With the 12th Man behind them, Seattle is almost unbeatable at Qwest Field and that theory proved correct today as they handled divisional foe Arizona in an NFC West matchup, 21-10. The Seahawks have now won 11 straight at home and are now 14-3 over the last two-plus seasons.
The first half was completely dominated by Seattle as they took the opening kickoff the 80 yards in 10 plays and got a Shaun Alexander two-yard touchdown run to put them out to a quick 7-0 lead.
During the drive, Seattle faced a big third-and-12 from their own 18 when Matt Hasselbeck dropped back, threw it long down the right sideline and hit WR Darrell Jackson with a 47-yard reception. Jackson beat Cardinals CB Robert Tate on the play and Hasselbeck laid the ball out perfectly for the long gain.
Arizona quickly went three-and-out, a theme that would be repeated several times by Seattle’s smothering defense, and Seattle got the ball back in good field position at their own 26.
Hasselbeck hit Jackson for another long gainer, but this time, Jackson was able to get away from the defender and go into the endzone on a 49-yard pass play putting Seattle up 14-0 with 4:51 left in the first quarter.
Jackson finished the day with five receptions for 127 yards and the one touchdown.
Seattle’s defense continued to stymie their opponents for the first two quarters of the game as well and they were helped by Arizona K Neil Rackers who missed two field goal attempts one to end the half.
In the first half Arizona was only able to muster 105 yards in the first half, but Seattle was unable to take advantage of the Cardinals’ offensive-ineptness.
Hasselbeck threw an interception late in the second quarter thwarting one drive and having a Josh Brown field goal blocked, his third in two weeks, when hold Ryan Plackemier bobbled the snap.
The second-half saw Arizona experience some success in their passing game as Warner was able to move the Cardinals offense and get a 43-yard Rackers field goal to bring the score to Seattle 14 and Arizona 3.
Hasselbeck then threw his second interception of the game when he threw down the right sideline and his pass was intercepted by FS Adrian Wilson at Seattle’s 46-yard line and the Cardinals seemed to have momentum.
But as many teams have found out recently, just because you have good field position, doesn’t mean that you are going to score against Seattle’s stingy defense.
Warner threw two incompletions, the Cardinals were called for a holding penalty and James was able to gain only seven yards on an outlet pass on third-and-20.
Seattle then got the ball back on their own 20 and proceeded to march 80 yards in 11 plays, ending when FB Mack Strong went in for a three-yard touchdown and the Seahawks had a seemingly insurmountable 21-3 lead.
However, the Cardinals had other plans as Warner connected with his explosive receiver corps on successive plays before hitting Bryant Johnson for a 40-yard touchdown on what looked like a blown coverage.
Johnson beat CB Kelly Herndon on the play and the Cardinals were within striking distance, trailing Seattle 21-10.
Seattle’s offense then was unable to move the ball, but their defense gave them the ball right back when LB Lofa Tatupu picked up a fumble by TE Adam Bergen deep in Seahawks territory.
The offense then took their queue and drove the ball to the Arizona 44, eating up 4:15 seconds of the clock.
The defense sealed the win, when they held the Cardinals on the next series and the Seahawks offense was able to come on and run out the clock.
Next week Seattle (2-0) hosts the New York Giants (1-1) at Qwest in a re-match of last year’s classic game that saw Seattle win 24-21 in overtime.