The Seahawks start the final week of the regular season as losers in two of the last three games.
Some recent issues:
> They failed to hold late leads in each loss.
> They are averaging 17.3 points per game in those three, down from more than 27 per game prior.
> Marshawn Lynch hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards in over a month. After a strong start Sunday with 46 yards in the first quarter, Lynch gained 25 yards the next three quarters and just 11 in the second half.
> The Seahawks were again heavily penalized. This week, nine penalties for 102 yards. Arizona went 45 yards for a field goal in its second possession of the fourth quarter. The Seahawks gave them 36 of those yards with a personal foul (Tony McDaniel unnecessary roughness) and pass interference (21 yards on Richard Sherman). Seattle is the most penalized team in the NFL.
> Russell Wilson’s touchdown-to-interception ratio in those three is even, 3:3.
> The Seahawks did not control the ball in either loss. San Francisco ran 64 plays to Seattle’s 50 and the Cardinals ran 70 to the Seahawks’ 51 Sunday.
Barring unlikely help tonight from San Francisco, the Seahawks will have to beat the St. Louis Rams (23-13 winners Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) to clinch the division. The good news for the Seahawks is they have not squandered, yet, everything they built over the first 14 weeks of the season. They still are in good position to be the NFC’s top seed.
If the playoffs started today, here’s how the seeding would look:
1. Seattle (12-3)
2. Carolina (11-4)
3. Philadelphia (9-6)
4. Chicago (8-7)
5. San Francisco (10-4)
6. New Orleans (10-5)
The Seahawks and Panthers would have byes. Then, the Seahawks would host the lowest remaining seed. New Orleans would play at Philadelphia and San Francisco would travel to Chicago for the Wild Card round. Arizona is still on the outside looking in. It needs the Falcons to beat the 49ers tonight and then the Cardinals must beat San Francisco next Sunday at home. Or, they need the Buccaneers to beat the Saints next Sunday in New Orleans and the Cardinals still must beat the visiting 49ers in the regular-season finale.
If the Seahawks win Sunday, they take the division and homefield advantage.
> Here’s my game story, focusing on the offense’s problems.
> Our Dave Boling writes about the Seahawks’ inability to move the ball.
> Our John McGrath says the Seahawks played like they could afford to lose.
> It was a strange day for Doug Baldwin.
> Several of the Cardinals said after the game they remembered the 58-0 loss last year and they had something to prove Sunday.
> Our photo gallery.
> Also, we’ll chat today at 2 p.m.
> 710 ESPN’s Danny O’Neil writes it was a day to forget for Wilson and the Seahawks.
> Here’s a rundown of the Seahawks playoff scenarios.
> Seahawks.com writes about Seattle being down to its last chance to clinch the division.
> At Sportspress Northwest, Art Thiel writes the Cardinals show how to shut up the Seahawks.
> The Arizona Republic writes about the Cardinals staying in the playoff hunt.
> A Washington state representative tweeted that Arizona is a “racist wasteland” following the loss.