TEMPE, Ariz. — 58-0.
In an otherwise regrettable 2012 season for the Arizona Cardinals, their game in Seattle against the Seahawks stands out.
It’s the type of score that you expect in some early-season college football games or on high school fields, not in the NFL.
But it happened. The Cardinals can’t forget it, even if they’d like to.
“For the guys who have been in this division for a while or who played in that game last year, they understand what type of game this is,” linebacker Daryl Washington said. “We take it personal.”
Washington added with the playoffs on the line, the Cardinals have plenty to play for besides a rivalry or trying to atone for last year’s loss. But that game in Seattle is certainly on his mind.
By every metric, the Cardinals were dominated in the game. They were outgained by a margin of 493 yards to 154, with 284 of them coming on the ground. They turned the ball over eight times. The score was 38-0 at the half, and it only got worse from there.
“There’s a lot of guys that weren’t there, and the guys that were know this isn’t even close to the same group,” guard Daryn Colledge said. “We had a lot of starters out for that game, we didn’t play up to our best, and we got our asses handed to us, there’s no other way to say it.”
But as Colledge noted, there are a lot of people who are with the team now that were not part of last season’s debacle. Along with the coaching staff, 28 members of the 53-man roster were somewhere other than Seattle last December 9.
Which is why head coach Bruce Arians has no plans on showing the team tape from last year’s game.
“It’s not our offense or our defense,” he said. “I mean, who gives a [expletive]?”
“He’s like we’re a different team, different mindset, new coaches,” defensive tackle Dan Williams said of Arians’ message. “He said last year’s last year; this year’s a whole different mindset.”
Even Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, when asked if the win has come up at all this week, said, “It has nothing to do with anything; that was a long time ago.”
Fair enough, but at the very least, that game does mean something. After all, if that game was indeed rock bottom, it may have been the catalyst for the organization’s offseason, when the team brought in a new coaching staff, a new general manager and plenty of new players.
“It was really a turnaround for us; it was a reality check,” Colledge said. “Things had to change if we wanted to be a team to compete in this division.”
Truth is, what happened to the Cardinals last season happens to most visiting teams in Seattle. Sure, maybe the score isn’t so bad, but the result is the same. Whether it’s due to the players, the crowd, the stadium or some combination of the three, CenturyLink Field is one of the toughest venues to play in as a visitor.
“We’ve been in hostile environments; we’ve done it earlier this year,” running back Rashard Mendenhall said. “So we know what we need to do. We all need to be on the same page and that’s what we work towards.”
The Seahawks haven’t lost a home game in nearly two seasons, and are beating teams by an average of 19 points per game at home. The San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints, who many look at as Super Bowl contenders, lost by a combined score of 63-10 in the Emerald City.
Needless to say, the Cardinals face a pretty tall task this weekend against what many believe is a dominant team.
“I think they are a very good team, but I think they have lost some games this year to teams we beat,” Arians said. “I think that they are a very good football team. Dominating is a strong word, but they are solid and they are physical.”
In a way, not much has changed for the Seahawks over the last year, other than they have gone from Super Bowl contender to Super Bowl favorite. They already beat the Cardinals once this season, 34-22 in Glendale, though the Red Birds are confident they are a different team now than they were back then.
Whether that’s true or not, they are definitely a different squad than the last one to make the trip to the Pacific Northwest, though the memories of that effort still permeate the Arizona locker room.
“It just helps you realize what can happen if you get down early down there,” Williams said. “They’re a good team at home and the crowd does help them. They feed off the crowd and anytime, once they get going, they can definitely take off.”
It does not take having to be on the receiving end of a 58-0 loss to know that, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have that experience in mind when preparing for Sunday.
“For the guys who experienced being in that situation, being beat down like that,” Washington said. “Those guys I think were up 45-0 and still throwing the ball deep. It just shows you what kind of team they are — they’re a team that’s not going to let up. They’re going to continue fighting to the end and they did that; pretty much, flat out, embarrassed us.”