|Last roundup in NFC West|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 13 November 2008 16:46|
``The sun is starting to set a little bit,'' Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said of his injured and mistake-prone team being four games out of first place with seven games remaining.
The Seahawks know they are running out of time. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is returning after missing six weeks with a bulging disk in his back. He says he is ``definitely pushing the envelope here on time frames'' doctors had given him for his rehabilitation. Wide receiver Deion Branch is going to try to play his first full game since last January following reconstructive knee surgery and a bruised heel.
champs' last stand.
``I would say so,'' he said. ``If we don't win this game, we put ourselves out of the hunt for the rest of the season. We view these division games as two-for-one (games in the standings). And we're still in it. We're a second-place team.''
Peterson then had to laugh at the absurdity of the sorry truth out West.
Despite having 14 starters miss at least one game with injury while getting its worst start since 2000, Seattle (2-7) is tied with San Francisco and St. Louis in choking on Arizona's dust.
Still, the Cardinals (6-3) won't believe they have truly dethroned the Seahawks until they win in Seattle. Arizona hasn't done that since 2002.
``It's not a different feel for us because we still feel like we have to beat them up there,'' said receiver Anquan Boldin, who has 10 touchdowns in seven games this season. ``They're defending division champs the last I don't know how many years. For us to be able to call ourselves NFC West champs, we've got to beat them and beat them at home.''
The Seahawks used to be nearly unbeatable inside their raucous, cantilever-roofed home and are still an NFC-best 43-17 there since 2001. But they are just 1-3 in Seattle this season.
's this year.
The Cardinals lead the league with 263 points scored, on pace to break the team record of 423 set in 1984. Quarterback Kurt Warner, 37, has revived his career after pondering retirement when the Giants let him go and Arizona benched him early in 2006.
``I was wondering if anybody would be willing to give me the keys to the car and drive again,'' said Warner, who was supposedly going to tutor young star Matt Leinart.
Now, Warner's cruising. His 17-game streak of throwing a touchdown pass is the longest in the league. The league's top-rated passer has more completions (238), more attempts (337), a better completion percentage (70.6), more yards passing (2,760), more touchdowns (19) and fewer interceptions (six) than he had after nine games of the 2001 season - when he won his second league MVP award for the Rams.
Boldin is again starring after a vicious hit by the New York Jets' Eric Smith on Sept. 28 required surgery for a sinus fracture. He wasn't able to eat solid food for two weeks and lost 10 pounds. But he's regained his form, adding two touchdown catches Monday night in a tight win over the 49ers. Boldin has 19 scores in his last 19 games.
``I have seen him do some amazing things coming back from injuries,'' second-year Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
easton (624) and the physical Larry Fitzgerald (791) make Arizona the only team that has three receivers with at least 600 yards.
``They are an extremely, extremely talented group,'' Seahawks defensive backs coach Jim Mora said.
Boldin is 6-feet-1, 217 pounds. Breaston is 6-0, 189. Fitzgerald is a tight-end like 6-3, 220 - but doesn't run like a tight end.
``It's the Land of the Giants out there. And we're not the tallest crew in the league,'' Mora said of his defensive backs.
So a pass rush will be extra important for Seattle. But team sacks leader Patrick Kerney is out indefinitely following a second surgery this year on his shoulder.
A win as a field-goal favorite on Sunday would make the Cardinals 7-3 for the first time since 1977, when Don Coryell was leading them in St. Louis. A victory would also give them their first sweep of a season's road division games since 1968, when they were in the NFL Century division.
``We haven't been in this position in forever,'' Warner said. ``There is a buzz - and not your typical training-camp buzz.''
AP Sports Writer Andrew Bagnato in Tempe, Ariz., contributed to this report.