On a night when the Seahawks reclaimed control of the NFC West with a 28-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals, they also regained their identity.
For the first time this season, this was true Pete Carroll-era Seahawks football, with the offense playing flawlessly while also mixing the run and the pass the best it has all season, while the defense — if not quite back to the Legion of Boom heyday — played as consistently stout and tough as it has all season. Most of all, the defense made the big plays to put it away when the game was on the line.
With the win, Seattle improved to 7-3, while Arizona fell to 6-4. The Seahawks also earned a split of the season series with the Cardinals, negating any possible Arizona head-to-head tiebreaker advantage.
Russell Wilson, whose 10 turnovers over the last four weeks had been critical factors in three losses in that span — beginning with the first game against Arizona 25 days earlier — played an almost spotless game with no turnovers while completing 23 of 28 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
This time, he was ably complemented by a consistent rushing attack that gained 165 yards on 31 carries, the biggest percentage of runs to passes this season and only the second time this year Seattle ran more than it threw.
And the defense, while allowing the fewest points it has all season, also held an Arizona offense averaging an NFL-high 425.4 yards per game to 314 yards and an Arizona rushing attack averaging an NFL-high 168.9 yards to just 57 yards on 18 carries.
Most critically, after Seattle took a 28-21 lead on a 41-yard field goal by Jason Myers with 2:21 left, the much-criticized Seahawks defense got the stop it needed.
Arizona moved quickly into Seattle territory, and then to the 27 with just under a minute left. But it got no further.
After an incompletion on first down, Arizona QB Kyler Murray took a shot near the end zone to Larry Fitzgerald but Quandre Diggs helped break it up.
On third down, a Murray pass to Andy Isabella was broken up by D.J. Reed.
That set up one last play for Arizona with 38 seconds left.
This time, Murray didn’t have time to get the pass off, sacked by Carlos Dunlap back at the 33 — Seattle’s third sack of the game after it infamously didn’t record a single quarterback hit in a 37-34 loss to Arizona on Oct. 25.
It was a fitting end to a win at newly re-christened Lumen Field that seemed in Seattle’s control almost all the way.
Seattle led 16-7 at the end of the first half, scoring on the opening possession and again after Arizona tied it early in the second quarter, immediately retaking the lead. The Seahawks added a field goal on the final play of the half.
It was the best half of defense of the season for Seattle, holding Arizona to 107 yards on 25 plays and just 4.3 per play, two yards per play less than Arizona’s average coming into the game.
The Seahawks scored on their opening possession, an initially methodical 75-yard march in which Seattle converted three third downs before ending in a splash when Wilson evaded pressure and threw to DK Metcalf in the back corner of the end zone for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Wilson was 5 of 5 for 58 yards on the drive and also ran once for nine yards, and a clear tone had been set.
Arizona had just 23 yards on 10 plays in the first quarter, and just one first down.
The Cardinals had only one real march in the first half, but used it to tie the game on a Kenyan Drake 2-yard TD run with 13:51 to play in the second. The ball popped loose as Drake hit the ground as he fell into the end zone and the play was initially ruled a fumble and a recovery by Seattle’s D.J. Reed. But after a review it was ruled a touchdown.