SEATTLE (AP) — Kenneth Walker III wanted to honor mentor Rashaad Penny in his first start.
The Seattle rookie did just that, rushing for 97 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to lead the Seahawks to a 19-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The Seahawks (3-3) jumped into a share of the lead in the NFC West with San Francisco, which lost earlier Sunday at Atlanta. And they did it with an unproven feature back in Walker, who took over after Penny broke his left leg last week.
“I wanted to play for Shaad, because that’s a guy who always supported me behind closed doors. He was like my biggest fan and he always wanted to see me do good. Nowadays you don’t get that a lot of the time,” said Walker, a second-round pick out of Michigan State who had a season-high 21 carries.
There weren’t enough superlatives for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to describe the rookie.
“I thought Ken Walker was showing how legit he is,” Carroll said. “He’s really a special runner, and he’s going to have marvelous, miraculous runs. It’s going to shock you with the things he does.”
Geno Smith completed 20 of 31 passes for 197 yards for Seattle. He also ran for 48 yards on six carries. Jason Myers kicked four field goals for the Seahawks.
Kyler Murray completed 23 of 37 passes for 222 yards with an interception, while rushing for 100 yards for the Cardinals (2-4), who couldn’t score even when they moved the ball effectively.
“We can’t finish. That’s the moral of the story right now,” Murray said. “We’re not finishing drives. Not putting the ball in the end zone. Can’t win like that.”
Matt Ammendola made a 23-yard field goal to cap Arizona’s first drive, the first time all season the Cardinals scored in the first quarter. But Arizona didn’t score again in the first half, and Chris Banjo’s fumble recovery in the end zone led to its lone touchdown in the third quarter.
The Cardinals were also hurting at running back. James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) were ruled out. Jonathan Ward (hamstring) was put on injured reserve this week.
The Seahawks, who had the league’s worst run defense heading into the game, held Arizona to 144 yards on the ground. Seattle sacked Murray six times.
“Routine plays that we make in practice and how we do it in practice has to carry over to the games and right now it’s not,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
Rookie Cameron Thomas’ third-down sack of Smith stalled the Seahawks’ opening drive, leading to Myers’ 39-yard field goal. Myers added a 27-yarder to give the Seahawks a 6-3 lead, then made a 34-yarder just before halftime.
Although helped by a pair of Arizona penalties, including a flag for roughing the passer, the Seahawks settled for Myers’ 32-yarder to extend the lead to 12-3 in the third quarter.
On Arizona’s next drive, rookie Tariq Woolen recovered Murray’s fumble on the Seattle 19. But the Seahawks couldn’t capitalize, and Arizona forced punter Michael Dickson to fumble in the end zone. Banjo recovered for a touchdown that made it 12-9, but Ammendola missed the extra point.
Woolen also intercepted Murray in the fourth quarter. It was his fourth consecutive game with a pick, tying a team record.
Arizona had won five of its last seven trips to Seattle, including last year’s 23-13 win.
Arizona LG Justin Pugh had to be helped off the field with a knee injury at the end of the first quarter. He did not return and wore a brace after the game. … OLB Dennis Gardeck left early in the second half with an ankle injury. … WR Marquise Brown hurt his left ankle late in the game and had to be helped to the locker room. The Cardinals’ leading receiver had five catches for 68 yards. Brown said afterward that X-rays were negative.
RING OF HONOR
Seattle inducted Shaun Alexander into its Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony, the 15th member of the organization to be honored. Alexander, a first-round draft pick in 2000 out of Alabama, spent eight of his nine NFL seasons in Seattle. He was the league MVP in 2005 when he rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns, helping lead the Seahawks to their first NFC championship and Super Bowl appearance. Alexander finished his career in Seattle with 9,453 yards rushing and 100 touchdowns.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
The game was played as scheduled after the Seattle Mariners lost to the Houston Astros in 18 innings on Saturday, ending their season. Had the Mariners won and forced a Game 4 in the American League Division Series, the start of the NFL game was set to be moved back by 90 minutes to avoid crowd issues at the adjacent downtown stadiums.
Cardinals: Host the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Seahawks: Visit the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.
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