Seahawks vs. Cardinals score: Russell Wilson survives early defensive onslaught by Arizona to avoid sweep

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What began as a defensive stalemate in the first half ended as anything but, with both the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks coming alive in the second half, but it was Pete Carroll getting the best of Kliff Kingsbury with a 28-21 win in the Pacific Northwest. The first quarter saw only one touchdown scored between both usually high-powered clubs led by MVP candidates in Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray, but things ratcheted up in the second quarter when both Wilson and Murray turned on the stove -- the latter helping the Cardinals tie the game before the former hit Tyler Lockett on an 11-yard toss to remind everyone he can cook, too. 

They'd miss the extra point attempt though, and in a game this close, that loomed largely, but wound up not mattering because it was forgiven by a fourth-quarter safety fueled by a controversial offensive holding penalty in the end zone by J.R. Sweezy. That gave the Seahawks a four-point lead and some much-needed breathing room, after seeing Murray connect with running back Chase Edmonds for a wide-open touchdown that shrank the Cardinals deficit to only two-points to start the fourth session. 

In the end, and despite the Cardinals landing three sacks on Wilson -- who's night was more efficient than it was eye-popping -- the Seahawks avoid the 2020 sweep in the series and regain the No. 1 seat in the NFC West.

Why the Seahawks won

Perseverance. 

Russell Wilson was sacked on the first play from scrimmage and a second time in the first quarter. He was hit a total of eight times on the night and still found a way to make the plays that needed to be made, and precisely when the Seahawks needed them most. His stat line won't make anyone write home to mother on Monday morning, but he was extremely efficient and, most importantly, he didn't give the ball away -- despite having two fumbles to his register (one being a bad connection on a snap). After throwing a combined four interceptions in the last two games, he avoided giving the Cardinals one, but instead hung two timely touchdowns on their neck, often using his mobility to keep the pass rush honest in the second half.

To that point, he added 42 rushing yards on 10 carries to his bottom line -- more than Kenyan Drake delivered for Arizona (29). And to make things that much more difficult for the Cardinals defense, Wilson made sure Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf weren't the only ones seeing targets. The contest began with an air of jeopardy for Wilson but wound up being a wheel of fortune. 

Why the Cardinals lost

If you can't force Wilson into giving the ball away, it'll probably be a long day.

It's not simply that the Cardinals couldn't get the suddenly turnover-prone quarterback to lob them a gift, but there were also mistakes made in the second half that helped nudge the Seahawks closer and closer to victory. The biggest will be a controversial one debated from now until eternity, namely the aforementioned holding penalty that led to a safety and extended the Seahawks lead to four points, which then turned into seven points when Seattle added a field goal with under seven minutes to play in regulation -- the free two points becoming quite a big deal when you also factor how the Seahawks missed an extra point in the first half. In a game that was close throughout, every point matters, as the Cardinals were reminded. 

Down seven with not much time remaining to steal the win, all eyes went to Murray and DeAndre Hopkins to see if they could mount another mystical comeback win in the waning seconds of a game for the second time in only five days. Hopkins had been bottled up for most of the game though, and it wasn't the perennial All-Pro getting the downfield targets on the Cardinals' final drive. Instead, Murray found himself constantly under duress as he tossed passes to Larry Fitzgerald and Andy Isabella, both being off just enough to set up the play that would nail Arizona's coffin shut: Carlos Dunlap burying Murray on fourth down to split the series at 1-1 and put the Seahawks back atop the division.

Turning Point

This safety thrust all of the remaining momentum into the lap of the Seahawks.

Play of the Game

Carlos Dunlap is out of Cincinnati and closing coffins.

Dunlap called 'game' 

"Wow -- walk-off sack!!! Carlos Dunlap." - NFL insider Jay Glazer

What's next

The Cardinals will look to bounce back when they visit the New England Patriots in Week 12, while the Seahawks travel across the country to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Check out the live blog below for highlights and analysis from the final regular season clash between these two fiery rivals.

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THU 8:20 P
SEA -3, o57
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SEA -3, O/U 57

Season Leaders

passing
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K. Murray 3971 YD, 26 TDS, 12 INTS
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K. Murray 3971 YD, 26 TDS, 12 INTS
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R. Wilson 4212 YD, 40 TDS, 13 INTS
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R. Wilson 4212 YD, 40 TDS, 13 INTS
rushing
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K. Drake 239 ATT, 955 YD, 10 TDS
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K. Drake 239 ATT, 955 YD, 10 TDS
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C. Carson 141 ATT, 681 YD, 5 TDS
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C. Carson 141 ATT, 681 YD, 5 TDS
receiving
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D. Hopkins 115 REC, 1407 YD, 6 TDS
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D. Hopkins 115 REC, 1407 YD, 6 TDS
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D. Metcalf 83 REC, 1303 YD, 10 TDS
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D. Metcalf 83 REC, 1303 YD, 10 TDS
Live updates
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This was the game I thought the Seahawks had to have in the division -- not just to win it, but to get home-field advantage in the NFC. Seahawks may be in the drivers seat now, getting vengeance on a team that beat them earlier in the year.

November 20, 2020, 4:38 AM

Signature moment for Carlos Dunlap in his Seahawks tenure. Brings down Murray on fourth down to clinch the win for Seattle. Huge win for the Seahawks here. Very well could be in the driver's seat in the NFC West.

@Seahawks via Twitter
November 20, 2020, 4:33 AM

Diggs should have come down with that pass by Murray to Fitzgerald in the end zone. Hit him in the hands. Should have been the kill shot.

@AZCardinals via Twitter
November 20, 2020, 4:23 AM

There's the stop and Murray will get the ball down 28-21 with 2:19 to go. First place in the NFC West on the line.

November 20, 2020, 4:21 AM

The Seahawks have a 3rd-and-18. Just get a defensive stop and get the ball back after the field goal. Arizona will lose a time out here.

November 20, 2020, 4:19 AM

I like to say Arizona has this, but there's nothing here to overturn this call at the moment. I don't like this challenge by Kingsbury with all these time outs in their pocket.

November 20, 2020, 4:18 AM

Seattle at least has a FG here, but they are a first down away from forcing Arizona to use its timeouts.

November 20, 2020, 4:15 AM

That's a huge conversion by the Seahawks, who can put this game away with a TD. Wilson hasn't turned the ball over tonight, which has been big for Seattle.

November 20, 2020, 4:10 AM

Hold in the end zone leads to a safety and gives the Seahawks a four-point lead -- and the ball. What a weird game as Murray just needed to drive the Cardinals to FG range for an opportunity to take the lead.

November 20, 2020, 4:02 AM
@Seahawks via Twitter
November 20, 2020, 4:01 AM

Here is Murray's chance to give the Cardinals the lead, which Arizona hasn't done in this game yet. Sound familiar?

November 20, 2020, 3:59 AM

Have to give Kyler Murray credit. Running lane taken away and he's still 24-of-32 for 228 yards with 2 TD and a 115.1 passer rating. That's what the top QBs do and he certainly is on his way to becoming one.

November 20, 2020, 3:56 AM

Greg Olsen is down on the field.

Seattle tried to throw the kitchen sink at Murray and he took full advantage. Chase Edmonds was as wide open as you can be. Looks like we're in for another exciting finish.

@AZCardinals via Twitter
November 20, 2020, 3:43 AM
@AZCardinals via Twitter
November 20, 2020, 3:40 AM

Both of these teams have played undisciplined at times. They'll make some nice plays, but always seem to take a few steps back with penalties.

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