The Seahawks had more than enough offense to beat the Cardinals Sunday.
Actually, they had more than enough on four snaps.
The Seahawks traded on big plays and an opponent which couldn’t score, taking a 35-6 win over the Cardinals and the inside track for the NFC West title.
They racked up 596 yards, but 263 of those yards came on four plays.
They’re hurt up front and they’re thin in receiving threats, but they had enough Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch to make the difference.
Lynch came back from an upset stomach which kept him out for a quarter to run for 113 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Wilson’s 55-yard scramble was impressive, but it was his 80-yard touchdown pass to Luke Willson which gave the Seahawks a double-digit edge they weren’t going to give up. Throw in a 49-yard pass to Doug Baldwin, and they had enough home run plays to overwhelm.
Whether that’s enough to compete with teams that might actually be able to score points is another matter.
As long as they can run and play defense the way they do, they’re going to have a chance against anyone in the league.
But when they’re able to get yards in chunks the way they did this week, it might be hard for anyone to have a chance against them.
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. Back in my former life as a newspaper reporter, I covered one of the truly ridiculous games in NFL history.
With both teams beset by injuries at quarterback in 2007, the Cardinals and Panthers ended up competing for the signature of Vinny Testaverde. The Panthers won the battle and the war, as the Cardinals ended up signing Tim Rattay and then beating him the following week in Arizona.
Which is a long way of saying, either Testaverde or Rattay might be a better option than Ryan Lindley right now.
Bless his heart, the poor kid simply doesn’t look competitive, especially against a defense the quality of Seattle’s. The Cardinals even tried to run Logan Thomas out there for a change of pace (to throw a deep ball, not run), but it didn’t work.
At the moment, barring a Testaverde comeback at age 51 or Drew Stanton making a quick comeback, it’s hard to see how the Cards have much of a chance in the playoffs against anyone.
2. The Seahawks played without left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger. But they actually protected fairly well.
The Cardinals sacked Wilson seven times in the first meeting, but got him just once this week. Credit to Alvin Bailey and Patrick Lewis for replacing injured starters and allowing their offense to continue at record pace.
That’s a solid showing for the group they scrapped together, which they hope will be back to normal soon.
3. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians gets a lot of credit (which he should), but defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was making chicken salad too, prior to Sunday
The Cards are not just competitive, they’ve been good with a defense missing three difference-makers in Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington and John Abraham, which is emblematic of their next-man-up approach.
They don’t really have what you’d call a pass-rusher, and they’ve got a bunch of role players like Larry Foote and Frostee Rucker playing bigger roles than you’d normally expect of them.
It was hard to tell against the Seahawks once the avalanche started rolling downhill, but this can still be a dangerous defense.
4. Should we be worried about Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka missing three field goals?
Of course we should.
The misses are rare for Hauschka, and they were from distance. But kicking is a confidence game, and misses in big games can linger.
Until he hits something, it’s worthy of being concerned about, as you pick out every little weakness in a team playing well.
5. Willson, the tight end (man, that extra L in a similar last name is murder on spellcheck), can be a match-up problem for a lot of teams.
He seemed to surprise the Cardinals with his speed, but he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, so he’s a legitimate threat to run away from linebackers.
It was still a bit of a shock to see him pull away from a safety, but he has the kind of size and speed to create space, and make the most of it.