SEATTLE -- Kurt Warner was back to throwing with MVP-like precision. Larry Fitzgerald was dominating again, catching everything near him. The defense was swarming, putting the Arizona Cardinals back to the top of the mild NFC West after early-season mediocrity.
Determining whether the defending conference champions are back to elite status comes next.
|More Cardinals-Seahawks links|
"We just need to keep building. We're still not there yet," Warner said.
Before Seattle knew what hit it, Warner led Arizona to a 17-point lead. He ended up completing 32 of 41 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-3 victory Sunday.
Warner tied an NFL record for being the fastest to throw for 30,000 yards in a career. Fitzgerald tied his career high with 13 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown.
And, as defensive tackle Darnell Dockett put it, the Cardinals "whupped" the third and fourth stringers on the Seahawks' injured offensive line.
Armed with the big early lead, the Cardinals (3-2) bracketed receivers, teed off for five sacks on Matt Hasselbeck and held Seattle (2-4) to its fewest points in a home game since 2002. They also showed the Seahawks how far they have to go to return to the top of a division they ruled from 2004-07.
"It kind of puts things in perspective," Seattle wide receiver Nate Burleson said, solemnly.
Arizona led 14-0 before Seattle's offense ran its first play 12 minutes into the first quarter. That was after a 15-play, 11-minute opening drive on which Warner completed all nine throws -- the last a 2-yard touchdown to Fitzgerald -- and after the Seahawks failed to cover the ensuing pooch kickoff by Neil Rackers. That set up a 2-yard run by Tim Hightower.
The first quarter ended with Seattle's renowned crowd roasting its home team. Arizona outgained Seattle 128-3 and held the ball for all but 43 seconds of the period.
"And that was all she wrote," Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell said.
Campbell sacked Hasselbeck and forced a fumble as Arizona held Seattle, which romped 41-0 over Jacksonville last week, to 128 yards. That is tied for seventh lowest in Seattle's 34-year history. The Seahawks ran 11 times for 14 yards, their poorest rushing day ever.
The Cardinals are tied atop the NFC West with idle San Francisco. Now it's on to a truer test, at the Giants. New York has its own proving to do after losing its first game of the season to scorching New Orleans.
"Oh, that game is huge," Fitzgerald said. "It's really going to be an opportunity to see where we're at."
Added Dockett: "We better start focusing on New York. I honestly feel they are a much better team -- no disrespect to Seattle."
The Seahawks won't notice. They have enough to worry about.
Three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu is out for the season because of a torn left pectoral muscle. He appeared to get hurt while tackling Fitzgerald in the second quarter.
"Terrible, terrible news," fellow captain Hasselbeck said.
Hasselbeck threw for four touchdown passes in his return from broken ribs last week, but completed just 10 of 29 throws for 112 yards Sunday. The 34 percent completion rate was his lowest since 2004, also in a loss to Arizona.
He was sacked five times behind an offensive line missing three injured starters.
"At some point it seemed like he wasn't even looking at his receivers," Dockett said, describing Hasselbeck as "bailing out" against the onslaught. "I'm going to make no excuses that they had backup offensive linemen. They got out there and they got whupped."
The Seahawks' offense went three-and-out five times against the Cardinals, who are taking fewer risks under new coordinator Bill Davis, but looked as aggressive as ever to the besieged Seahawks. Two of Seattle's drives totaled negative yardage.
After catching a pass while on the ground after tripping in the first quarter, Fitzgerald soared above Ken Lucas, who was playing two days after burying his father in Mississippi, for a 19-yard catch late in the third quarter. That had the crowd gasping.
"That guy's remarkable," coach Jim Mora said. "You can be draped all over him, and he still makes the catch. ... He just amazes me."'
- Steve Breaston outjumped CB Kelly Jennings for a 16-yard TD pass from Warner to put Arizona up 24-3 late in the third quarter. That tied Warner with Dan Marino as the fastest to reach 30,000 yards passing. They did it in their 114th career game. Peyton Manning did it in 115.
- Seattle's best pass wasn't even Hasselbeck's. Jon Ryan faked a punt and shot putted a pass to wide-open TE John Carlson for a 42-yard gain. That led to a 28-yard field goal by Olindo Mare.