Geno Smith threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, rookie Kenneth Walker III ran for 109 yards and two scores and the Seattle Seahawks won their fourth straight, 31-21 over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
NFC West-leading Seattle (6-3) continued its unexpected rise, while the Cardinals (3-6) have lost four of five.
The Cardinals grabbed the momentum and a 14-10 lead in the third quarter when Zaven Collins returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown.
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But Seattle scored the next 14 points, taking the lead for good late in the third quarter on Smith’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett. That capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive.
The Seahawks extended their advantage to 24-14 midway through the fourth on another impressive drive. Smith led a 13-play, 81-yard march that ended when Walker ran for a 1-yard score.
Walker — a second-round pick out of Michigan State — is averaging more than 100 yards on the ground over the past five games.
Seattle sacked Kyler Murray four times, including two by Uchenna Nwosu, and held the Cardinals to 262 total yards.
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Arizona scored a late touchdown to pull within 24-21, but Seattle immediately responded with a 51-yard gain on a pass from Smith to Noah Fant, who caught the short throw and rumbled down the right sideline. Four plays later, Walker ran for a 5-yard score.
The Cardinals lost the first of a three-game stretch against division opponents. Murray threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Collins gave the Cardinals some hope in the third quarter on his momentum-swinging pick-6. Smith lofted a short pass to the right side that was intended for Walker, but Collins shed a block and jumped into the throw’s path, snatching the ball out of the air and running to the end zone.
But just like all season, the Cardinals were hurt by their own mistakes. They were called for 12 penalties and were plagued by dropped passes and botched snaps.
The Seahawks led 10-7 at halftime. They went ahead early in the second quarter when Smith found DK Metcalf for a 4-yard touchdown. The Seahawks caught a break on the previous play when cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. dropped a potential interception.
The Cardinals looked like they might score late in the first half, but Murray fumbled on a scramble when Seattle’s Ryan Neal punched the ball out from behind. The Seahawks recovered.
It was Seattle’s 16th forced fumble of the season, which leads the NFL.
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Murray hit DeAndre Hopkins for a 22-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter for a 7-3 lead. Hopkins made it to the end zone untouched thanks to a downfield block by running back James Conner, who had missed the previous three games because of an injury to his ribs.
It was the first time this season the Cardinals scored a touchdown on their first possession and was their first TD in the first quarter.
Seahawks: WR Marquise Goodwin (groin), LB Darrell Taylor (groin) and S Joey Blount (quad) were among the inactives. … LB Cullen Gillaspia (knee) was helped off the field in the second half and didn’t return.
Cardinals: C Rodney Hudson (knee), G Max Garcia (shoulder) and LB Dennis Gardeck (ankle) were among the inactives. … RG Will Hernandez (chest) left the game in the first quarter.
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Seahawks: Travel to Munich, Germany, where they will play Tampa Bay next Sunday.
Cardinals: At the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.