Hawks’ rout engages ‘finish mode’

Seahawks’ 58-0 shutout, first NFC West win accompanied by several franchise records

Staff writerDecember 10, 2012 

The Seahawks 58-0 throttling of the Arizona Cardinals was a first for Richard Sherman.

“I’ve never been involved where the ball falls your way every single time,” said the Seattle cornerback, who finished with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Seattle’s historic humbling of Arizona on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field served as the team’s first NFC West win this season.

And the Seahawks set several team records on the day.

The win was the largest margin of victory in franchise history. The Seahawks’ last shutout victory was a 41-0 win over Jacksonville on Oct. 11, 2009.

Seattle’s 58 points also was the most points scored in a game in franchise history, eclipsing the 56 points the Seahawks scored in a 56-17 victory against Buffalo on Oct. 30, 1977.

Seattle’s average margin of victory this season heading into Sunday’s contest had been nine points.

Arizona’s deepest penetration was Seattle’s 37-yard line on the first drive of the game.

Coach Pete Carroll said the easy victory served as payment to his players for all of the hard work put into making the postseason a reachable goal.

Seattle improved to 8-5 and remains 1.5 games behind NFC West division leader San Francisco (9-3-1), 27-13 winners at home over Miami.

The loss was Arizona’s ninth straight. The Cardinals had not lost nine straight within a single season since going 0-10 in 1943, when the team was in Chicago.

“It’s a nice reward,” Carroll said. “Sometimes you get a chance to win big like that, and we haven’t had many since we’ve been here.

“It’s just fun for the guys; everybody got to play.”

Arizona quarterback John Skelton was succinct in summing up his team’s poor performance: “Ass-kicking. That’s the only thing you can say. For them to come out and dominate the way they did in every phase of the game is embarrassing.”

The Seahawks forced eight Arizona turnovers — four interceptions, two fumbles on punt returns — including one recovered for a touchdown by Malcolm Smith — and two fumbles on strip sacks, by defensive end Chris Clemons and safety Jeron Johnson, in running away with this one.

Sherman and rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner finished with two interceptions each; Sherman returned one for a 19-yard touchdown.

Even reserve quarterback Matt Flynn made his regular-season debut midway through the third quarter, finishing 5 of 9 for 68 yards.

The Seahawks scored the first four times they had the ball, opening up a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter, and never looked back.

The Seahawks rushed for 284 yards, with Marshawn Lynch and backup Robert Turbin both breaking the century mark, the first time Seattle has done that since 2005.

Lynch finished with 128 yards on 11 carries, including three touchdowns.

And Turbin, a rookie from Utah State, broke the 100-yard mark for the first time in his pro career, totaling 108 yards on 20 carries.

Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was efficient, finishing 7 of 13 for 148 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller.

Wilson’s favorite target was Seattle’s other tight end, Anthony McCoy, who finished with three catches for 105 yards, including a long of 67.

McCoy became the first Seattle receiver to top the 100-yard receiving mark this season.

The Seahawks are now 6-0 at home — two wins away from going 8-0 at home for the first time since the team’s Super Bowl season in 2005.

Seattle players aren’t taking the way they played for granted.

“It shows us when we finish (a) game, and when we finish plays and we work all the way through the whistle, good things happen — for whatever reason,” fullback Michael Robinson said. “And we have to keep it up. We’re in finish mode right now — fourth quarter.”

Added safety Earl Thomas: “It’s just a stepping stone. I think we’re getting hot at the right time. It’s getting late in the season, and we’re ready for this push to the playoffs.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams

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