher Marshawn Lynch (three touchdowns), cornerback Richard Sherman (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) and rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (two interceptions and a team-high eight tackles).
“This was the true definition of a team victory,” is the way second-year linebacker Mike Morgan summed it up.
We obviously agree, in part because it would be too difficult to select Sherman over Lynch; Lynch over Wagner; Wagner over Sherman. All are deserving, but so are so many others because of the way the Seahawks won this game to up their overall record to 8-5 and their record at CenturyLink Field to 6-0.
“It’s a reward for all of the hard work,” coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks secured one more win than they had in their first two season under him – and look like a shoo-in to post the franchise’s first winning record since going 10-6 in 2007.
“You work so hard, and so often the games don’t afford you that opportunity. For everybody to play, everybody to contribute, so many guys can get on the stats sheets and all that stuff – and contribute – it’s really very positive.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The last, and longest, of Lynch’s three touchdown runs. It came on a third-and-4 play early in the second half. It covered 33 yards. It allowed him to tie his career-best for TDs in a game. It was the last of his three carries in the seven-play, 86-yard drive, when he gained 59 of his 128 yards. It was his last carry of the game, and put him at 1,266 for the season – surpassing his single-season rushing best from last year (1,204).
“Marshawn broke a personal record or something today, which is great,” Carroll said.
Defense: Sherman’s first interception, which he returned 19 yards for the Seahawks’ first defensive touchdown of the season. Cardinals QB John Skelton was going to Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but instead found Sherman.
“I got my head around and they threw a quick fade,” Sherman said. “Skelton threw the ball with a little lower trajectory. I think he was trying to throw a back-shoulder fade and I happened to get a foot in the ground. Once I got my hands on it, Earl (Thomas, the free safety) did a great job of blocking and then it was just full speed.”
Said Skelton, “It’s a tight window, that is really the one place to go with the ball. I could have helped Larry by putting the ball into his chest. (Sherman) was coming inside, so if I led him he gets hit. It’s a play Larry usually makes. We expect him to make it. But it’s not an excuse for me.”
Special teams: Malcolm Smith’s TD play, which went down as a fumble recovery in the end zone, but actually was a midair pick of a muffed punt by the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson. Peterson couldn’t handle the ball, which hit the foot of rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane. That’s when Smith snagged the ball for the score.
“I don’t know how I ended up with the ball,” Smith said. “I know the ball was flipping around. Jeremy Lane tipped it up. It tipped off of someone’s hand. And then there was like three of us going for it. It was like a jump ball and I tipped it my way caught it. I guess I was in the end zone.”
Peterson later fumbled a punt return, and the Seahawks had a feeling they’d be able to separate him from the ball.
“We knew that Patrick Peterson was going to give us one, he’s been trying to force a lot of plays,” Morgan said. “It was just one of those things where the ball muffed out. It was big time.”
Lynch left the game in the first half with what was called a back injury. But he not only returned, he ran for that 33-yard TD on the seventh play of the second half.
Veteran linebacker Leroy Hill was active after missing last week’s game because of a sprained ankle, but Smith started on the weakside and finished with three tackles as well as the touchdown on the recovery of the muffed punt in the second quarter.
“He was ready to play,” Carroll said of Hill. “He had a good workout before (the game), so we dressed him in case we needed him. But we would rather hold him, if we could. I don’t know how Malcolm did, but I think he did pretty well again. He looked like he was active.”
The 58 points scored by the Seahawks were the most in franchise history and only the third time they’ve scored more than 50. They had 56 against the Bills in 1977 and 51 against the Chiefs in overtime in 1983.
The 58-0 score also is the largest margin of victory in franchise history, topping 45-0 against the Chiefs in 1984 and 42-0 against the Eagles in 2005.
The Seahawks’ six takeaways in the first half was a franchise record and their eight for the game ties for second-most behind the 10 they had against the Browns in 1981.
With Lynch rushing for 128 yards and rookie Robert Turbin adding 108, the Seahawks had two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2005 – when Shaun Alexander (141) and Maurice Morris (104) did it against the Texans.
The Seahawks’ 284 rushing yards were the fourth-highest total in franchise history. They had 320 in that 2005 game against the Texans; 319 in a 2001 game against the Raiders; and 298 in a 1986 game against the Broncos.
Lynch’s 100-yard effort was his seventh of the season, one more than his previous high from last season.
With his 128 yards coming on only 11 carries, Lynch also set a franchise record for rushing average (11.6). The previous record was held by Sherman Smith, who now coaches the team’s running backs. He averaged 8.9 yards in a game against the Falcons in 1976.
With his 20th TD pass of the season, Russell Wilson tied the mark for third-most by a rookie QB. Peyton Manning had 26 and Cam Newton 21. Andy Dalton and Dan Marino also threw 20. And Wilson has three games left.
Wilson’s second-quarter interception was his first at home this season.
Tight end Anthony McCoy not only surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time in his three-year career, his three-catch, 105-yard day was the first 100-yard outing by a Seahawks receiver this season. He also became the fourth tight end in franchise history to surpass 100 receiving yards – joining Charle Young (140 in 1983), Itula Mili (119 in 2002) and John Carlson (105 in 2008).
The Seahawks passed the ball only 22 times – 7 of 13 by Wilson and 5 of 9 by Matt Flynn, who saw his first action of the season.
The Seahawks were penalized 10 times for 97 yards. “It was crazy stuff that happened,” Carroll said. “Other than that, that was really the only thing that we didn’t get done today.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“My feelings were hurt, he hit me so hard.” – wide receiver Sidney Rice, who took a vicious shot from safety Rashad Johnson in the fourth quarter but held on and got up to spin the ball for emphasis.