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Seahawks pound Cardinals to stay alive in NFC West

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The Seattle Seahawks drew within two games of the Cardinals in the NFC West with a convincing 19-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Our takeaways:

1. Seattle (7-4) turned in a defensive masterpiece to save its season and gain ground inside the division. Holding Arizona (9-2) to just 117 first-half yards, the Legion of Boom shut down passing lanes and kept Arizona to three of 12 on third down. Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton was held to just 86 yards with a pick over the first 44 minutes of play and visibly missed Larry Fitzgerald.

2. Both defenses played out of their minds. The Cardinals held the Seahawks to just nine first-half points despite Seattle running 20 of 25 plays in Arizona territory. Sneaky DPOY candidate Calais Campbell dialed up three sacks and three quarterback hits for an Arizona outfit that dropped Wilson a season-high seven times, equaling the career-worst pounding he took from the Rams last autumn.

3. After looking better than ever over the past two weeks, Marshawn Lynch was slowed for much of the first half with a back injury before returning to grind out 39 yards off 15 totes. Not gaudy numbers, but Beast Mode also sustained drives with a trio of clutch catches for 43 yards.

4. With Lynch not himself, Seattle took plenty of shots downfield against the NFL's best secondary. Russell Wilson's 17-of-22 afternoon included completions of 48, 23, 21, 20 and 19 yards. Their passing game remains skittish, but the Seahawks need only so much through the air when Lynch and Wilson are piling up yards on the ground.

5. Want to poke holes in the division-leading Cardinals? Look no further than the punchless ground game. Arizona tried to establish the run all afternoon but couldn't manage more than 64 yards at 3.2 yards per carry. Andre Ellington's 24 yards off 10 totes continued an ugly trend that's seen our "Making the Leap" candidate average just 1.9 yards per attempt over his past three starts.

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