SEATTLE – There was no point in the Seattle Seahawks disputing the obvious. If they were at all interested in challenging in the NFC West, getting a win over Arizona was an absolute.
It wasn't pretty — many games in this division aren't. But the Seahawks are right back in contention after Sunday's 19-3 victory.
Seattle snapped Arizona's six-game win streak thanks to a stingy defensive effort that was reminiscent of last season and a little more Russell Wilson magic. The Seahawks (7-4) pulled within two games of the Cardinals (9-2) with another meeting on tap Dec. 21 in Arizona.
"We will forget about this one — we will see those guys when they come back home to us — and we will be ready for them then," Arizona safety Tyrann Mathieu said.
Wilson threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Helfet in the third quarter, capping a drive where he was 6 of 6 for 70 yards. Wilson finished 17 of 22 for 211 yards after getting overrun by Arizona's aggressive blitzes in the first half.
The more important work came from Seattle's defense. The Seahawks held Arizona to 204 total yards, the fewest in Bruce Arians' two seasons as head coach. A week after throwing for a career-high 306 yards, Drew Stanton was 14 of 26 for 149 and one interception.
Arizona's run game was ineffective, with the longest play on the ground a 13-yard scramble by Stanton. Arizona had only two drives of more than five plays and seven of its 10 possessions failed to cross midfield.
Seattle's defense was helped by the return of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who had missed the previous five games with a toe injury. Wagner's return meant Seattle had 10 of its 11 defensive starters from the season opener on the field.
Wagner tied for a team-high eight tackles in his return.
"I think we're all getting healthy at the right time," Wagner said.
Here are other things that stood out from Seattle's win:
SHARP EYE: There was no punt block called. DeShawn Shead was supposed to do his usual assignment on Seattle's punt team, until he noticed that Arizona had only 10 players on the field as it lined up in the third quarter.
Shead broke from his assignment and charged at punter Drew Butler, smothering the kick. The block ended up leading to another field goal for the Seahawks.
"If they don't have anyone out there, they have to pay for that," Shead said.
REPLACING FITZ: While Larry Fitzgerald is no longer catching passes at the rate he did earlier in his career, he's still a presence that needs to be watched on the field. Fitzgerald's streak of 110 consecutive games played was snapped on Sunday when a sprained knee ligament kept him inactive. It was just the fifth game missed in his career.
The Seahawks locked down most of Arizona's receivers. Michael Floyd was shut out. Jaron Brown dropped an easy touchdown late in the first half. John Brown had three catches for 61 yards but Seattle avoided giving up any impactful plays to the rookie.
"All Jarod has to do is catch the ball. You don't jump up for a ball that is at your waist. He got too excited," Arians said.
COOPER'S CATCHES: Helfet has only 10 receptions on the season, but two of Seattle's most impressive receiving touchdowns. Helfet's first TD came in Week 7 at St. Louis with a toe-tapping grab along the sideline. His touchdown on Sunday, the only one of the game, showed off more of his athleticism.
Helfet caught the short pass from Wilson, followed the block of Tony Moeaki and then dived the final few yards, stretching the football inside of the front pylon.
"Once you see that pylon is getting close, you try to figure out anything you can do to get that ball over the pylon," Helfet said. "As soon as I kind of jumped and cleared that last defender I knew there wasn't anyone around."
SACK ATTACK: Arizona will know going into the next meeting with Seattle it can control the line of scrimmage. The Cardinals had a season-high seven sacks, including a career-high three from defensive end Calais Campbell.
QUICK TURNAROUND: Since the schedule was released in April, this five-day stretch for the Seahawks has been highlighted, first hosting the Cardinals and then playing at San Francisco on Thanksgiving night. The Seahawks passed the first test. Now comes trying to quickly regroup for yet another physical opponent.
"We have our season ahead of us," Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett said. "To win this game and come back and get another chance to play against the 49ers, it makes it really good."
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