Seahawks lose, miss playoffs
Needing a win and some help to make the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks got neither on the final day of the NFL regular season.
The Arizona Cardinals beat the Seahawks 26-24 on Sunday at CenturyLink Field to conclude a frustrating season for Seattle.
Before the Seahawks lost on a late field goal by the Cardinals, Atlanta beat Carolina to clinch the sixth and last NFC playoff spot. Seattle had made the playoffs five consecutive seasons.
The Seahawks finish the season 9-7 and were only 4-4 in home games.
After managing only 24 net yards of offense in the first half, Seattle rallied to take a fourth-quarter lead. But the Cardinals used a 10-play drive to a 42-yard Phil Dawson field goal for the go-ahead points with 2:25 left.
Seattle drove to the Arizona 30, but Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the game.
Arizona (8-8) controlled the first half en route to a 20-7 halftime lead. The Cardinals opened the game with a 10-play, 73-yard drive capped by a 25-yard pass from Drew Stanton to Jaron Brown.
A 99-yard kickoff return by Tyler Lockett quickly tied the game at 7-7.
Arizona's D.J. Foster returned the next Seattle kickoff 55 yards to the Seahawks 43 and Dawson kicked a 49-yard field goal to put the Cardinals up 10-7.
A 4-yard touchdown run by Elijhaa Penny made it 17-7 Cardinals 12:19 before halftime, capping a seven-play, 43-yard drive. The second of Dawson's four field goals, a 46-yarder, 55 seconds before halftime made it 20-7.
After completing 4 of 8 passes for 36 yards in the first half, quarterback Russell Wilson came to life in the third quarter. In the second half Wilson completed 14 of 21 for 185 yards and two touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin.
The first was an 18-yarder thad capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive to open the third quarter. The second was a 29-yard connection for a go-ahead touchdown with 10:24 left in the game.
It was Wilson's NFL-leading 39th touchdown pass of the season — his 19th fourth-quarter TD pass.
But this is the first time in Wilson's six seasons that the Seahawks did not win at least 10 games.
Arizona's drive to the winning field goal was prolonged by a third-down roughintg the passer penalty against Bobby Wagner. A 17-yard pass from Stanton to Foster on a third-and-2 then set up the go-ahead kick.
Baldwin caught four passes for a team-leading 90 yards. Mike Davis carried 10 times for 48 rushing yards and Wilson ran five times for 36 of the Seahawks 101 yards on the ground.
Larry Fitzgerald led Arizona with eight catches for 55 yards as Stanton was 15 of 34 for 145 yards with the touchdown and one interception by Seattle's Shaquill Griffin.
Kerwynn Williams carried 23 times for 75 yards and Penny eight times for 39 yards to account for most of the Cardinals 116 rushing yards.
Playoffs schedule — The wild-card round next weekend will feature Tennessee at Kansas City (1:20 p.m. Saturday, ESPN), Atlanta at the Los Angeles Rams (5:15 p.m. Saturday, NBC), Buffalo at Jacksonville (10:05 a.m. Sunday, CBS) and Carolina at New Orleans (1:40 p.m. Sunday, FOX).