SEATTLE >> Swarmed by the blitzing rush of the best team in the NFL, Russell Wilson scrambled, slipped, eluded and finally got the Seattle Seahawks in the end zone.
Considering the circumstances, it was probably Seattle’s most important drive of the season as the Seahawks handed the Arizona Cardinals their second loss of the season, 19-3 on Sunday.
Wilson was sacked a season-high seven times by Arizona’s ultra-aggressive defense and the assortment of blitzes they called to confuse and fluster the Seahawks quarterback. But when Seattle (7-4) needed a scoring drive, after squandering advantageous field position throughout the game, Wilson delivered.
Wilson found backup tight end Cooper Helfet on a 20-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the third quarter in a victory that was a must for Seattle if it had any hopes of getting back into the division race. The Seahawks entered the day trailing Arizona (9-2) by three games in the NFC West
Wilson finished 17 of 22 for 211 yards and added 73 yards rushing.
Arizona was held to a season-low 204 total yards. A week after throwing for a career-high 306 yards, Drew Stanton was 14 of 26 for 149 and one interception
Wilson was 6 of 6 for 70 yards on the drive as Seattle moved the pocket and made him less vulnerable to the Arizona rush. He escaped the arms of Lorenzo Alexander for a possible sack and found Marshawn Lynch open for 23 yards. Wilson also ran for 15 yards on third-and-11 to get Seattle inside the Arizona 20.
Wilson had a possible 49-yard touchdown run in the first half brought back on a downfield holding call. Lynch was corralled by Arizona’s third-best rush defense and held to 39 yards on 15 carries, making it 21 straight games the Cardinals have not allowed a 100-yard rusher.
Steven Hauschka hit on field goals of 27, 32, 52 in the first half and a 40-yarder in the third quarter after DeShawn Shead blocked Drew Butler’s punt.
Helping out Wilson was Seattle’s defense with a performance reminiscent of last season.
Stanton was minus a weapon with Larry Fitzgerald inactive due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and wasn’t helped when Jaron Brown dropped a touchdown late in the first half.
Fitzgerald sat for the first time in 110 games and for just the fifth time in his career due to the knee injury suffered last week against Detroit. John Brown continued his stellar rookie season with three catches for 61 yards, but Michael Floyd was shut out, defended much of the game by Richard Sherman.
Arizona saw its six-game win streak snapped.
Seattle spent most of the first half wasting promising field position and picking Wilson up off the ground. Arizona’s defensive front dominated the Seahawks and sacked Wilson a season-high five times in the opening two quarters. The sacks and Seattle’s inability to establish the run game left Seattle settling for field goals despite starting three drives inside Arizona territory.
But Arizona faced the same struggles on offense. Stanton was 9 of 18 for 85 yards and an interception where he badly missed John Brown. The Cardinals had only two drives of more than five plays in the first half and the longest, a 15-play match at the end of the half, ended with Chandler Catanzaro’s chip shot field goal after Jaron Brown dropped a touchdown on third-and-goal at the 5.