Elite NFL teams are able to win games using a variety of weapons on both sides of the ball.
The Seattle Seahawks are an elite NFL team.
On defense, the Seahawks sacked Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer seven times, while the secondary picked him off twice. On offense, Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 91 yards. It all added up to a well-balanced 34-22 win for the Seahawks, who improved to 6-1, the best start in franchise history.
“This was a really cool night for our football team,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said in his postgame remarks. "We wanted to get on the road here and get this thing done and continue to feel good about our ability to win on the road.”
Seattle had to feel especially good about winning in Arizona, where they had been just 1-6 since the opening of University of Phoenix Stadium, including a loss Wilson’s NFL debut last September.
A strong start helped ensure a better result this time. The Seahawks got a TD on their opening possession for the first time all season with a five-play, 83-yard drive in which Seattle got four first downs. It was capped by a perfectly thrown 31-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice that Wilson executed on the run, a play few quarterbacks can make.
The two hooked up for another ridiculous play later in the game, when Wilson was being dragged down for a sack yet somehow completed a 6-yard pass to Miller to move the chains on third-and-3.
“That was just one of those plays,” Wilson said modestly. He finished the night with 235 yards on 18 of 29 passing and no picks, adding 29 yards on the ground.
The Seahawks defense continued to look like a juggernaut, constantly pressuring Carson Palmer en route to a season high seven sacks. Impressively, those seven sacks came from eight different players.
“The pass rush was crazy tonight,” Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas said. “You can’t ask for anything better than that. Those guys have done a great job all season in the run game and also rushing the passer.”
Thomas himself got in on the fun, picking off a pass in the first quarter on a lunging dive. His legion of boom colleague Brandon Browner was pulled in the second quarter of last week’s win over the Tennessee Titans. He responded with a strong performance, intercepting a pass in the third quarter that he returned to the five yard line, leading to a Marshawn Lynch TD.
“I knew I had to bounce back and play the way I’m capable of playing,” Browner said. “Sometimes it takes a good talking to someone. [Carroll] got his point across and I took it.”
The Seahawks offensive line was the only unit that struggled, giving up five sacks that resulted in two lost fumbles in the red zone, both of which Arizona converted into points. Otherwise, it was a well-rounded victory for Seattle, who enjoys a nice break before their next game, a “Monday Night Football” matchup with their division rival St. Louis Rams on Oct. 28.
Despite the best start in Seattle’s 38-year history, the Seahawks refuse to look ahead.
“You just take one day at a time,” Russell Wilson said of his team’s approach. “Just ignore the noise. The biggest thing for us is staying in the moment.”