The question of whether the Seattle Seahawks are invincible at CenturyLink Field has been answered with the first home loss of the Russell Wilson era, a shocking 17-10 setback at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals.
Now everything is back on the table again: The San Francisco 49ers can claim the NFC's coveted No. 1 seed with a win Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons, another one in Week 17 at Arizona and a Seahawks loss at home against a St. Louis Rams team that almost beat the Seahawks in Week 8.
The game essentially was put on ice following a bizarre Wilson interception (one that might have hit the ground; replay was inconclusive) in one of his toughest days as a pro, completing only 11-of-27 passes for 108 yards and one touchdown pass.
Forget the idea of the Cardinals providing a blueprint to beat Seattle for this one idea: Few teams have the defensive skill and tensile strength to bully a team such as the Seahawks in their loud den.
How many teams have a combination of Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson, Karlos Dansby, John Abraham and others?
What team can suffer a major injury — the loss of Tyrann Mathieu — and respond with a season-defining victory, their 10th of the season?
Oh, and that defensive performance came with their quarterback, Carson Palmer, throwing four interceptions.
The Cardinals belong in the postseason. They have won 10 games without great quarterback play, without a left tackle, without a grade-A tight end, and with their first-round pick (guard Jonathan Cooper) out for the season. They closed down Marshawn Lynch with what is the league's best run defense. With all respect to Andy Reid and Ron Rivera, I would have no problem with Bruce Arians being a back-to-back Coach of the Year award winner.
The Cardinals knew the situation coming in after the New Orleans Saints lost at Carolina: Lose, and their postseason dreams were dead. The Cardinals defense put the game on its shoulders, and Michael Floyd and Palmer connected for a great touchdown catch late. It was all they needed offensively, really.
San Francisco at Arizona suddenly becomes a massive game in Week 17. This is why the NFL went to the all-divisional format in the final week. It's for chatter and hype like this.
The Cardinals put themselves in this situation with a tremendous effort, and they gave themselves a chance to get in with another victory. And the Seahawks suddenly are sweating after nearly everyone was giving them a first-class ticket to the Super Bowl.
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