November 19, 2014

Top 10: Seahawks Beat Cardinals!

The Hawks have played the nomadic Cardinals 30 times over the years, but none of those match-ups were as important as this upcoming Sunday's "Last Stand" at Seahawks Stadium. A win would keep Seattle alive in both the NFC West and Wild Card races, while a loss would erase any hope of a divisional title and push the Hawks to the brink of playoff elimination. Oddly, our rivalry with the Cardinals has never approached the intensity of our battles with the Rams in the mid-00s or our current blood feud with Santa Clara. That's partially due to circumstance: We've rarely been good at the same time. On top of that, the games themselves have tended toward not being particularly memorable. Since Seattle joined the NFC West in 2002, they're 13-11 against Arizona (Before that? 1-5 against STL/Phoenix/Arizona). Here's the ten most noteworthy/memorable Seattle wins over the Cardinals. Enjoy! 

The 98-degree heat at Sun Devil Stadium didn't seem to faze the Seahawks, as they ran out to a 24-0 half-time lead and cruised to an easy shut out win. Darrell Jackson only caught 3 passes, but they accounted for 133 yards and 2 TDs. The defense forced six turnovers and scored on a Randall Godfrey fumble return. This would be Seattle's last road win of 2003 until the season finale at Candlestick Park (The Hawks went 8-0 at home and 2-7 on the road in '03, including the playoffs).

This was our first ever win over the Cards, after five losses from 1976-1995. Shawn Springs and Willie Williams both took Jake Plummer INTs all the way back for scores, Ricky Watters gashed the Cards for 116 yards from scrimmage, and Michael Sinclair notched 2.5 of Seattle's 7 sacks.

Odd coda: Arizona would recover to go 9-5 down the stretch, make the playoffs, and beat NFC East (huh?) rivals Dallas in the Wild Card game. The Seahawks? Um, well... there was that Phantom Touchdown later on, but overall they went 6-8 over the remainder of 1998 and got Dennis Erickson canned.  

I have to confess that the only reason this one made the list was because I happened to be at the game. Otherwise it was a fairly forgettable affair, beyond the charity of a close friend: 

There was a lone hopeful event that boosted my spirits, however- Given that my only Seahawks jersey was a Matt Hasselbeck model, I needed to get a new one on my visit out to Seattle. I decided that I would take advantage of the deal being offered at the Seahawks Stadium Pro Shop: Turn in any old Seahawks jersey and get 25% off a new one. For me, that meant I'd have to part with my #8, and give up the dream that I'd wear it someday to his Ring of Honor ceremony. It was a sad thing to contemplate, but given that I'm not exactly flush with cash right now, it seemed like a necessary sacrifice. 

That was until my close friend Katie stepped in and said (as I remember it) "No way. You LOVED Hasselbeck, and I remember you defending him when I was crapping all over him- You explained to me what he meant to this team- There's no way I'm letting you trade that in." 

She offered up her own old Julius Jones jersey, and I ended up getting my SWEET new Earl Thomas jersey at a discounted price. She also reminded me that blind optimism is pretty much my best quality as a Seahawks fan- Her gesture re-energized me for Sunday's game. 

The 2010 Seahawks only won 7 games on their way to the NFC West title, and two of them were against Arizona. In the October game at Seattle, Marshawn Lynch ground out 89 yards on 24 carries, while Big Mike Williams snared 11 catches for 87 yards and the Hawks' lone touchdown. A few weeks later BMW completed his dominance of the Cards with ANOTHER 11 catches for 145 yards. Matt Hasselbeck had one of his last great games, completing 24 of 33 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown. 

In two games against Arizona in 2005, Shaun Alexander rushed for 313 yards a SIX touchdowns! Four of those scores came in the September matchup in Seattle, which was actually fairly competitive until the Hawks pulled away in the 4th. The Seahawks defense contributed 3 sacks, two takeaways, and kept the Cardinals out of the endzone for the full 60.

Rightly so, the rematch in Tempe is remembered for Shaun Alexander's 88-yard TD scamper and 173-yard, 2-TD overall performance. But it's easy to forget that for a moment it looked like the Seahawks would implode. A 27-9 lead got whittled down to 27-19 in the 4th, but thankfully the league MVP salted the victory away with another touchdown. This was the moment where Shaun Alexander became a legitimate MVP candidate in the eyes of the national football press.  

Seattle knew that with one win over their final two games in 2004, they'd make the playoffs. Up to that point, 2004 had been an absolute nightmare for Twelves: The blown 17-point 4th quarter lead to the Rams, the MNF collapse v Dallas, and an embarrassing blowout home loss to Buffalo had scarred the Twelve Army badly. Still, they were on the verge of the playoffs, which was a very novel experience for Hawks fans still stung by The Forgotten Years.

For any other fan base, Shaun Alexander's 4th quarter TD to put Seattle up 24-7 would have been cause for celebration, but we all were waiting for the terrible rain of anvils, and it looked like we'd all get splattered into oblivion when the Cardinals pulled within three late. Frankly, Trent Dilfer had an awful day subbing for Matt Hasselbeck: 10-26 for 128 yards and an INT. But on a key 3rd down late in the 4th quarter, he somehow outraced multiple Arizona defenders to the first down marker, allowing Seattle to kneel their way to a wayyy-too-stressful victory and a playoff berth.

The most dominant win in team history. Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin both topped 100 yards rushing, and Seattle racked up 284 total yards rushing. The defense not only shut out the Cardinals, they outscored them with Richard Sherman's interception return TD (one of EIGHT Seattle takeaways). As I wrote back then: 

Today's 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals was less like a football game, and more like that scene in Drive where Ryan Gosling's character doesn't just disarm a mob gun thug or even merely kill him. He stomps on that fucker's head so many times that it ended up resembling a watermelon from Gallagher's act, and he's left splattered in the blood and brains of his murdered foe. THAT is what the Seahawks did to Arizona.

Arizona came into this one needing a win to pull within one game of Seattle for the NFC West lead. The Seahawks would clinch a 4th consecutive NFC West title with a victory. They wouldn't blow the opportunity, jumping out to a 24-0 lead before cruising to an easy victory. Kurt Warner threw for 337 yards and 3 TDs, but was also picked (and sacked) 5 times. Hasselbeck tossed 4 TDs, and Marcus Trufant delivered the death blow with an 84-yard pick six in the final quarter. 

As for this Sunday? It'll occupy the top spot on the next version of this list. Seahawks 29, Cardinals 22. 

What do you think, sirs? 

1 comment:

it's all in D Hans said...

"Tough times don’t last. But tough people do." -- Marshawn "Money" Lynch

This type of mentality is why the Seahawks will gut out a victory at home on Sunday.

The LOB will make a reappearance which will make everyone (that is not a 12) turn their heads and say "What!?!" They will feast on the Cards pathetic run game and make Stanton look like a riverboat gambler on a losing streak.

Russel Wilson will pass for 200+ yards, Beast will get 100 too, and we will absolutely dominate time of possession to win this game.