Seattle Seahawks' playoff hopes end with loss to Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons win

By Lauren Smith, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 31, 2017 at 8:43 PM
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SEATTLE -- For the first time in five years, the Seattle Seahawks saw their season end short of the playoffs.

Seattle kicker Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt with 32 seconds remaining, allowing the Arizona Cardinals to slip away with 26-24 win Sunday in front of 69,078 at CenturyLink Field.

Phil Dawson connected on four field goals for Arizona, including a 42-yarder with 2:21 to play, giving the Cardinals (8-8) the late edge.

Seattle's playoff streak dated back to quarterback Russell Wilson's rookie season in 2012. The Seahawks had to win to have a shot at the postseason, but a victory wouldn't have mattered thanks to Atlanta's win over Carolina.

The Seahawks (9-7) put together another late-game rally.

After gaining just 24 yards of offense in the first half, Seattle entered Arizona territory for the first time with 12:40 remaining in the third quarter.

Wilson connected with tight end Jimmy Graham across the middle for 20 yards on a crucial fourth-and-6, setting up Seattle's first offensive touchdown of the game.

The quarterback found Doug Baldwin in space in the back of the end zone two plays later for an 18-yard score, cutting Arizona's lead to 20-14 with 8:59 to play in the third quarter.

Arizona countered with Dawson's third field goal of the game, a 53-yarder that pushed the lead back to two scores.

Walsh connected on a 49-yard field goal with 13:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks took their first lead of the game less than three minutes later.

Wilson scrambled for 31 yards, hurdling a defender, to set Seattle up at Arizona's 29. He then threw a strike to Baldwin for the pair's second touchdown connection of the game.

The 29-yard touchdown pass was Wilson's 19th of the season in the fourth quarter, an NFL record. Wilson finished 18 of 29 for 221 yards and the two scores.

Dawson took the final lead back for Arizona with his 42-yard connection.

Arizona ended the first half with a commanding 20-7 lead, picking up 190 yards of offense while limiting the Seahawks to just 24.

Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton completed all six of his passes on the game's opening drive, eventually connecting with Jaron Brown for a 25-yard touchdown.

Tyler Lockett busted up the middle of the field on the ensuing kickoff for a 99-yard score, but that was the only bright spot for the Seahawks before the break.

Seattle punted on five of its six first-half possessions -- going three-and-out four times - and picked up just one first down and never reached Cardinals territory.

Meanwhile, Arizona completed four scoring drives to pull away early.

Dawson connected on both of his field-goal attempts of 49 and 46 yards, and another short drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown plunge by Elijhaa Penny.

Following Dawson's second field goal, the Cardinals ended the half by sacking Wilson for the second time for a 17-yard loss.

Stanton finished the game 15 of 34 for 145 yards with one touchdown and one interception, though he threw for just 32 yards in the second half.

NOTES: WR Doug Baldwin finished with four receptions for 90 yards and Seattle's only two offensive touchdowns. ... Seahawks OL Ethan Pocic (knee) and LB Terence Garvin (head) both exited in the first half and did not return. ... Seattle committed eight penalties for 100 yards, including one that led to an Arizona score, and another that took the Seahawks out of field-goal range in the third quarter. ... Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald finished with eight catches for 55 yards, giving him 109 receptions for the season. He tied for second in the NFL in catches this season with Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, trailing only Miami's Jarvis Landry (112).

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