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The Setup
The week before, the Cards had scored two quick 1st quarter touchdowns and then let the defense take over to beat the Lions 14 - 6; holding Detroit to two first half field goals, no touchdowns and zero second-half points. Seattle had lost to KC 24 - 20; falling 3 games behind the Cardinals.
For them, the Cardinal game was a "do or die" deal playoff-wise. For the Cardinals, it was the opportunity to bury a division rival and be one win closer to cinching a playoff spot.

The Lede
Sucking in Seattle.

The Bottom Line:
Drew Stanton couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, his receivers had problems hanging onto the ball and defense - desperately trying to keep the game in reach - and felt forced to take too many risks that backfired. Result: Seattle 19 - Cards 3. Questions in the aftermath of the loss: Are the Cardinals suffering from a chronic case of "offensive anemia" (they've scored a whopping 3 points during their last seven quarters of football)? Or is this merely a small bump in the road to the playoffs)? Can they fix Stanton's faulty mechanics and insconsistent accuracy and the dropsie epidemic running through the Cardinal receiving corps (which, incidently, should include Ellington)? Or is this the best we can expect for the duration of the season.

Game Recap
It is amazing that the Cardinals were still in the football game for as long as they were. Our offense kept handing Seattle the ball with phenominal field position only to have the defense rise to the occasion and keep them out of the end zone. Meanwhile, the number of times Cards were held to three & out must have set some sort of NFL record. Unfortunately, the Cardinal defense - after three quarters of bending - finally "broke" in the 4th quarter, with its fans treated to the spectacle of Card defenders chasing after Russell Wilson and other Seattle ball carriers in valiant attempts to keep them from picking up key first downs. (A statistical clue to all this shows up in Time of Possession (with Seattle enjoying a 35:27 to 24:33 edge).

1st Quarter
  • Cards received. Ginn returned the KO to his own 14. On the first play from scrimmage, Ellington ran left in an apparent attempt to cutback off left tackle only to be nailed for a 4-yard loss by a gap-shooting Kevin Williams setting up a 3 & out. Butler's punt was returned 11 yards to the Cardinal 49. A 17-yard completion to Moeaki set up a bunch of nickel and dime stuff (featuring a heavy dose of Lynch) that wound up on the Cardinal 9-yard line where Hauschka's 27 yard FG attempt was good. Seattle 3 - Cards 0.

  • Ginn returned the KO to the Cardinal 23. Cooper brought in as an eligible receiver. Other than a defensive pass interference call, the Cards were unable to gain any more than 5 yards on any down. Drive ended at the Seattle 31. Catanzaro's 49-yard FG attempt was wide right. Seattle took over at their own 39 and lost minus-7 yards on the way to going 3 & out. Ryan's punt was downed at the Cardinal 10. Other than a 13-yard completion to John Brown, the Cards couldn't get anything going and Butler's 37-yard punt was returned to the Seattle 44. A 48-yard completion to Lockette put the ball at the Cardinal 8 as the quarter ended.

1st Quarter Score: Seattle 3 - Cards 0.

2nd Quarter
  • Two sacks (one for minus-6 by Campbell and the other for minus-9 by Bucannon) forced Seattle to settle for a 32-yard FG. Seattle 6 - Cards 0.

  • TB on the KO. After Stanton hit Ellington for +15 up the middle, his pass intended for John Brown was intercepted by Maxwell and returned to the Cardinal 48. But the Cardinal defense once again rose to the occasion and a minus-6 yard sack by Calais Campbell forced Seattle to settle for another FG - this one from 52-yards out. Seattle 9 - Cards 0.

    TB on the KO. A minus-7 yard sack by Avril led to a Cardinal 3 & out. Butler punted 35 yards out of bounds. Seattle took over on the Cardinal 48 (talk about playing with fire!!!). Seattle suffered through a holding penalty and two sacks (one for Campbell for minus-7 and the other by Kelly for minus-3) but Hauschka's 49-yard FG attempt was blocked by Kelly. Cards' defense bailed us out again. Cardinal ball at our own 21. Stanton then engineered what would be the only long Cardinal drive of the afternoon, reaching the Seattle 9-yard line in 11 plays before the drive fizzled and we had to settle for a 23-yard Catanzaro FG (& avoid a shutout). Seattle 9 - Cards 3.

    TB on the KO. 0:14 left. Wilson took a knee.

First Half Score: Seattle 9 - Cards 3.

3rd Quarter
  • Seattle received. KO was returned to the Seattle 11. Okafor's minus-10 yard sack contributed to a Seattle 3 & out. (Good way to start the 2H). But Stanton couldn't get anything going (losing 3-yards scrambling around LE and throwing incomplete left to John Brown). Butler's punt was then blocked. Ball rolled out of bounds at the Cardinal 24. Once again. the Cardinal defense rose to the occasion forced Seattle into a 3 & out and another Hauschka FG (this one from 40 - what are we doing only 9-points down midway thru the 4Q)? Seattle 12 - Cards 3.

