Dec 21, 2014 10:12 PM
Seahawks lead Cardinals 14-3 at halftime
The Associated Press
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Marshawn Lynch bulled in for a 6-yard touchdown run after sitting out the first quarter, helping the Seattle Seahawks build a 14-3 halftime lead over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.
Lynch did not play in the opening quarter because of an upset stomach, but was back in the lineup to start the second. He took a handoff right and fought through a couple of tackles on his scoring run, reaching the ball over the goal line just before going down.
After a defensive-dominated first quarter three combined punts Seattle struck quickly in the second, when Russell Wilson rolled right and threw on the run to Luke Willson, who outran the defense for an 80-yard touchdown.
Wilson hurt the Cardinals with his arm and his legs, throwing for 159 yards and running for 81 more on three carries. Seattle had 305 total yards in the first half, but also 10 penalties for 92 yards.
Arizona had 15 total yards in the first quarter before moving 49 yards to reach Seattle's 4 in the second. The drive stalled, in part because of a false-start penalty, and Matt Catanzaro followed with a 27-yard field goal.
But that was it for the Cardinals, who had 64 total yards in the first half.
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, and were road favorites over the Cardinals in the rematch.
Part of it was because of Arizona's 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 Ryan 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.
Lindley was out of synch early, missing a couple of receivers to kill drives in the first quarter, but made some good throws to set up Catanzaro's field goal. He was 5 for 15 for 54 yards in the first half.
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.
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