Seahawks stymied by Arizona’s D in 17-10 loss

All the Seattle Seahawks needed was another win at home. No big

deal – they already had 14 straight.

But they may have underestimated just how much the Arizona

Cardinals wanted to make the playoffs.

Carson Palmer’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd with

2:13 left gave the Cardinals a 17-10 victory Sunday and kept alive

their hopes for their first playoff appearance since 2009.

It was Seattle’s first loss at home since December 2011. The

Seahawks had been vying to clinch both the NFC West and home-field

advantage with a victory. Now they’ll need San Francisco to lose at

home to Atlanta on Monday night, or a victory at home next week

against the Rams to clinch the top seed.

The Cardinals got the best of the Seahawks because of stout

defense, not necessarily because they were the hungrier team,

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.

”We `must win’ every week. That’s all we understand, and I’m

sure they feel the same way,” Carroll said.

The loss didn’t come without controversy.

On the Seahawks’ possession following Palmer’s touchdown to

Lloyd, Russell Wilson took aim at Doug Baldwin with a deep pass.

The ruling on the field was an interception by Arizona’s Karlos

Dansby, a call that stood despite a review.

Baldwin insisted afterward that the ball hit the ground.

”I don’t think anybody in the stadium had a better view of it

than me,” he said.

Referee Scott Green was asked about the call following the game,

saying, ”We didn’t have disputable evidence that it hit the ground

and therefore we went with the call as it was made on the field,

which was an interception.”

Carroll also challenged a ruling earlier in the quarter over

whether Arizona running back Rashard Mendenhall fumbled on a series

that led to field goal for the Cardinals to put them up 9-3. The

call on the field in that case also stood.

”You never want to blame the officials, you just don’t want to

let it get to that point,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. ”You

just keep grinding and keep pushing it through until something good

happens.”

Arizona was the team grinding harder on Sunday and the result

was its first victory in Seattle since 2009.

The Panthers defeated the New Orleans Saints 17-13 earlier

Sunday, meaning the Cardinals needed to beat the Seahawks in

Seattle to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Cardinals fell to the Seahawks 34-22 in Week 7. The last

time the Seahawks hosted Arizona, they handed the Cardinals their

most lopsided loss in franchise history – a 58-0 blanking to cap a

nine-game losing streak.

”Any time you come on the road and the team beats you 58-0 and

you have to come back to their place, it lingers to the back of

your head,” Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. ”If

you got any pride in any game of football, when a team beats you by

58, you know you think about it and it’s stuck on you.”

That memory is now replaced by Arizona handing Seattle its first

home loss since Dec. 24, 2011, against San Francisco.

Arizona kept Wilson off-balance for his first loss at home.

Wilson completed 11 of 27 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. He

also had the final-series interception. It was his first home loss

since he was at North Carolina State.

”I thought it was one of those games where we were just an inch

off here or there for whatever reason,” he said.

The defense helped Arizona overcome a sloppy performance from

Palmer, who was intercepted four times. He was Kam Chancellor

picked him off in the end zone on Arizona’s opening drive. He was

picked off by Malcolm Smith in Seattle territory in the second

quarter, and twice threw interceptions into Richard Sherman’s

arms.

But Palmer was fantastic on Arizona’s decisive drive. It started

with a third-down completion as he was about to get sandwiched by

Clinton McDonald, flipping a pass to Jake Ballard for 17 yards. The

drive was kept going when Smith was flagged for defensive holding

on a third-down incompletion.

On third-and-6, Palmer dropped a perfect throw beyond cornerback

Byron Maxwell and into Floyd’s hands. He juggled it at first but

controlled the ball as he hit the turf.

Mendenhall scored easily on the 2-point conversion with 2:13

left.

The Seahawks had taken over the lead with Wilson’s 11-yard

touchdown pass to Zach Miller with 7:26 to go. The extra point was

blocked, but the Cardinals were flagged for an illegal formation.

Steven Hauschka converted the second attempt.

Before that, the Seahawks went three-and-out seven times. Wilson

was sacked four times. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 71 yards, but

Seattle had just 22:36 time of possession.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org