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Dec 21, 2014 9:10 PM

Seahawks, Cardinals trade punts in first quarter

The Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals were scoreless in a defensive-dominated first quarter in their NFC West showdown Sunday night.

As was expected in game between two of the NFL's best defenses, neither team could get much going offensively, with three punts between them.

Seattle started the game without running back Marshawn Lynch, who was on the sideline with an upset stomach. His replacement, Robert Turbin, had a couple of nice runs on the opening drive, but the Seahawks were forced to punt.

Seattle crossed midfield on its second drive, but that also ended in a punt.

Ryan Lindley, Arizona's fourth quarterback this season, was off-target on consecutive throws on the Cardinals' opening drive, leading to a punt.

The Cardinals escaped poor field position late in the quarter thanks to a pass interference penalty on Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell, but had to punt when Lindley overthrew his receiver. Arizona had 15 total yards in the first quarter.

A packed house of towel-waving fans filled University of Phoenix Stadium for one of the biggest games in Arizona history.

The Cardinals, despite a litany of injuries, had already clinched a playoff berth and could clinch the NFC West and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win possibly all the way to the Super Bowl back here in February.

The Seahawks, arguably the NFL's hottest team, would inch closer to winning the NFC West with a victory in the desert, though still would likely need to beat St. Louis at home to clinch. The defending Super Bowl champions locked up a playoff spot with a win by Dallas and Philadelphia's loss.

The Seahawks won the first game between the teams, 19-3 in Seattle on Nov. 23.

Part of it was because of the injuries, particularly at quarterback.

Drew Stanton, who replaced injured Carson Palmer, was under center for that game, but he is out with a right knee injury, leaving the Cardinals in the hands of Lindley.

Signed from San Diego's practice squad, Lindley threw 10 passes in relief of Stanton in last week's 12-6 win over St. Louis and got the starting nod over rookie Logan Thomas against Seattle.

The Seahawks have rounded into form at the end of the season, riding four-game winning streak in Sunday's game behind the NFL's No. 1 defense.

Seattle allowed 27 total points and an average of 188 yards per game during its streak, with 16 sacks.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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