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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

December 10, 2012 at 6:00 PM

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Key review: Looking back at Sunday's scouting report

Seattle's ability to protect the passer was considered paramount entering Sunday's game. So was Arizona's ability to force turnovers. Here's a look back at how the perceived keys to Sunday's game actually panned out:

Seahawks Keys to Seahawks victory

1. Stymie Arizona's pass rush.

Scouting report: The Cardinals sacked Russell Wilson three times in the season-opener, but that doesn't really illustrate the constant pass pressure the Cardinals applied.

Result: Wilson was sacked only once, and that came on Seattle's third play from scrimmage. The fact the Seahawks attempted 21 passes meant there weren't many pass-rush opportunities, but Seattle's offensive line was notably improved over Week 1.

2. Don't let Larry Fitzgerald catch fire.

Scouting report: He was targeted 11 times in the season-opener against the Seahawks, but caught only four passes for 63 yards.

Result: Fitzgerald was targeted 11 times by Arizona -- most of any Cardinal -- but caught one pass for a total of 2 yards. He has caught six passes total over the past four games, and at this point the Cardinals could be accused of wasting a natural resource as they have one of the game's best receivers playing for an offense with the league's worst quarterback situation.

3. Fire up the pass rush.

Scouting report: The Seahawks have managed only a single sack over the last two games.

Result: The Seahawks had three sacks, two of them resulting in fumbles the Seahawks recovered. Chris Clemons had a sack. So did rookie Bruce Irvin. And just as importantly, Seattle showed a willingness to blitz on third down, dispatching linebackers like Bobby Wagner and even safeties at times. Arizona was 0-for-6 on third down in the first half.

car-mark-1-cl.gif Keys to Cardinals victory

1. Take the ball away.

Scouting report: The Cardinals the only team in the NFC that has a positive turnover ratio and a losing record.

Result: The Cardinals had one takeaway, and that was a second-quarter interception as Wilson's pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked off by cornerback Patrick Peterson. That ended Wilson's string of 126 consecutive passes without being picked off. It was his first interception at home this season. Arizona entered the game +7 in turnover margin, but was -7 in the game.

2. Don't underestimate Russell Wilson.

Scouting report: Wilson completed exactly one pass of 20 or more yards in Week 1, and that was a 27-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller. He has completed four passes of 20 or more yards in each of the past four games entering Sunday's game.

Result: Wilson had two completions of more than 20 yards in the first quarter, but his passing wasn't the reason Seattle won this game. The Seahawks rushed for 284 yards, the fourth-highest single-game total in franchise history.

3. Find different ways to score.

Scouting report: The Cardinals have one of the league's most dangerous punt returners in the league in cornerback Peterson, who has yet to run a punt back for a score this year after scoring four touchdowns as a rookie.

Result: Peterson did produce points this game. For Seattle. His muffed punt in the second quarter was recovered by the Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith for a touchdown. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman returned an interception for a touchdown earlier that period, which meant that Seattle's defense and its special teams each outscored Arizona's entire team.

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