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by Curtis Crabtree
SEATTLE - T Russell Okung wasn't going to try and sugarcoat the offensive performance in the Seattle Seahawks' 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
"We played terrible, man," Okung said.
The loss was the Seahawks first at home since a 19-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 24, 2011.
The performance was arguably the worst by QB Russell Wilson in his professional career. The Seahawks' offense squandered four interceptions by an inspried defense that was forced to carry too much of the load against the Cardinals.
"The defense did a great job. They can't play any better," Wilson said. "They made plays, play after play after play. Offensively, we were just off by a hair for whatever reason."
Seattle had just two drives that lasted longer than four plays. Three times the Seahawks started drives in Arizona territory and came away with no points - including being unable to score after a LB Malcolm Smith interception gave Seattle first-and-goal from the 3-yard line. They were just 2-for-13 on third down conversions and were held to just 192 yards of total offense.
It was also Wilson's first loss at home in a Seattle uniform.
The Cardinals were playing for their playoff lives and it showed. Arizona kept their postseason hopes alive for another week with a victory they had to have to stay in contention.
"It’s the little things and we can’t have those type of things if you hope to win a game, especially with that good of a defense," Okung said. That’s what happened today and it showed up."
Wilson was 11 for 27 for 108 yards with a touchdown and an interception on the day. Wilson couldn't find receivers to throw to. Several throws he did make were off-the-mark. The 49.6 passer rating from Wilson was his lowest of the season and third lowest of his career. The 4.0 yards per attempt was a career-low.
"It was hard today," head coach Pete Carroll said. "...The protection was really good. He had plenty of time but they were covering us up pretty well. For whatever reason, we just couldn't find guys open."
The short drives meant the defense was constantly on the field. Arizona held the ball for over 37 minutes of the game. Yet, Seattle's defense consistently kept the team in the game. CB Richard Sherman had two interceptions of QB Carson Palmer. He leads the league with eight interceptions on the year.
S Kam Chancellor turned Arizona away with an interception in the end zone on their opening possession and Smith's interception gave Seattle a prime scoring opportunity that went for naught. K Steven Hauschka clanked a 24-yard field goal off the left upright after the Seahawks failed on two chances from the 1-yard line.
The Seahawks have preached all season about how "every week is a championship opportunity." They've now had two chances to wrap up the NFC West title in the last three weeks. A win over either the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 8 or against the Cardinals Sunday would have gave Seattle the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC and home field advantage for the playoffs.
Instead, the losses mean Seattle will be forced to take care of business in Week 17 against the St. Louis Rams to win the division or allow their fate to be decided out of their control.
"You don’t get moral victories in this league," DE Red Bryant said. "Everything was in front of us. Everything is still in front of us. That’s what’s so great about adversity. It’s not what happens to you, it’s about how you respond. It’s going to be tough today. We’ll move forward and get ready for St. Louis tomorrow."