Published December 09, 2012
SEATTLE – Ken Whisenhunt started with an apology and later asked a reporter if he could play quarterback.
Arizona's season that was already spiraling finally hit bottom on Sunday.
The Cardinals committed eight turnovers, saw Seattle's Marshawn Lynch run for three touchdowns and were handed the worst shutout loss in franchise history, a 58-0 rout by the Seahawks.
If there wasn't heated debate about the direction of the Cardinals before, it's likely to pick up after this lackluster effort.
"I apologize to our fans and everyone associated with our organization. That was embarrassing," Whisenhunt said. "We owe it to them, our fans, our supports to give them a better product than we did today and going forward that's what we've got to do, we've got to work to get better than that."
The Seahawks (8-5) scored nearly every way possible, turning their first home game in about a month into a rout that will only increase the chatter in Phoenix whether Whisenhunt will be back as Cardinals coach.
It was an effortless performance by the Cardinals (4-9), who have lost nine straight, the longest slide for the franchise since 1944. The Cardinals gained just 154 yards and had almost as many turnovers as first downs (10).
Larry Fitzgerald had one reception and that didn't come until the fourth quarter. John Skelton made numerous ill-advised throws into coverage and was intercepted four times. He was picked off twice each by Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman, with Sherman taking the first interception back 19 yards for a touchdown.
But that was just a small part of a Sunday the Cardinals would rather forget.
"For them to come out and dominate the way they did in every phase of the game, it's embarrassing," Skelton said.
Arizona actually started well, with Skelton completing his first three passes. When Skelton finally threw in the direction of Fitzgerald the day quickly spiraled out of control. Skelton's pass found Fitzgerald's hands, but was wrestled free by K.J. Wright, tipped from hitting the ground by Walter Thurmond and into Wagner's hands.
Wagner's return set up the first of Steven Hauschka's three field goals and Lynch added touchdown runs on consecutive drives for a 17-0 lead.
That's when the turnovers became comical for the Cardinals.
Skelton was stripped by Chris Clemons and fell on the loose ball for the second Arizona turnover. He followed by throwing into triple coverage to Fitzgerald and Sherman caught the poor throw, returning it 19 yards for a touchdown.
Patrick Peterson muffed a punt deep in his end, the ball was batted around and eventually tipped to Malcolm Smith, who caught it out of midair at the goal line for a 31-0 lead.
And finally, Peterson was hit from behind and fumbled on a punt return late in the first half. Russell Wilson hit Zach Miller for a 24-yard TD with 6 seconds left in the second quarter.
About the only bit of fight shown by the Cardinals came late in the third quarter during a pushing and shoving match that resulted in Daryn Colledge getting a personal foul for unnecessary roughness. By that point, the Seahawks led 51-0.
"We just want to put this season behind us, but you know, we have three more games left," Peterson said. "That muffed punt, the first one, I wish I could have that one back, it just bounced off my hands. ... I'm doing the best of my ability to put this team in great position and make something happen, to give this team a spark, anything I need to do to try to get us going."
Skelton was 11 of 22 for 74 yards and a passer rating of 18.2. He was replaced in the second half by rookie Ryan Lindley, but the offense didn't get any better. When asked after the game who would play quarterback, Whisenhunt jokingly said, "Do you play?"
"Let's face it, part of our struggles have been tied to the inconsistencies at that position," he said. "You've got to have something there and can cover up other areas, and we're not getting that."
Darnell Dockett played sparingly in the first quarter, but was in at defensive tackle consistently thereafter. Dockett was fined by the team for an altercation with a teammate following last week's loss to the New York Jets.
Dockett and the rest of Arizona's pass rush that flustered Wilson in the season opener never became a factor. In fact, Wilson got to watch the final 25 minutes on the sideline with the Seahawks holding such a big lead. Wilson completed 7 of 13 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, while Lynch and rookie Robert Turbin became the first Seattle duo to top 100 yards rushing in the same game since 2005. Lynch finished with 128 yards on just 11 carries, while Turbin added 108.
Leon Washington's 3-yard run with 2:32 left pushed the Seahawks past the old record of 56 points scored against Buffalo in 1977. The eight takeaways were their second most, equaling a 1998 achievement.
"It's a reward for all the hard work. You work so hard and so often the games don't afford you that opportunity," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "For everybody to play, everybody to contribute, so many guys can get on the stat sheet and all that stuff, it's really very positive."
Notes: Arizona was shut out for the first time since losing to Seattle 38-0 in 2003. ... The Cardinals previous worst shutout loss was a 49-0 defeat by Kansas City in 2002. ... Wilson became the first rookie quarterback to start and win his first six home games. ... It was the sixth time in his career Fitzgerald has been held to one catch — four of those this year.
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