Seahawks end four-year losing streak in Arizona with 36-18 win
Mike Williams finishes with 11 catches for 145 yards and Matt Hasselbeck throws for 333 yards, despite missing time in the third quarter after injuring his wrist just before the half.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Offense returnsThe Seahawks were outscored 74-10 in a pair of losses the previous two games, but caught fire against Arizona. A look at Seattle's total points in each of its nine games.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — It wasn't the most important play of the game, just the most remarkable.
A quarterback with a cracked bone in his left wrist threw to a wide receiver who just four days earlier in practice broke his right pinkie finger so badly, he could see the bone.
Somehow, Matt Hasselbeck was in the game to get the ball to Mike Williams, who somehow made a one-handed, backhanded grab, essentially cupping the ball from above with that hand, his broken pinkie taped to the ring finger for support.
That 24-yard catch didn't decide Seattle's 36-18 victory in Arizona — it embodied it. This was a game that was hard to believe. A game that made you do a double take to make sure that, yes, a Seahawks offense that had managed all of 10 points the previous two games combined did everything but run laps around University of Phoenix Stadium, a place where it had never won. Well, a place it hadn't won until Sunday, that is.
And when it was over, Seattle had its highest scoring game of the year, its most yards of any game in three years and prime position in the NFL West after the San Francisco 49ers beat the St. Louis Rams in overtime.
"It means temporarily we're in first," linebacker Lofa Tatupu said. "I don't know if I can say anything more than that. I don't want to say anything more than that. It just feels right. It feels good to say it again. I hadn't said it in a couple of years."
This was a renaissance of sorts for Seattle, a day on which the offense reflected previous glory. Hasselbeck threw for 333 yards, his highest total since 2007, and Deon Butler caught a 63-yard touchdown pass that stands as Seattle's longest play from scrimmage in two years.
The defense has carried much of the weight for Seattle this season, and Sunday it got the benefit of playing with the lead. The result was five sacks — two apiece for Chris Clemons and Aaron Curry — and the Seahawks actually held a 10-minute advantage in time of possession.
"The offense really came to life," coach Pete Carroll said.
Just in time, too. Seattle had gained a total of 326 yards in its past two games, which it lost by a combined score of 74-10. The Seahawks had more than 400 yards in the first three quarters Sunday and finished with the most points they've scored this season.
Seattle had an answer for everything Sunday afternoon. When the Cardinals took a 7-0 lead, the Seahawks responded with a 77-yard drive, their longest scoring march in four weeks. When Arizona tied the score 10-10 with a second-quarter field goal, the Seahawks scored on the second play of the ensuing drive with Butler's touchdown catch. Seattle never trailed again.
Seattle, which had completed just two passes of more than 30 yards in its previous four games, had four passes gain more than 30 yards in Arizona. That was a product of the faith Carroll and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates placed in Seattle's pass protection, which allowed just two sacks.
"We thought we could utilize that as a strength and then play off that," Carroll said, "Count on Matt to throw the ball around the yard, and it worked out for us."
Hasselbeck played the final quarter and a half after suffering an injury to his left wrist, called a cracked bone by Carroll. Charlie Whitehurst replaced Hasselbeck for Seattle's first two possessions of the third quarter. He was picked off once in Arizona's half of the field, but also led a field-goal drive.
That was one of five field goals kicked by Olindo Mare, who has kicked 10 of his 15 field goals this season in two games against the Cardinals. Those field goals were about the only things Seattle could kick itself over. Of the Seahawks' eight red-zone possessions, just two produced touchdowns.
But after Seattle's offensive ineptitude the past two games, Sunday was more than just a step forward. It was a remarkable breakthrough for an offense that had been high-centered so much of this season.
On Sunday, Seattle went down to a stadium where it had never won, playing the team that has won the division the past two years and put on an offensive display every bit as remarkable and surprising as Williams' one-handed grab in the fourth quarter.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Sept. 12||San Francisco||Won 31-6|
|Sept. 19||at Denver||Lost 31-14|
|Sept. 26||San Diego||Won 27-20|
|Oct. 3||at St. Louis||Lost 20-3|
|Oct. 17||at Chicago||Won 23-20|
|Oct. 24||Arizona||Won 22-10|
|Oct. 31||at Oakland||Lost 33-3|
|Nov. 7||N.Y. Giants||Lost 41-7|
|Sunday||at Arizona||Won 36-18|
|Nov. 21||at New Orleans||1:05 p.m.|
|Nov. 28||Kansas City||1:05 p.m.|
|Dec. 5||Carolina||1:15 p.m.|
|Dec. 12||at S. Francisco||1:05 p.m.|
|Dec. 19||Atlanta||1:05 p.m.|
|Dec. 26||at Tampa Bay||10 a.m.|
|Jan. 2||St. Louis||1:15 p.m.|
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