Two teams. Two games. Two different outcomes.
And with Sunday’s game, there were two questions that got emphatic answers. But we’ll get to those in a minute.
Back in Week 1, Seattle ran seven plays inside the Arizona red zone with a chance to take the lead in the game’s waning moments. The Cardinals held strong for a 20-16 win.
Sunday, there was no goal line stand necessary. It took the Seahawks three plays to put up three points, and that was all they would need to win. The other 55 were just for show.
Before the season began, these were the two teams with the biggest question marks in the division.
San Francisco was the clear-cut favorite in the NFC West. St. Louis was expected to be the division doormat. The Cardinals went 6-2 in the second half of 2011, and while they appeared to be trending in the right direction, there was quarterback controversy throughout training camp. Seattle, meanwhile, entered 2012 with a rookie signal caller, a supposedly aging running back and experts questioning its first-round draft pick.
One glance at the final score of the Seahawks and Cardinals Week 14 match up tells you all you need to know about how things turned out.
“That is a hard thing to do in the National Football League, to win the way we did” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was quoted as saying following his squad’s 58-0 shellacking of the Cardinals.
It didn’t look tough, though. It looked kind of like the Cardinals quit, but that would be implying they even started the game caring about the outcome.
LET’S START WITH the first question that was answered in Sunday’s game:
How good are the Seattle Seahawks?
They are very good and they will make the playoffs.
This is an old-school football team. Coach Pete Carroll prides himself in having a stingy defense and a physical running attack. He wants to kick his opponent’s ass on both sides of the football, and that is exactly what the Seahawks have done lately.
They entered Sunday’s contest fourth in the league in total defense (196.3 ypg) and second in scoring defense (15.5 ppg), numbers that only got better after limiting the Cardinals to 154 yards in Sunday’s shutout.
Plus, Seattle has a quarterback that can win games for it in the fourth quarter. Just ask the Chicago Bears.
In Week 13, Wilson led a 97-yard touchdown drive that gave the Seahawks a three-point lead with 24 seconds to go. After the Bears tied it at the end of regulation, Wilson marched 80 yards to win the game in overtime.
Seattle has a legitimate chance to win the division. It finishes the season at Buffalo (W) home against San Francisco (?) and home against St. Louis (W). Meanwhile San Francisco goes to New England next week (?), then travels to Seattle (?) and finishes the season home against Arizona (W).
If the Seahawks do win the division, they’d likely enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the NFC. That’s not a match up anyone in the conference would look forward to.
THE OTHER QUESTION that arose from Sunday’s game is just as easy to answer and doesn’t take nearly as much explanation:
Will the Cardinals win another game this season?