SEATTLE — The Arizona Cardinals arrived at CenturyLink Field on Sunday with vivid memories of their 2012 visit.
If youve got any pride or care about football, when a team beats you 58-0, you think about it, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. And it stuck with us. People ask, You get a butt-whipping, does it stay with you a while? That one stayed with us a whole year. We were determined not to let that ever happen again.
On Sunday, the Cardinals got their revenge, taking a 17-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
I guess were 66 points better than last year, Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. But Im proud of our guys. They fought their tails off.
The Cardinals did it primarily with defense, limiting the Seahawks to 10 points, limiting Russell Wilson to 11-of-27 passing, and limiting Marshawn Lynch to 11 rushing yards in the second half.
We played amazing today, said Arizona nose tackle Alameda Taamu, a Kent native who played at the University of Washington. We out-hit, we out-hustled. We were just protecting every blade of grass, every inch.
They did it well enough to cover for a sputtering Arizona offense that managed six points over the first three quarters. They also provided cushion for quarterback Carson Palmer, who threw four interceptions before finally connecting with wide receiver Michael Floyd for the 31-yard game-winning touchdown with 2:13 left.
That was tough, linebacker Karlos Dansby said of watching all those Palmer picks. But we never turned our back on him. We knew we had to go out and get some stops.
The Cardinals also thought back to their October match in the desert, when the Seahawks beat them on their home field, 34-22. That one dropped the Cardinals to 3-4 and to 0-3 in the NFC West. However, it also marked the turning point in their season.
Since then, Arizona has won seven of eight games, and will try to even its record in the division next weekend at home against San Francisco.
Were not the same football team we were earlier in the year, thats evident, Arians said. The belief in this locker room is strong. I cant wait until next week. I know you have to watch what you wish for; but for the 49ers, I look forward to that challenge, too.
A win next week would push the Cardinals to 11-5 although even that might not be good enough for the playoffs.
If San Francisco loses Monday against Atlanta, the 49ers-Cardinals winner would advance to the postseason. If San Francisco beats the Falcons, then Arizona would need a win next week combined with a New Orleans home loss to Tampa Bay.
However on Sunday, as the Cardinals savored their payback against the Seahawks, all that seemed very far away.
I dont know what the scenarios are, Palmer said. But nothing matters. We had to come in and win, and we get a chance to play at our place next week, and we have to win and figure out what is next from there.