By TIM BOOTH, Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — It was a flashback performance for the Seattle Seahawks, and coach Pete Carroll enjoyed the show.
A bruising running game. Russell Wilson making plays without being asked to do everything. And the Seahawks defense coming through in key moments to shut down Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals for a 28-21 win Thursday night.
Wilson still did his part, throwing for two touchdowns and rebounding from his worst performance of the season just a few days ago. But he had help in the form of Carlos Hyde rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown, and a defense that sacked Murray three times, including Carlos Dunlap’s clinching play inside the final minute.
“Our guys really wanted to turn things and get back on track,” Carroll said. “And even with all of the situations, with all the guys in and out in the lineup and all that, it just didn’t matter. Guys played really well across the board.”
Wilson was flawless, erasing the mistakes from the past four weeks when Seattle dropped three of four, including losses in the past two weeks to Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams. The skid left Seattle in a tie atop the NFC West with the Rams and Cardinals.
For a few days at least, Seattle (7-3) will be back on top alone until the Rams play on Monday night against Tampa Bay. It was an important victory for the Seahawks heading into the softest part of their schedule, with four upcoming games against teams with a combined 8-28-1 record.
Wilson was 23 of 28 for 197 yards and TD passes of 25 yards to DK Metcalf and 11 yards to Tyler Lockett in the first half. Wilson had committed 10 turnovers in the previous four games combined, a stretch that started with Seattle’s 37-34 overtime loss to Arizona in Week 7.
Lockett, who had 15 catches for 200 yards and three TDs in the first meeting with Arizona, had another nine catches for 67 yards.
But the biggest boost for Seattle was the return of its run game. Hyde had a 2-yard TD run in the third quarter, and Seattle finished with 165 yards rushing.
“It helped balance our offense out today,” Hyde said. “We was able to hit passes, run the ball, move down the field. You know, how we play.”
Murray and DeAndre Hopkins couldn’t rekindle the magic from their last-second touchdown to beat Buffalo last Sunday. Murray was 29 of 42 for 269 yards and two TDs, but Seattle was able to get the kind of pressure on the QB that was missing from the first meeting.
“They definitely played for me in certain situations but like I said, we put up 21, had a chance to win the game at the end, but throughout the game, we started slow and kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Murray said.
And that pressure came through in the closing seconds. On fourth-and-10 at the Seattle 27 with 38 seconds left, Dunlap got around the edge and tackled Murray for his second sack of the night. Seattle finished with three sacks and seven QB hits after not touching Murray in the first meeting.
“(Pete) was fired up. He almost tackled me on the sideline. That was crazy to see a head coach that involved,” Dunlap said.
Arizona (6-4) closed to 23-21 with 13:19 left when Murray capped a 15-play, 90-yard drive with a 3-yard TD pass to Chase Edmonds. The Cardinals defense held, but backed up near their goal line, J.R. Sweezy was called for holding on L.J. Collier in the end zone, giving Seattle a safety with 9:12 left.
Arizona almost didn’t get the ball back. Seattle ran nearly seven minutes off the clock and Jason Myers’ 41-yard field goal gave the Seahawks a 28-21 lead with 2:19 to go.
Arizona lost starting safety Jalen Thompson in the closing seconds of the first half with a right leg injury. Thompson had to be helped off the field and onto a cart, putting no weight on the leg.
Seattle TE Greg Olsen tumbled to the ground early in the fourth quarter with a left foot injury. Olsen went down before contact and was helped off the field without putting weight on the leg. Carroll said the team believes Olsen tore the fascia in his foot. Seattle also lost right tackle Brandon Shell in the fourth quarter to a sprained ankle.
Hopkins became the youngest player in league history to reach 700 career receptions with his lone catch in the first half. Hopkins, 28, bettered the previous record held by his teammate, Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was just past his 29th birthday when he reached 700 catches.
But Hopkins was limited to five catches for 51 yards. Fitzgerald led Arizona with eight receptions.
Wilson is the fifth QB since the merger in 1970 to post 30 or more TD passes and a passer rating of 110 or higher over the first 10 games of a season. The previous four all went on to win the MVP award — Patrick Mahomes (2018), Peyton Manning (2013), Aaron Rodgers (2011) and Tom Brady (2007).