Cardinals vs. Seahawks: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Seattle

Marlon MaloneyCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2013

Dec 9, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) dives for more yards while rushing the ball during the 1st half against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In the two seasons that Russell Wilson has been in the NFL, he had never lost a home game... until today. The Arizona Cardinals overcame a four-interception game by Carson Palmer to pull off a major upset over their division rivals, completely stifling the Seattle offense.

The Seahawks were held to just 192 yards offensively, with Wilson being limited to 108 yards passing and Marshawn Lynch to 71 yards on the ground. The Cardinals figured out how to keep Wilson contained in the pocket and Seattle didn't seem to have an answer for it. 

If the San Francisco 49ers win on Monday Night Football, the Seahawks will be in danger of losing their division crown in their Week 17 tilt against the St. Louis Rams.



Arizona - 17

Seattle - 10


Seattle Seahawks Game Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseD+D-
Run OffenseA-C+
Pass DefenseA+A
Run DefenseC+B-
Special TeamsAB
vs. Cardinals Week 16


Final Analysis for the Seattle Seahawks

Pass Offense: A poor first half didn't get get much better for Wilson and the Seattle passing game. Wilson finished the day 11-of-26 for 108 yards a touchdown and an interception, in one of the worst games of his career. After holding the Cardinals front seven at bay during the first half, the Cardinals defense piled up four sacks during the second half. Jermaine Kearse led the receivers with three grabs for 38 yards.

Run Offense: Lynch was shutdown after a fast start, gaining just 11 yards on seven carries in the second half. Wilson ran for a 27-yard gain early in the third quarter, but Arizona's defense did a masterful job of keeping him contained throughout the game.

Pass Defense: The Seahawks picked off four Carson Palmer passes, two by Richard Sherman, and limited the Cardinals' passing game to 168 yards in the game. Larry Fitzgerald was kept quiet after making three grabs for 18 yards in the first half. The Seahawks brought Palmer down for two sacks and were able to mount consistent pressure, but allowed a 31-yard touchdown late in the game that proved to be the deciding score. 

Run Defense: Seattle's run defense had a strong performance as the Cardinals earned their big rushing total with sheer value. The Cardinals had 43 carries for 139 yards in the game, good for a 3.2 yards per carry average. The Seahawks had four tackles for losses in the game and did a better job of stopping Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington from rushing for big chunks of yardage.

Special Teams: The Seattle returners all looked dangerous, but it didn't ever seem to help the offense. Robert Turbin, who was pulled for fumbling the ball twice, averaged 22.7 yards on three kick returns. Doug Baldwin came in and averaged 28.5 yards on two returns, while Golden Tate did well to pick up 15.7 per return on punts.

Steven Hauschka was shaky, missing a 24-yard field goal and almost an extra point, if not for a dubious defensive penalty call. The coverage teams performed well, especially on punts to keep Patrick Peterson contained.

Coaching: Darrell Bevell couldn't figure out how to give Wilson more room to run and the running game disappeared in the second half. The defense had another strong showing, but overall there were more than 100 yards of penalties called against the Seahawks in the game, and that proved costly.

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 22:  Wide receiver Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after making a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter against defensive back Byron Maxwell #41 of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 22, 2013 in
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images



First-Half Analysis for the Seattle Seahawks

Pass Offense: Seattle's passing game has gotten off to a rough start through the first half. Wilson has completed six of 16 passes for just 47 yards. Kearse leads the pitiful aerial performance with 25 yards on two receptions.

Arizona hasn't mustered any major pass rush in the game, as the offensive line has been solid in its pass protection. The Cardinals are yet to bring Wilson down for a sack.

Run Offense: Lynch has gotten off to a fast start in this one, racking up 60 yards on 11 carries. He was stuffed twice on the goal line late in the half, however, forcing Seattle to settle for a field-goal attempt that would thud off the upright. 

The Cardinals have done a good job of keeping Wilson from scrambling for yards in the running game, limiting him to five yards on one keeper. 

Pass Defense: The Seattle secondary has been very opportunistic in pulling down three interceptions. Two of the picks were of the tip-drill variety and one was a poor decision by Palmer. Kam Chancellor, Sherman and Malcolm Smith were the interceptors.

Bobby Wagner stayed on the tear he's been on lately, by taking Palmer down for the lone sack of the game. He also has five tackles through the half.

Palmer ends the half 8-for-16 with 115 yards. Brittan Golden made the biggest play of the first half on a 63-yard reception, but Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts have paced the passing game with five catches for 43 yards combined. 

Run Defense: The Seahawks haven't been great against the run so far, but it hasn't killed them. Mendenhall and Ellington have looked dangerous, leading Arizona to 78 yards rushing on 17 carries (sans the Palmer kneel-down).

The run defense will be a point of concern going forward in a very close game.

Special Teams: Hauschka, who entered the game making 30-of-31 field goals with the one miss coming on a blocked attempt, made a 27-yarder before shanking a 24-yard kick before the half. Jon Ryan and the punt team have continued their strong play and the rest of special teams has been a non-factor so far.

Coaching: The coaching staff has done a quality job of establishing the ground game against the league's best run defense, but the passing game is off to an uncharacteristically poor start. Look for the focus to shift to Wilson taking over the second half.