GLENDALE, Ariz. - And in the 64th quarter, the Seahawks rested.
They’d earned it.
Seattle completed a brutal regular season on Sunday afternoon with a satisfyingly thorough 36-6 destruction of the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
So complete was the Seahawks’ deconstruction of their division rival that the Cardinals began pulling their starters early in the third quarter – and Seattle followed suit in the fourth when it sat Russell Wilson and began looking ahead to a playoff matchup with either Minnesota, Washington or Green Bay.
They did it with an utterly dominating first half what wasn’t so much a who’s-who as a “who’s that?” Bryce Brown ran for a touchdown. Will Tukuafu caught one. So did Chase Coffman – the first of his career.
And then there was Russell, who polished off the best season for quarterback in Seahawks history.
Wilson had a relatively quiet day by his own recent standards, passing for 197 yards and three touchdowns and completing 19 of 28 passes.
But those numbers were enough to put him in the Seahawks’ record books. Wilson finished the season with 4,024 yards – the first quarterback in franchise history to crack 4,000. And his 34 touchdown passes easily eclipsed the mark Dave Krieg set in 1984.
Things were just as rosy on the other side of the ball, where the defense managed to allow the fewest points in the NFL for the fourth consecutive season. In the process, the Hawks got interceptions from Earl Thomas, Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead.
The special teams completed the trifecta, as rookie Tyler Lockett returned four punts for a franchise-record 139 yards.
Neither team had a ton to play for – the Cardinals had a shot at clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and the Seahawks were hoping to put themselves in position for a No. 5 seed instead of a 6 – but only Seattle was able to put that aside. Perhaps it was an ugly loss to St. Louis the week before. Perhaps it was a painful loss to Arizona on Nov. 15.
Either way the Hawks looked more than ready for a potential rematch in the NFC Championship, should both teams advance through the early rounds of the playoffs.
Seattle was left to await the results of Green Bay’s matchup with Minnesota on Sunday night, which will determine the final NFC seedings and matchups. The Seahawks will be on the road either Saturday or Sunday.