This might have been the best awful game in the history of the NFL.
Or was it the worst great game ever?
It was a game neither defense deserved to lose and neither offense deserved to win.
And in the end, everybody came off the field looking pained by the wretched indecisiveness of a 6-6 tie in a game that had the intensity of a four-hour bar fight — along with an equal absence of finesse.
It was so close so often that nobody left without disappointment.
Both kickers had easy chances to win in overtime and neither did.
Both defenses proved themselves worthy of consideration among the best in the league. How, after all, could each unit continue to make huge play after play while carrying around their offenses for 75 minutes of play?
The Cardinal defense at least got to rest a bit as the Arizona offense held the ball for 46 minutes.
The Seahawks’ defenders were out there for more than three-fourths of a regulation game, with guys like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas and K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner and a handful of others showing unrelenting competitive stamina.
But all night at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the Seahawks’ offensive line was so vastly outmatched by the Cardinal defenders that Seattle finished regulation with just 130 yards of offense — and 90 yards of penalties.
Their only scoring drive in 60 minutes of regulation came after a Tanner McEvoy blocked punt, when the Hawks “marched” zero yards on four plays to register the tying field goal.
While the Cardinals, behind rugged back David Johnson (33 rushes for 113 yards), picked up 443 yards, the Hawks repeatedly came up with plays to keep them from scoring.
At 4-1-1, the Seahawks are still in control of the NFC West, and remain among the league elite, as no other team is without a loss.
But how far can they go this season when they need the defense and special teams to generate their points?
A reality is that they won’t face defenses as challenging as the Cardinals’ every week.
Maybe it was because this game was played on the field where Marshawn Lynch had one of his great runs, a 79-yard score when he ran through and around and over the entire Arizona defense in December 2014, that his absence was so evident.
On so many of their possessions Sunday night, it seemed that the Seahawks needed somebody to pick them up and carry them, to inspire them with that kind of a terrific play, to beat down the opponent with the force of their will.
But there is no Marshawn Lynch on this offense. Quarterback Russell Wilson again played well down the stretch to move them into position to win, but he’s still not fully himself, recovering from leg injuries.
Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse came up with timely plays, too. Just not enough. It cost them on Sunday night.
Fans will note that the Seahawks had won every time they’ve worn the dingy uniforms they call “wolf gray.” At least they still haven’t lost.
On this night, though, their defense once again played with the ferocity of a wolf pack, but the offense was merely the ghostly apparition of productive units from the past.
Maybe if you look hard, you can find a winner in this game.
The NFC West once again has a marquee rivalry.
And maybe even the fans of these two teams will be more energized by the rivalry.
Surely, this game was memorable for the way two teams battled their way through an exhausting night.
Both teams could be better for this experience. It revealed a great deal about the qualities of each team.
It sure gives fans on both sides something to look forward to when these teams meet again in Seattle on Christmas Eve.