SEATTLE, Wash - Phil Dawson kicked four field goals, the last from 42 yards with 2:21 left, Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard attempt with 32 seconds left and the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks 26-24 on Sunday to close the season.
Seattle’s playoff hopes were dashed when Atlanta beat Carolina to earn the final wild-card spot in the NFC.
Dawson’s four field goals and Arizona (8-8) winning its third straight in Seattle was the final blow to an underwhelming season by the Seahawks.
Arizona’s game-winning drive was helped by a careless third down roughing penalty on Seattle’s Bobby Wagner when it appeared the Seahawks would get off the field. Arizona later converted third-and-2 with a 17-yard pass to D.J. Foster and Dawson connected after hitting earlier in the game from 46, 49 and 53 yards.
Seattle (9-7) got into position for a game-winning attempt from Walsh, but his kick stayed out to the right and the Seahawks were left to lament missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 season.
It was also the first time Seattle failed to win 10 games since Russell Wilson’s arrival in 2012.
Drew Stanton threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown on Arizona’s opening drive and Elijhaa Penny had a 4-yard TD run as the Cardinals jumped to a big early lead but stumbled offensively in the second half. Stanton finished 15 of 34 for 145 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Seahawks needed to beat the Cardinals and get a Carolina victory over Atlanta in order to make the postseason as a wild-card team.
But the Panthers did Seattle no favors, losing 22-10 minutes before the Seahawks game went final. Seattle will be cleaning out its lockers on the day after the season ends for the first time since 2011.
Wilson overcame an awful first half to put Seattle in position for the victory after the Seahawks trailed 20-7 at halftime and were deservedly booed off the field.
Wilson finished 18 of 29 for 221 yards after completing just 4 of 8 passes for 36 yards in the first half. Seattle had just 24 yards in the first 30 minutes and Wilson was sacked twice.
Wilson threw touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin of 18 and 29 yards in the second half. He connected with Baldwin for 23 yards and Jimmy Graham 21 yards to get Seattle into field-goal range on the final possession. But Walsh missed for the eighth time this season.
Wilson ended up leading the NFL in touchdown passes with 34 this season. Most of them came in the fourth quarter when Wilson threw an NFL-record 19 TDs.
Arizona’s Chandler Jones finished with two sacks, surpassing Simeon Rice and setting a franchise record. Jones finished the season with 17 sacks.
Dawson’s 53-yarder was his 42nd field goal of 50 or more yards. It tied him with John Kasey for fourth most in league history.
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