SEATTLE -- The final installment of the Colt McCoy trilogy came with a satisfying and happy ending.
With starting quarterback Kyler Murray sitting out the final game before the bye with his ankle injury, McCoy made his third straight start one to remember, an efficient 23-13 road win at Lumen Field against the Seahawks to push the Cardinals to 6-0 on the road this year.
McCoy won two of three in Murray's absence. Not that he was reveling in it afterward.
"To be honest, it's my responsibility," he said. "When your number is called, that's my role."
His role was to get Murray an extra two weeks of rest. The Cardinals (9-2) now get a much-needed break for a week, and also dumped the Seahawks (3-7) deeper into the NFC West basement.
Murray should return healthy, but if the Cardinals have to turn to McCoy again, they will have confidence – not like they didn't already.
"These past three weeks have been fun," said tight end Zach Ertz, who had two touchdown catches. "Everyone knew what a great mentor he's be for Kyler, but he's a great football player, and people should never take that for granted."
McCoy ended up 35 of 44 for 328 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers and played exactly the kind of game the Cardinals needed, especially after a loss to Carolina a week prior in which and the rest of the Cards played poorly.
Murray was close to returning this week, and that again was something McCoy was mindful of – but his preparation never changes anyway.
"Good teams bounce back from (bad losses," McCoy said. "I didn't know if I'd be part of that this week.
"I'm glad I was able to respond."
The Cardinals had everything work out right for them Sunday. The Rams (7-3) were off, so they gained another half-game on their division rival. The Cowboys lost to the Chiefs and the Packers lost to the Vikings, the latter result meaning the Cardinals are back as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Sitting on top of the conference wouldn't be possible without their road success. Not only have the Cards taken each of their six road trips, they have done so handily, their 10-point margin Sunday the slimmest of all the victories.
It could have gone sideways Sunday. Kicker Matt Prater missed two field goals inside 40 yards, his first such misses of the season, and also an extra point – seven points that could've been crucial. Tackle Kelvin Beachum got a surprising unnecessary roughness penalty, offsetting a pass interference in the end zone before one of the Prater misses.
McCoy even had an almost-miscue, an interception that at first looked like it would give the Seahawks the ball on the Arizona 11 yard-line before replay overturned it into an incompletion.
"We know these NFL games are roller-coaster rides," wide receiver A.J. Green said. "We didn't flinch."
After the Seahawks scored a touchdown to pull within 16-13, McCoy engineered one final touchdown drive. Overcoming the overturn of what would've been a 4-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk when replay said Kirk was out of bounds, McCoy pulled off a throw to tight end Zach Ertz in the end zone that drew a pass interference call.
One play later, James Conner did his battering-ram thing for a one-yard, game-clinching touchdown.
"To not have those guys (Murray and Hopkins) in November at all play and (still) have the best record in football and be undefeated in the division, it says a lot about those coaches and players in that locker room, continuing to fight," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We've just got to keep getting better."
Ertz had his best game as a Cardinal, snaring eight receptions for 88 yards in addition to the PI. Conner was a workhorse with 26 touches, helping the Cardinals to 82- and 92-yard drives in the first half. Rookie Rondale Moore had 11 catches on 11 targets as a horizontal and short-passing option.
Defensively, the Cardinals were excellent. Chandler Jones led the way in one of his favorite places to play with two sacks, Markus Golden added one and the Cards were able to hold the Seahawks to 86 rushing yards and extended Seattle's quarters-without-a-touchdown streak to seven before the fourth-quarter score.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was only 14-for-26 for 207 yards, and wide receiver DK Metcalf was held to four catches for 31 yards, although fellow wideout Tyler Lockett did have four catches for 115.
"We're huntin'," said Jones, stealing a favorite phrase of Golden. "Unfortunately it was Russell today."
The bye will bring back Murray and Hopkins, among others. The Cardinals have their first winning season since 2015 locked up, and there is a lot of football left if the Cards go where they want to go. But first there is down time to enjoy – which even the workaholic coach will acknowledge.
"I feel tired," Kingsbury said with small smile. "I'm ready for Thanksgiving, sleep on the couch a bit. It's coming at a good time for all of us. We've got to get rejuvenated, recharged, healthy.
"To end it on this note and to have the good vibes moving into next week, it's great for everybody's spirit and psyche."