Rebounding from a horrific start, the Seahawks overcame 14 points gifted to the Cardinals and hung on late for a 38-30 upset win to close out the 2021 season on a winning note.
Which plays proved most critical to Seattle's Week 18 victory at State Farm Stadium?
First quarter: Russell Wilson 43-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett
The first possession of the game for the Seahawks ended in disaster, as the Cardinals strip-sacked Russell Wilson and ran it back for a touchdown. Thus, Seattle trailed just 12 seconds into the game. Wilson and the offense responded with a key touchdown drive to start the scoring for their side, however. The star quarterback found Tyler Lockett on one of his signature deep passes for a game-tying 43-yard touchdown, capping a five-play, 75-yard drive to even the score.
Third quarter: Andy Lee fumbles snap on punt attempt, recovered by Cody Thompson
Following a sack by Kerry Hyder sack on third down, the Cardinals lined up to punt on 4th and 25 from their own 22-yard line. Seeing running back Travis Homer closing in, punter Andy Lee opted not to punt the ball and as he tried to scramble, he lost the football. After recovering, Homer caught him from behind and knocked the ball out again, with Thompson recovering the fumble at the Arizona 10-yard line. This was a big swing in momentum, as the game was tied at 24 at the time. This gave the Seahawks a very short field with an opportunity to break the tie and take the lead.
Fourth quarter: Russell Wilson four-yard touchdown run
The Seahawks did not waste their big opportunity with excellent field position. On 3rd and Goal from the Arizona four-yard line, Wilson scrambled left and dove for the end zone, running through the tackle attempt by safety Budda Baker and scoring his second rushing touchdown of the season. This gave Seattle a 31-24 lead with 13 minutes left in the game. The fumbled punt changed the entire complexion of the game, allowing Seattle to take the lead with a short 10-yard drive.
Fourth quarter: Rashaad Penny 62-yard touchdown run
The Cardinals kicked a field goal to bring the game within four points at 31-27 with under 6:30 to go in regulation. Seattle needed a touchdown drive to seal the win. On 2nd and 8 from the Seahawks' own 38-yard line, Penny took the handoff and went off like a cannon ball shot up the middle, hardly being touched on his way to a 62-yard touchdown. The score gave the Seahawks an 11-point cushion with just over four minutes left and was just enough to boost the Seahawks to victory.
Fourth quarter: Rashaad Penny eight-yard run for first down
The Cardinals were barely clinging to life after they failed to recover the onside kick and linebacker Jordyn Brooks reeled it in. But the Seahawks still needed a first down to ice the game completely. As they have done time and time again over the last five weeks, they leaned on Penny and their physical offensive line in the run game. Penny gained eight yards to earn a first down, allowing Wilson to take a knee and seal Seattle's 38-30 victory.