  • TB on the KO. Cards went 3 & out again. Butler's punt was fair caught at the Seattle 25. Completions of +11 yards to Moeaki, +10 to Norwood plus a 15-yard scramble by Wilson helped set up a 20-yard TD pass to Helfet. (It was that scramble by Wilson that signalled the beginning of "desperation-time" for the Cardinal defense; replete with overrun plays, whiffed sack-attempts, missed tackles and ignored coverage responsibility). Seattle 19 - Cards 3.

    TB on the KO. A holding penalty (that negated a 10-yard completion to Floyd) pushed the Cards back to their own 10-yard line, but a 33-yard completion to John Brown followed by a pass (short-left) to Ellington moved us out to our 43 as the quarter ended.

Third Quarter Score: Seattle 19 - Cards 3.

4th Quarter
  • An offensive holding call on Housler took us out of FG range. Butler's 19-yard punt was fair caught at the Seattle 19. A minus-13 yard sack by Minter helped stall the next Seattle drive at its own 45. Ryan's punt went out of bounds at the Cardinal 9. On the next drive - after a 15-yard completion to John Brown and an 8-yard Stanton scramble, Stanton was sacked by Avril to set up another Butler punt. It went for 36-yards and was fair caught at the Seattle 32 with 6:53 left.

  • The frustrated Cardinal offense - who looked like they were playing school-yard tag with Wilson and other Seattle ball-carriers - never got to see the ball again. Seattle reeled off 11 plays capped by a Wilson knee

Final Score: Seattle 19 - Cards 3.

Game Stats.

  • Passing Efficiency: Stanton went 14 for 26, 149 yards and 0 TD's. He threw 1 interception. (Wilson threw 22 times, completing 17 for 1 TD and 0 interceptions).

  • Run Game: Cards were held to a total of 64 yards on 20 carries and held Seattle to 124 yards on 29 carries. Ellington gained 24 yards on 10 carries. (Lynch picked up 39 yards on 15 carries).

  • Receiving: Ellington led the team in catches with 5 for 39-yards followed by the "Brown boys" (Smokey had 3 catches for 61 yards. J-Ron had 3 grabs for 24) and Carlson (3 catches for 25 yards). Conspicuous by his absence was Michael Floyd who was shut out.
  • Defense: Seahawks gained 293 total net yards (124 on the ground and 169 thru the air).

  • Cardinal Run/Pass Ratio: Runs: 20/Passes: 26.

  • Sacks: Stanton was sacked three times. Cards sacked Wilson 7 times. (Campbell led the team with 3 sacks followed by Kelly, Minter, Okafor and Bucannon with 1 each).

  • Leading Cardinal Tacklers: R Johnson 9, Campbell 6, Foote 6, Bucannon 6, Minter 5.

  • Field Goals: Catanzaro went one for two..

  • Turnover Ratio: -1. Stanton's one interception (vs. 0 by Wilson). No fumbles lost or recovered by either team.

  • Penalties: Seattle was penalized 7 times. Cards were flagged 3 times.

  • 3rd Down Efficiency: Cards converted 25.0% (3 for 112). Seattle converted 38.4% (5 of 13).

  • Time of Possession: Us - 24:33/Them: 35:27

Bright Spots

  • The Cardinal defense (at least for three quarters of the game).

  • John Brown is more than just a one-game wonder. His toe-tapping footwork is a work of art.

  • Seven sacks.

  • 19 points is pretty decent.

The Dark Side

  • Stanton missed wide open receivers all day.

  • Are Stanton's problems due mainly to poor mechanics and ignored footwork and therefore correctable?. Or is this the best we can expect from him.

  • We now know how our defense can "blow up" when gets desperate, ignores individual responsibilities and winds up chasing Wilson and other ballcarriers all over the field.

  • Too many drops of catchable balls by receivers (see dropped TD pass by Brown).

  • Where was Michael Floyd yesterday?

  • Butler had another one blocked and also isn't hitting many coffin corners either.

Last Word:
It would have been nice to win this one and put another nail in the Seahawks coffing. Didn't happen. This makes next week's game in Atlanta all the more important (other than that, our remaining games are with division rivals plus KC). Big issue has to be: "Is this the best we can expect to get from Stanton?" We got 2-quarters of unreal production from our defense - and it kept us in the game for a lot longer than we deserved to get, but we're going to need more than 14 points followed by 3 points from our offense led by Stanton if we're to remain a legitimate contender. It will be up to Cardinal "QB whisperers" (Arians and Moore) to get Drew straightened out and flying right. (This is what they're paid for - the season will probably ride on how successful they are). Meanwhile - Atlanta appears beatable, but we've still got to go out and prove it. Onward!

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012