Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks lead Arizona 9-3 early in the 3rd quarter--but have squandered much more

The Seahawks' defense is keeping the home team ahead. Their offense should have had them up by far more than 9-3 at halftime, though.

Seattle drove inside the Arizona 20-yard line three times in that first half.

The first time, third and 7 from the Cardinals 15, Russell Wilson completed a short pass to Marshawn Lynch only to the 9. That became a Steven Hauschka field goal.

The second red-zone trip was a first and goal at the 8, after Wilson faked a handoff to Robert Turbin then threw 48 yards to wide-open Ricardo Lockette. It was the second-longest reception of Lockette's four-year career, and just his second catch in four games. But then the Cardinals sacked Wilson twice in three plays, two of the five times Arizona dumped Wilson in the first half. Arizona only had 18 sacks in 10 games coming in, part of the reason its pass defense was 29th in the league. So that second red-zone trip also ended with another field goal.

Seattle's third trip to the 20 came after Byron Maxwell intercepted Drew Stanton's far-overthrown pass at midfield midway through the second quarter. Wilson's 40-yard run on a read-option keep would have been a touchdown had Jermaine Kearse not tackled a Cardinals defensive back at the 10 for holding. Wilson got sacked on second down and threw for 1 yard in the flat on third and 16 to create Hauschka's third field and a 9-0 lead.

Arizona went 15 plays on a drive at the end of the half, aided by defensive fouls on Maxwell for illegal contact in downfield coverage and Michael Bennett for offside. But Jaron Brown dropped a sure touchdown pass just inside the goal line on third down as Drew Stanton was being hit as he threw by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who is playing his first game for Seattle in six weeks. Brown's drop forced Arizona to settle for a field goal with 13 seconds left before halftime.

Kevin Williams played a strong first half as a stout, fill-in nose tackle for injured Brandon Mebane. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner has been a spark in the run defense and pass coverage in his first game in six weeks following turf toe. And as a defensive change-up, Seattle is using Richard Sherman in the slot, often on Michael Floyd, most times when Arizona is going 3, 4 and 5 wide.

Lynch was out for two of the drives that first half with a recurrence of his sore lower back. But he did not only jog off the field with his teammates at the start of halftime but skipped into the Seahawks' locker room. Apparently he only stays out when the wind chill is 10 degrees, as it was when he stayed outside at halftime for his back last week at Kansas City.

Arizona's sixth sack of Wilson ended the first Seahawks' drive of the second half.

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