In a game in which they got all the breaks — in more ways than one — the Seahawks moved atop the NFC West at 5-4 with a 36-18 road win against a Cardinals team that, before this season, had gotten very used to slaying Seattle on a consistent basis.
There were stars galore in a very surprising victory hot on the heels of lopsided losses to the Raiders and Giants the previous two weeks. But none shone any brighter than QB Matt Hasselbeck, who passed for 333 yards and directed a 490-yard attack despite a cracked bone in his left wrist that temporarily removed him from the game in favor of backup Charlie Whitehurst, and NFL Comeback Player of the Year candidate Mike Williams, who had 11 catches for a career-high 145 yards despite a broken pinkie finger on his right hand.
After managing only 10 points and 326 yards the previous two weeks, Seattle’s offense looked like the “Greatest Show on Turf” attacks in the Rams’ glory days, punishing a beaten-down Cardinals defense with the Seahawks' most total yards since their 2007 regular-season finale at Atlanta.
The defense wasn’t too shabby, either, registering five sacks (two each by LB Aaron Curry and Chris Clemons) while also limiting Arizona to only 41 yards rushing on 14 carries.
The PFW spin
Not to be a killjoy, but it behooves us to mention that the Cardinals’ shortcomings on both sides of the ball were just as responsible for Seattle’s big victory as anything the Seahawks did. But the Seahawks’ second impressive road victory of this season after having been nothing but roadkill away from home before Pete Carroll arrived on the scene is definitely worth noting.
Same goes for an offensive line that afforded Hasselbeck solid protection despite the absence of first-round OLT Russell Okung, and the performance by Williams, who provided an industrial-sized exclamation point with a one-handed circus catch that left the Cardinals fit to be tied.
But as improved as the offense was against Arizona, it still produced only two TDs in eight red-zone possessions, forcing PK Olindo Mare to work overtime to the tune of five field goals for the second time against Arizona this season.
That type of red-zone production probably won’t cut it this weekend down by the bayou against the defending Super Bowl-champion Saints.
Nonetheless, with seven games remaining, the Seahawks are the only team above .500 in the NFC West. And in a division in which a .500 record could very likely translate into a first-place finish, a playoff berth may loom on the horizon.