Updated Monday, December 10, 2012 at 02:31 AM
The biggest victory in Seahawks history ended with their backup quarterback taking a knee and letting the final 10 seconds run off the clock.
It was as close as Arizona came to a stop against Seattle during the Seahawks' 58-0 victory at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
It may not have been the most important victory in team history, and it certainly was not the most dramatic, but in 37 seasons of Seahawks football, there has never been a bigger win when it comes to the final score.
"A nice reward," coach Pete Carroll said. "Sometimes you get a chance to win big like that."
It's not usually like that, though. At least not for Seattle, which had scored 57 points in the first three games combined and had nine of its 12 games this season decided by seven points or fewer.
On Sunday, that same Seahawks team went out and scored 58 points, the most in franchise history and the second-most for any NFL team this season. In a season full of nail-biters, this was a laugher with 67,685 witnesses at CenturyLink Field.
"When you play a complete game and all three phases are doing very well, things like that can happen," defensive end Chris Clemons said.
The Seahawks' defense outscored Arizona, with cornerback Richard Sherman returning a second-quarter interception 19 yards for a touchdown.
Seattle's special teams also outscored the Cardinals, linebacker Malcolm Smith recovering a muffed punt in the end zone less than 4 minutes later.
Arizona turned the ball over eight times — including six in the first half — and never advanced the ball farther than Seattle's 37-yard line in a game that had Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt apologizing for his team's performance.
Meanwhile, it was reason for Seattle to exhale, at least for one afternoon.
"They don't get no better than that," defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said. "We went out and played, we executed, and that was all-around probably one of the best performances I've seen since I've been with this team."
That's saying something. Mebane is one of three Seahawks on the 53-man roster whose tenure dates to 2007 when the Seahawks went 10-6. That was Seattle's last winning season.
The Seahawks are 8-5, assuring they won't finish with a losing record for a fifth successive season. And this time, Seattle found a way to win without any doubts.
"We've been having a lot of close battles this whole year," safety Earl Thomas said. "It just feels great when you get a win and you don't really have to fight. We just stayed disciplined the whole game and really didn't give them any life."
Running back Marshawn Lynch rushed for 128 yards and scored three touchdowns. Rookie Robert Turbin ran for 108 yards, giving Seattle two triple-digit rushers in the same game for the first time since October 2005.
It was a game so lopsided that quarterback Russell Wilson attempted only 13 passes and didn't set foot on the field during the final 25 minutes of regulation, leaving the game with Seattle leading 45-0.
After wondering how good the Seahawks might be for the first three-quarters of the season, Seattle provided a concrete illustration of its potential, winning its first division game of the season with a performance that was more than just merely convincing.
"We've never put up that many points," Clemons said, "but we've had games where we played a complete game as far as all three phases. We just have to go out — each and every week — and stay consistent. And that's the thing we're shooting for now is the consistency."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Coach Pete Carroll netted his first eight-win regular season in three years with the Seahawks, and this was the most points scored in franchise history.|
|Most points by Seahawks|
|58||Dec. 9, 2012 vs. Arizona|
|56||Oct. 30, 1977 vs. Buffalo|
|51||Nov. 27, 1983 vs. Kansas City|
|49||Sept. 15, 1985 vs. San Diego|
|Biggest NFL shutouts|
|The Seahawks were within one point of the record for the biggest shutout in the modern NFL (since the AFL-NFL merger).|
|59-0||2009, Patriots def. Titans|
|59-0||1976, Rams def. Falcons|
|58-0||2012, Seahawks def. Cardinals|
JOHN FROSCHAUER / AP
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 128 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns.
DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Malcolm Smith (53) watches a muffed punt fall into his hands for a touchdown, giving the Seahawks a 31-0 lead midway through a first half that had six Arizona turnovers.
DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Seattle's K.J. Wright, right, pops the ball away from Larry Fitzgerald, leading to a Bobby Wagner interception.