The win meant the Seahawks will open the playoffs next weekend at either Washington or Minnesota. That was to be determined by the Sunday night game between Minnesota and Green Bay.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — In a return Sunday to the sight of their heartbreaking Super Bowl loss in February, the Seattle Seahawks looked as ready as possible to make a run at redemption.
The caveat of the Seahawks’ 36-6 rout of the NFC West champ Arizona Cardinals is that the game had little tangible meaning for either side.
Still, the Seahawks wanted to wipe away the bad taste of last week’s surprising home loss to St. Louis and show they are ready for the road tests that lay ahead in the playoffs.
They hardly could have been more emphatic in accomplishing each goal, taking a 30-6 halftime lead and then coasting in a game in which a number of team statistical records were set.
Notably, Russell Wilson became the first Seahawks quarterback throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season (4,024) and tossed three touchdown passes to give him 34 for the year, breaking the team record of 32 set by Dave Krieg in 1984, and rookie Tyler Lockett returned four punts for 139 yards in the first half, setting a team record for punt return yardage in a game.
Seattle also finished the season 10-6, winning 10 or more games for a team record fourth consecutive season.
The Seahawks also finished 5-3 on the road, winning their last five road games after starting 0-3 (two overtime losses).
Seattle coach Pete Carroll had emphasized the importance of playing well on the road as the season wore on, and it became clear the Seahawks were going to begin the postseason on the road.
In Seattle’s past three road games it defeated Minnesota (38-7), Baltimore (35-6) and Arizona.
The win meant the Seahawks will open the playoffs next weekend at either Washington or Minnesota. That was to be determined by the Sunday night game between Minnesota and Green Bay (barring the unlikely possibility of a tie, which would send the Seahawks to Green Bay).
A Vikings win would send the Seahawks to Minnesota, and a Green Bay win means the Seahawks travel to Washington.
The Seahawks looked ready for anything and everything from the start against the Cardinals, stopping Arizona on its first drive and then moving 88 yards on 12 plays to score a touchdown the first time they had the ball.
Bryce Brown scored the touchdown on a 1-yard run.
A Jeremy Lane interception then set up a 52-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka to make it 10-0.
In the only time the crowd really came to life, the Cardinals then responded with an 80-yard drive capped by a 17-yard Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald touchdown.
But Seattle came right back with another 80-yard TD drive, Wilson hitting fullback Will Tukuafu for a 7-yard TD pass that tied him with Krieg for the team record for touchdown passes in a season.
He didn’t need to wait long to break it. A 66-yard Lockett punt return and a facemask penalty moved the ball to the 8-yard line, and on the first play Wilson then tossed a scoring pass to Chase Coffman to make it 24-6 with 3:51 remaining and break Krieg’s record.
The script followed closely a few minutes later when a 42-yard Lockett return led to a 24-yard Wilson to Jermaine Kearse touchdown that made it 30-6 at halftime.
It was the most points Seattle scored in a half since pouring on 38 against the Cardinals in a 58-0 win over Arizona in 2012.
It also continued Seattle’s regular-season domination of the Cardinals in Arizona.
Though Arizona has won 10 games or more in each of Bruce Arians’ three years coaching the Cardinals, he has yet to beat Seattle at home, also losing 34-22 in 2013 and 35-6 in 2014.
The game had potentially no playoff seeding meaning for the Seahawks, but Carroll insisted all week Seattle would play it like a regular game.
That philosophy was evident as Wilson played through the third quarter, handling three series in that quarter even with the Seahawks playing with a large lead and the Cardinals having removed starting quarterback Carson Palmer at halftime.
The Seahawks also got revenge for a 39-32 loss to the Cardinals on Nov. 15 in Seattle, a game that proved pivotal in Arizona winning the NFC West.
Seattle has won six of seven since then, though, scoring 29 or more points in each of the victories, the only loss coming last week against the Rams.