In a game that was never close, the Seattle Seahawks concluded the regular season with a 36-6 beatdown of the Arizona Cardinals. The win brings the Seahawks final record to 10-6, making it the fourth season in a row that they've finished with double-digit victories.
The Cardinals never truly stood a chance in this one, as the Seahawks scored on seven of their first eight drives. A deadly efficient Russell Wilson, beautifully effective Christine Michael and suffocatingly rock-solid Seattle defense sent a message to the rest of the league, letting them know that they don't care what seed they are in the playoffs.
As the Hawks raced out to a 24-6 lead, it became clear that worries of the Cardinals running all over Seattle before resting their starters were premature. This team is raring and ready to go for post-season football, and now everyone knows it.
1. Christine Michael sends Jacson Bevens to a happy place with a 45-yard burst.
On the very first offensive drive of the game for Seattle, Christine Michael busted out his huge run, which is awesome on its own. The best part of it, though? Look how he protected the ball when he felt defenders closing in. Michael will be incredibly important for Seattle in the playoffs with Marshawn Lynch having missed most of the regular season, but he's also fighting for a spot in 2016. Should Lynch retire as many expect him to, Thomas Rawls and Michael could be a mighty fine combination for the future.
2. Michael Robins- er, Will Tukuafu finds the end zone as a receiver for the first time this season.
Along with Chase Coffman, who would catch a touchdown on the following drive, this was a great game for anyone who isn't used to finding the end zone. Tukuafu has been an unsung hero for the Seahawks all season long, providing a much-needed thump from his fullback position, and even adding depth at defensive end. It was awesome to see him get rewarded with as easy of a touchdown catch as you will see.
3. Let's watch another Christine Michael highlight.
There are plenty of other highlights I could have put here instead, but in such an easy blowout win, not many of them were "key plays". This was just one of Michael's many highlights runs on Sunday, which also included a multitude of Houdini-style plays in which he turned three-yard losses into ten-yard gains.
Christine Michael - 17 carries, 107 yards
Today, redemption is spelled C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-E.
Arizona rushing yards - 27
The Seahawks defense that everyone said was toast early in the year is back, y'all. They probably never left.
Number of Seahawks who caught a pass - 9
One thing that makes this Seahawks offense so dangerous, is that despite the offense being full of un-drafted free agents that the rest of the country knows nothing about, they can spread the ball around as well as anyone. There are simply too many guys to guard to complete shut down the passing attack, which is a scary thought for other NFC teams heading into the playoffs.
C-MIKE is possessed pic.twitter.com/zVMJD9LMxy— Jose Rivera (@whoisjoserivera) January 3, 2016
-Tyler Lockett was a freak of nature on Sunday. Returning kicks, returning punts, catching passes, everything. This kid is electric, and any team that kicks to him after today has brass balls of steel.
-Now let's watch Tyler Lockett abuse Patrick Peterson.
How good is Tyler Lockett? This is Patrick Peterson clinging on for dear life to avoid getting beat deep. Overthrown pic.twitter.com/8w2B1ug8YE— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 3, 2016
-Richard Sherman makes sure the Cardinals know how he feels.
-Kelcie McCray has looked fantastic in Kam Chancellor's absence. This team reloads better than anyone.
-Presented without further comment -->
10-6, DVOA champs, Seahawks playoff game in a week pic.twitter.com/RAe76dxwjt— NFL Tweets (@BestGuyAround) January 4, 2016
What it Means
Right now, not much. With the win, the Seahawks have now assured themselves a date with either Minnesota or Washington, as a trip to Lambeau Field is now impossible. Should the Vikings defeat the Packers on Sunday night, the Seahawks will be the No. 6 seed, and will make the return trip to Minnesota for the first round. Should the Packers defeat the Vikings, the Seahawks will make the trip to DC as the No. 5 seed, to take on the Washington Redskins (hmm..sounds familiar).
All in all, this is a team that no one in the NFL wants to face right now. They are playing their best football of the season, and are led by arguably the hottest defense and hottest quarterback in the entire league. It's hard not to feel good about their chances of making a deep run in the playoffs once again. For now, sit back and enjoy watching the Pack and Vikes beat up on each other, and make your viewing plans for next Sunday.