Seahawks vs. Cardinals: Score, Grades and Analysis

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IOctober 17, 2013

The Seattle Seahawks didn't play the perfect game, but they had more than enough to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 34-22, Thursday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. 

Russell Wilson threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns, Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 91 hard-nosed yards and a touchdown, and Seattle's defense held the Cardinals to 288 total yards, many of which came late in the fourth quarter. 

The 'Hawks move to 6-1 with the victory, while Arizona falls to 3-4 with its first home defeat of the season. 

The first half was mostly indicative of the entire game, as the Seahawks outgained the Cardinals, 210-69. But Arizona found a way to enter the locker room trailing by just seven points at 17-10. 

After Russell Wilson finished off two 70-plus-yard drives with two spectacular touchdown throws to start the game, the Cards were able to turn some good field position into points. 

A failed fourth-down conversion at midfield led to a Jay Feely field goal, and then a Wilson fumble inside the Seattle five led to a Rashard Mendenhall three-yard touchdown run at the 3:40 mark of the second quarter.

The second half was more of the same. Wilson led an 80-yard touchdown drive, and a Brandon Browner interception-and-return to the Arizona 1-yard line turned into a Lynch touchdown, increasing Seattle's lead to 31-13 with about five minutes remaining in the third. 

After another Wilson fumble turned into a Feely field goal, the Cardinals finally showed some offensive life late in the fourth quarter as Seattle's defense backed off a bit.

Carson Palmer went 8-for-8 on a 71-yard touchdown drive, culminating in an eight-yard Jaron Brown TD reception midway through the fourth. But it was too little, too late for the Cardinals, as a failed two-point conversion gave us the final 34-22 scoreline.


Player Grades

Russell Wilson, Seahawks: A-

Um, this throw:

And this one:

This one wasn't so bad, either:

That should pretty much sum it up, but Wilson completed 62 percent of his throws, spread the ball out to nine different receivers, and made several plays with his legs (29 yards). 

The dynamic second-year QB had three fumbles—one of which led to an easy Arizona touchdownbut it's hard to bring his grade down too much after those unbelievable touchdown throws and an all-around solid performance on the road on a short week. 


Carson Palmer, Cardinals: C+

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel #99 of the Seattle Seahawks sacks quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter during a game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2013 in Glendale, Ari
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Not all of the blame should be placed on Palmer—he had a nonexistent running game backing him up (30 total yards) and Seattle applied tons of pressure in the backfield. The veteran QB finished 30-of-45 for 258 yards and a touchdown, but also had two interceptions that directly led to Seattle TDs.


Seahawks Defense: A-

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons (91) celebrates his first half sack against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Browner had his best game of the season, accruing four tackles, three pass deflections, one interception and one trip at the 3-yard line.

But Earl Thomas also added an interception, while the team totaled eight pass deflections, seven sacks and 13 quarterback hits. The 'Hawks also held Rashard Mendenhall to a meager 1.7 yards per carry, limited Larry Fitzgerald to two catches, and generally held strong whenever they were forced to start on their half of the field.

It was a dominant performance in every facet of the game. 


Calais Campbell, Cardinals: A-

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is pursued by Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) in the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Four days ago, this guy was being taken off the field on a stretcher. 

It was amazing enough that he simply managed to suit up, but the fact he was so effective, tallying a team-high eight combined tackles (including one for a loss on an early fourth down) and a fumble recovery speaks to just how special the defensive end is.

There weren't many bright spots for the Cardinals, but Campbell, one of the more underrated players in the game, deserves mention for a gallant effort. 


What's Next

The Seahawks will travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams on Monday Night Football, while the Cardinals stay home to host the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday before a bye week.