Recap: Seahawks rally to beat Cardinals 21-20 in season finale

Jan 7, 2024, 4:36 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm

Seattle Seahawks Cardinals...

Michael Jackson of the Seattle Seahawks reacts to a missed field goal by Arizona kicker Matt Prater. (Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

(Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Cornerback Quandre Diggs and the Seattle Seahawks weren’t exactly sure how to act in the minutes following their come-from-behind victory Sunday. The emotions came in waves — sometimes proud, other times dejected.

Seahawks 21, Cardinals 20: Reaction | Offseason storylines | Stats

Seattle had just won a big game. But there will be no more of them this season.

Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes and the Seahawks rallied for a 21-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals, but Seattle still missed the playoffs after the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears.

“It just didn’t work out in our favor,” Diggs said. “We fought to the end, which is cool, but I wish we were playing another week.”

Seahawks miss playoffs for just fourth time in 14 years under Carroll

Arizona’s Matt Prater missed a 51-yard field attempt, wide right, at the buzzer. It was his second missed field goal of the fourth quarter.

The Seahawks came into Week 18 of this regular season in a familiar position, needing a win in the finale and some help from another team to squeeze into the playoffs. It worked out last season after the Seahawks beat the Rams and the Lions beat the Packers.

This time around, it didn’t.

The Seahawks had to beat the Cardinals and hope the Bears could upset the Packers. The games were played at roughly the same time Sunday and both were tight, but the Packers polished off their 17-9 win — knocking the Seahawks out of postseason contention — midway through the fourth quarter of the Arizona-Seattle game.

“The best way to describe it is bittersweet,” Smith said. “Obviously, it’s good to get a win. First thing’s first. A road win, in the fashion we did today, it took everybody and came down to the wire.”

The Seahawks lost control of their playoff fate when they lost to the Steelers 30-23 in Week 17.

“For us to let our own destiny slip out of our hands, that frustrates me a little bit,” Smith said. “We had a chance. A chance to get to the playoffs and see what we could do. But we won today, and that’s all we could have done.”

Around the time the Packers beat the Bears, the Cardinals made their move against the Seahawks with some trickery. On fourth-and-3 at the Seattle 8, the Cardinals looked like they were going to settle for a field goal, but Prater abruptly moved over to receiver as quarterback Kyler Murray sprinted back under center.

Murray then found Trey McBride in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown and a 20-13 lead. Murray finished with 262 yards passing.

The Seahawks rallied on their final offensive drive, despite knowing they were eliminated from the playoff bracket. Smith hit Tyler Lockett for a 34-yard touchdown pass with two minutes left, cutting the margin to 20-19. Seattle then converted a 2-point conversion, with Smith finding Lockett in the back of the end zone.

“I don’t know how to put it all in a capsule, other than to say I love this team, love the ways these guys play,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They continue to keep coming back, keep believing and stick with the essence of what we’re trying to get done.”

Cardinals running back James Conner tied it at 13 early in the third quarter with a 29-yard touchdown run, slicing through Seattle’s defense without much resistance. He finished with 1,040 yards rushing this season — despite missing four games with a knee injury — topping the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career.

Arizona (4-13) had a 3-5 record after Murray returned at midseason following an 11-month layoff due to an ACL tear in his right knee. His solid play in his return gives the Cardinals hope that next season will be better.

“You don’t want to lose, I don’t want to lose, nobody in there wants to lose,” Murray said. “I feel like we should have won that game. But yes, in a sense, there’s a lot to look forward to. I’m excited about it. I know the guys are excited about it.”

Seattle (9-8) misses the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Smith threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns.

The Seahawks inched ahead 3-0 in the first quarter on a 33-yard field goal from Jason Myers. The Cardinals responded to tie the game early in the second on Prater’s 23-yard kick.

Seattle scored the first touchdown of the afternoon on a 19-yard pass from Smith to a wide open Will Dissly for a 10-3 lead. It was Arizona’s second blunder in coverage during the drive after Lockett caught an uncontested pass for a 37-yard gain.

Myers made his second field goal of the first half — this one from 29 yards out — at the halftime buzzer for a 13-6 lead.


Seattle Seahawks: Starting RT Abe Lucas (knee) was among seven inactives. LB Jordyn Brooks (ankle) returned after missing the Steelers game last week, but was shaken up after making a nice play in pass coverage. He eventually returned. TE Noah Fant and S Julian Love both left with hand injuries in the first quarter. Love returned while Fant did not.

Arizona Cardinals: Rookie CB Garrett Williams (knee) was among six inactives.

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