All the Seattle Seahawks needed to clinch their division was a win over the poor Arizona Cardinals and a 49er loss to the Packers. The Packers beat San Francisco 30-19, leaving the Hawks’ fate in their hands. The Hawks hadn’t lost to Arizona since their first meeting in 2004, but Arizona was ready for a fight.
Seattle couldn’t do much with their first possession and was forced to punt. Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart passed to Bryant Johnson on his first snap for a 56-yard touchdown. Arizona scored again after Seattle’s second turnover deep in their own territory.
Falling behind 14-0 seemed to light a fire under Matt Hasselbeck (or maybe that was the fury of Mike Holmgren). All it took was two passes to D.J. Hackett: one for 47-yards, and a 23-yard touchdown. In the second quarter, after a Neil Rackers 32-yard field goal for Arizona, the Hawks scored again on a 5-yard pass to Nate Burleson to keep within three points at halftime.
Rackers missed a 53-yard field goal in the third, putting Seattle in good field position and Darrell Jackson ran in a 2-yard touchdown to put the Hawks on top 21-17. Seattle couldn’t hold on long, though. Leinart connected with Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown early in the fourth, then Rackers added three more with a 40-yard field goal.
Down six points with 3:30 remaining, the Hawks were on the charge. Five plays later, Seattle was at Arizona’s 27 yard line with two minutes left.
Then things fell apart. Shaun Alexander was tackled for a loss and, after an incomplete pass to the end-zone, Matt Hasselbeck was sacked by former teammate Chike Okeafor to put them at 4th-and-20. Hasselbeck connected with Deion Branch, but Branch fell two yards short of the first down and the Cardinals walked away with a 27-21 victory.
The Hawks can clinch the division with a win over San Francisco when the 49ers head to Seattle for a Thursday night game.