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GLENDALE, Ariz. – Seattle overwhelmed the Arizona Cardinals on offense and stifled them on defense.
It was a dominating Thursday night in the desert for the Seahawks, and the latest evidence that they are the team to beat in the NFC West.
Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns and Marshawn Lynch ran for 91 yards in Seattle's 34-22 victory.
The Seahawks intercepted two of Carson Palmer's passes and sacked him seven times, twice by Chris Clemons, who had been questionable for the game with a hyper-extended elbow.
Wilson was asked if Seattle is the best team in the NFL, but he wouldn't go that far.
"We've got to be the best team every week, that's the biggest thing," he said. "We have a great football team, I know that."
Still, the Cardinals stayed in the game, thanks in large part to a pair of fumbles by Wilson as he was sacked deep in Seattle territory.
Two third-quarter touchdowns — one on a 10-play, 80-yard drive, the other after Brandon Browner's 49-yard interception return to the Arizona 1 — opened up a 31-13 lead and the Cardinals couldn't get back in it.
Here are five things we learned from the game:
BIGGEST PLAY GAINED 6 YARDS: For all the big chunk of yards the Seahawks got, the biggest play might have been a 6-yard pass in the third quarter.
Leading just 17-13, Seattle had it third-and-3 at the Arizona 48 and Wilson was being chased by Daryl Washington. The Arizona linebacker had Wilson by the legs and was bringing him down when the Seattle quarterback somehow got off a pass to Zach Miller who caught it for a first down.
"I knew I wasn't down," Wilson said. "I just made a little shortstop flip to him. He made a great play. He is such a good player and so aware of situations and he knows how to get open and get away."
Arizona coach Bruce Arians thought the referee gave Wilson a break on the play.
"It was a huge play," Arians said. "Most quarterbacks, the referee would have blown that down. He's such a great athlete that Terry (McAulay) let him continue playing, and you just live with the call."
Seattle went on to score to go up 24-13.
WILSON HAS GROWN: Well, not literally. He's still just 5-11.
But, despite some struggles this season, he says he is a far better quarterback when he made his NFL debut in a loss at Arizona in last year's season opener.
"I think I've grown so much," Wilson said. "Our football team has grown a lot. We're still very young. We're improving every week and that's the thing."
Not that everything is perfect. He had two fumbles on sacks deep in Seattle territory, leading to 10 Arizona points.
"Obviously the only negatives of the game were really those fumbles," Wilson said. "Got to get rid of that. Got to find a way or something. Got to try to watch that. That's on me.'
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Wilson "did a bunch of cool stuff and took care of the football and the throwing game."
"Of course he got pounded a little bit, and we gave up the sacks that caused the fumbles," Carroll said, "but sometimes that happens."
LYNCH IS A BEAST: Lynch had some huge carries in the game, notably a 17-yard run up the middle to the Arizona 5 en route to that first third-quarter TD. He carried half the Arizona team 7 or 8 yards on the play.
"Marshawn Lynch, can anybody be any tougher?" Wilson asked. "How tough he is, how he runs the football, his mentality and he has great hands, too, in terms of the protection game. There can't be too many players any better."
PALMER'S WOES CONTINUE: With two more interceptions, Palmer has 13 for the season. Only Eli Manning has more with 15.
"We all need to step up our game," Palmer said, "mainly me, being the quarterback — that's your job."
Arians was asked if he considered benching Palmer in favor of Drew Stanton.
"No," he said. "It's the reasons for the interceptions. Is it his decision-making? The first one to me was obvious pass interference, and the safety makes a great play. The second one was just a poor decision. Those are the ones we have to look at."
SCHEDULE EASES: After losing to San Francisco and Seattle in a five-day period, things should get a bit easier for the Cardinals.
Over the next four weeks, they play Atlanta at home, have a bye, host Houston and go to Jacksonville.
"We have a stretch of very winnable games coming up," Palmer said. "We just had two very difficult division games, two games in four, five days. We have to bounce back. ... Sometimes it just takes one. It takes one game to get that roll and confidence and get moving."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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