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Cardinals snap Seahawks' home win streak

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- The Arizona Cardinals halted the coronation of the NFC's top team and kept their own postseason hopes alive while ending the Seattle Seahawks' home winning streak at 14 games Sunday afternoon.

Arizona (10-5) went into Seattle (12-3) and knocked off the team with the NFC's best record with a 17-10 victory, the Seahawks' first home loss since Dec. 24, 2011 against San Francisco.

That was not all motivating the desperate Cardinals on Sunday.

"Our coaches told us this week, 'At some point, we've got to stop being the punks of the NFC West,'" said defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who used last year's 58-0 loss in Seattle as motivation all week. "We were not thinking playoffs, at all."

Wide receiver Michael Floyd's diving, 31-yard touchdown reception with 2:13 remaining and the ensuing two-point conversion gave the Cardinals a 17-10 lead and held up as the game-winning score.

Seattle had a chance to make of heroic drive of its own over the final two minutes, but quarterback Russell Wilson's pass on the first play of the drive was intercepted by Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby after bouncing off the arm of outstretched Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin with 1:56 remaining. A replay review upheld the call on the field.

"We live to fight another day," Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said after the Cardinals ran out the clock to earn their seventh win in eight games. "We still have one more tough game to go (next Sunday, against San Francisco), and this is one that we needed to have."

Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer had to overcome four interceptions, including two in the opposing end zone, to keep the Cardinals in the running for a wild-card spot heading into next Sunday's game against the 49ers. Palmer completed 13 of 25 passes for 178 yards and the 31-yard touchdown to Floyd.

Arizona used a solid defensive effort and three Jay Feely field goals to build a 9-3 lead early in the fourth quarter. Feely's third field goal came with 10:39 remaining, at the end of a drive that included two costly penalties on the Seattle defense and an apparent fumble that was neither called on the field nor via replay.

Tight end Zach Miller's 11-yard touchdown reception with 7:26 remaining and Steven Hauschka's extra point -- which came only after a blocked attempt was wiped out by an Arizona penalty -- put the Seahawks ahead 10-9.

Palmer led the Cardinals right back down the field while getting a key defensive holding call on a third down near midfield, then he threw the game-winning touchdown pass on third-and-6. Floyd dove past cornerback Byron Maxwell and made a juggling catch in the end zone for the eventual game-winner.

"Floyd makes that catch every day (in practice)," Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "I've seen that catch every day, so I'm not surprised he made that catch."

Arizona's top-ranked run defense held Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch to 71 yards on 18 carries.

Wilson lost for the first time at CenturyLink Field after completing just 11 of 27 passes for 108 yards, with one touchdown and the lone interception.

"You've got to credit their defense," Wilson said. "Their defense has been playing really well, the last seven weeks, eight weeks -- whatever it is. But we can play better."

The Seahawks can still clinch the NFC West title before their season finale if San Francisco loses to Atlanta on Monday Night Football.

The Cardinals need a little help to make next week's season finale against San Francisco meaningful. If the 49ers lose to Atlanta on Monday night, the Arizona-San Francisco game would be for a playoff spot. If the 49ers win, the Cardinals would need New Orleans to lose next Sunday to still have a chance.

Seattle, which has already clinched a playoff spot, finishes its regular season by hosting the St. Louis Rams next week.

"It just means we need to start a new one," safety Earl Thomas said of the 14-game home winning streak being snapped.

The Cardinals overcame three Palmer interceptions to go into halftime tied 3-3 after a first half that was dominated by the defense.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman had two interceptions, giving him four in the Seahawks' past two games.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith added an interception for the Seahawks late in the first half, returning it to the 3-yard line before Seattle came away with nothing to show for it. The Arizona defense kept the Seahawks out of the end zone, then Hauschka hit the left upright on a 24-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half, leaving the score tied 3-3.

"It's not fun to play the games that don't mean anything," Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein said. "It's why you play the game, why you work so hard in the offseason -- to play games that mean something this time of year."

NOTES: The Cardinals hit double-digit wins for just the seventh time in their 93-year history, but only once before have they won 10 or more games and not qualified for the playoffs. That happened in 1976, when the 10-4 Cardinals finished second in the NFC East and were left out of the postseason. ... Seahawks QB Russell Wilson had not lost a home game at Wisconsin, North Carolina State or Seattle since October 2010. ... Carolina's last-minute win over New Orleans earlier Sunday meant that the Cardinals' only hope for the postseason is to win its remaining games. ... Seattle LT Russell Okung, a Pro Bowler last season, came out of the second half of Sunday's game after re-injuring his toe.

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