Sunday night unfolded just as many thought it would.
The Arizona Cardinals gave the Seattle Seahawks all they had, but in the end, the defending Super Bowl champions were just too tough.
It didn’t help that third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley was facing arguably the best defense in football.
“(Give credit) to Bruce Arians,” Comcast SportsNet NFL insider Clifton Brown said on Ferrall on the Bench. “(He) has really maxed out what the Cardinals have been able to do with all the injuries they had. But there comes a point where it gets to be too much.”
That point came Sunday night in Glendale. Arizona (11-4) trailed by just one score entering the fourth quarter, but Seattle (11-4) took complete control in the final frame, scoring three touchdowns in a 35-6 win. It was the Cardinals’ first home loss of the season.
Seattle, meanwhile, won its fifth straight game – and did so in dominating fashion. The Seahawks gained a franchise-record 596 total yards, including 427 by Russell Wilson, who finished 20-of-31 for 339 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also carried six times for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Seattle limited Arizona to 216 yards, including 29 yards on the ground, and sacked Lindley four times.
The Seahawks have held four of their last five opponents to seven points or fewer.
“Right now, I think (the Seahawks are) back on the type of roll that could get them back to another Super Bowl,” Brown said.
And not just this season.
The Seahawks announced Friday that they signed defensive end Cliff Avril to a four-year contract extension, meaning Seattle’s defense should be strong for years to come. The offense, however, could be a bit of a question mark. After trading away several receivers in recent years, the Seahawks rely heavily on Marshawn Lynch to move the chains and score points.
Well, Lynch is in a contract year. He also turns 29 in April.
Will the Seahawks extend him?
“I think it’s just so tough to pay running backs big money when they get around Lynch’s age,” Brown said. “He’s a great player, no question. But I do think this could be his last year in Seattle. I give the guy credit, though, because after all the controversy early in the season, he’s really come back and played like Marshawn Lynch. Between the lines, this guy really gets the job done. Late in games, he wears defenses down. Nobody seems like they want a piece of this guy trying to tackle him one-on-one. And he’s still a big part of their offense.”
Lynch carried 10 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona. His 79-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter made it 28-6 and essentially iced the game.
Still, it’ll be tough for Seattle to give him a player-friendly extension.
“I just think running backs, when they get to a certain age, teams are so reluctant to pay them big money because they figure they’re going to decline quickly,” Brown said. “So this could be his swan song in Seattle – but it could end with another Super Bowl.”