Final: Seahawks 36, Cardinals 18

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, coming back from a week off dealing with concussion symptoms, then shaking off an injury to his non-throwing hand sustained just before halftime, guided the Seattle Seahawks to a 29-18 lead over the Arizona Cardinals as the teams played in the fourth quarter in their battle for the top spot in the NFC West today in Glendale, Ariz.

After a huge first half in helping the Seahawks to a 17-10 lead, Hasselbeck was on the bench to start the third quarter. Charlie Whitehurst replaced Hasselbeck, and after completing his first two passes, had his third throw picked off near midfield by Arizona’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

On their next possession, Whitehurst guided the Seahawks on an 10-play, 64-yard field goal drive. Olindo Mare’s 34-yard field goal hiked Seattle’s lead to 20-10.

Hasselbeck, with his left thumb and wrist heavily wrapped, then returned to the game when the Seahawks got the ball back on an interception by Kelly Jennings.

Hasselbeck guided the Hawks down the field for another Mare field goal, this one from 19 yards out to make it 23-10. Then on the first play after the kickoff, Seattle’s Chris Clemmons recovered a fumble by Arizona quarterback Derek Anderson, and the Seahawks turned it into another Mare field goal, from 23 yards.

Mare added his fifth field goal, a 19-yarder, made it 29-10 early in the fourth quarter.

Arizona came back with a 12-play, 78-yard scoring drive. Derek Anderson hitting Early Doucet with a two-yard TD pass, then passed for a two-point conversion to make it 29-18 with just under eight minutes left in the game.

Hasselbeck and Deon Butler hooked up on a 63-yard touchdown strike with 7:28 to go in the second quarter, the biggest play of a big first half that saw Hasselbeck complete 17 of 23 passes for 273 yards.

That quick strike came three plays after Arizona’s Jay Feely had tied the score 10-10 with a 23-yard field goal.

The Seahawks had a chance to widen the lead late in the half, but coach Pete Carroll gambled on fourth-and-one at the Arizona 16-yard line with 1:02 to go, and Hasselbeck was stopped for no gain.

Earlier, Mare kicked a 41-yard field goal to give the Seahawks a 10-7 lead earlier in the second quarter. The Seahawks moved from their own 16 to the Arizona 23 in seven plays following a Cardinals punt. Hasselbeck passes to Williams for 14 yards and Chris Baker for 23 yards were the key plays in the drive.

In the first quarter, the Seahawks marched 77 yards in 12 plays on their first possession of the game to pull even with the Cardinals, 7-7. Marshawn Lynch covered the final yard for the tying touchdown. Hasselbeck completed six of nine passes on the drive, including three to Williams covering 32, 10 and 11 yards.

Tim Hightower scored on a two-yard run to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead. The touchdown completed a 52 yard, six play drive set up when LaRod Stephens-Howling returned the opening kickoff 52 yards to the Arizona 48-yard line. The key play was a 33-yard pass from Derek Anderson to Larry Fitzgerald that gave Arizona the first down at the Seattle 2.