By Danny O’Neil
The longest home winning streak in Seahawks’ history ended with a thud.
Or maybe it was a boink or whatever sound effect for Russell Wilson’s errant pass striking the right arm of a diving Doug Baldwin only to ricochet to Arizona’s Karlos Dansby with just under 2 minutes left.
Then came the groan as Seattle lost to Arizona 17-10 at CenturyLink Field. Ugh. For the second time in three weeks, Seattle lost a game in which a win would have clinched the NFC West title.
Wilson had the worst day in terms of passing yardage in his career, finishing with 108. Marshawn Lynch was held to fewer than 100 yards rushing for a fifth consecutive and while Seattle’s defense intercepted four passes from Arizona’s Carson Palmer, the Seahawks also allowed an 80-yard drive that ended with Michael Floyd’s 31-yard touchdown catch with 2:13 left in the game.
The significance: Seattle had the longest home winning streak in franchise history snapped at 14 games. For Seattle to win the NFC West and secure the NFC’s top seed, it now must defeat St. Louis next week or have San Francisco lose either of its remaining two games.
Play of the game: Floyd’s 31-yard touchdown catch with 2:13 left in the fourth quarter wasn’t just the most important play of the game, but the most impressive. Cornerback Byron Maxwell’s coverage was great on the play, deflecting the ball before it got to Floyd and then very nearly ripping it loose after Floyd got his hands on the pass.
Turning point: The Cardinals faced third-and-3 on their own half of the field, trailing by one point with more than 6 minutes left. Palmer was running to his right, and lobbed a ball just over linebacker Bobby Wagner to tight end Jake Ballard for a critical conversion on what turned out to be Arizona’s game-winning drive.
Player of the game: Richard Sherman intercepted two passes for a second consecutive week, doubling his interception total for the season in the span of eight days. Prior to picking off a pair of passes in New York, he went five games without intercepting a pass, his longest draught since becoming a starter in October 2011.
The good: Lynch rushed for 46 yards in the first quarter, a good sign after he rushed for fewer than 55 yards in three of his previous four games. Two of Arizona’s first three possessions ended on interceptions. Safety Kam Chancellor intercepted a pass in the end zone to end Arizona’s first drive, and Sherman matched up with Larry Fitzgerald in the slot, diving in front of him to pick off a pass with 4:44 left in the first quarter. Steven Hauschka made a 27-yard field goal with 13:42 left in the second quarter, his 22nd consecutive field-goal conversion.
More coverage of Seattle’s Week-16 loss to Arizona at CenturyLink Field.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O’Neil: What We Learned||• O’Neil: Russell Wilson’s first clunker||• The Pete Carroll Show: A ‘frustrating’ day||• Henderson: Defense can’t finish off Cards||• Henderson: Close calls go Cardinals’ way|
The bad: Russell Wilson completed six 16 passes he attempted in the first half for 48 yards. Two of the 10 incompletions easily could have been picked off. Seattle failed to score a touchdown in the first half for the first time since Week 4 at Houston. Hauschka’s 30-yard field-goal attempt caromed off the left upright with 20 seconds left, ending his string of 22 consecutive field-goal conversions. Seattle allowed a 6-yard return on its first punt of the game, ending the team’s bid to break the record for fewest punt-return yards in a season. Seattle entered the game having allowed 19 yards. The NFL record of 25 was set during a 14-game season.
The ugly: Seattle had as many picks (three) as points in the first half, and the Seahawks didn’t even manage to score when the defense set the offense up at the Arizona 3 in the final 2 minutes. Arizona converted the first third-down it faced in the game with a 63-yard completion to Brittan Golden. It was the second-longest pass play the Seahawks have allowed this season. Arizona drove 45 yards for its fourth-quarter field goal, 36 of which were gained via Seattle penalties.
Rookie Michael Bowie started at right guard in place of J.R. Sweezy, who was out with a concussion. Paul McQuistan started at left guard, the spot where James Carpenter had started the past two games. Starting left tackle Russell Okung left the game for two plays in the fourth quarter because of a leg injury. He returned to the field for the play that resulted in Wilson’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller. Cornerback Jeremy Lane also left the game briefly in the fourth quarter, but returned to the field.
Seattle: WR Percy Harvin, LB K.J. Wright, WR Bryan Walters, G J.R. Sweezy, OL Caylinn Hauptmann, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill.
Arizona: S Rashad Johnson, RB Ryan Williams, LB Dontay Moch, T/G Nate Potter, G Earl Watford, TE Kory Sperry, DE Ronald Talley.