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The Setup
"Sunday night nationally televised contest. Both teams coming off a bye week. A Cardinal win would give them a 3-game lead over their Seattle-based division rival. A loss would narrow the Cardinal lead to one game and leave them vulnerable to losing that lead when they play Seattle at home on the final week of the regular season. Although the Seahawks remained the main competitor in the NFC West, they hadn't been as dominating as they had been in previous years. One "inside football" key to the game was the health of center Lyle Sendlein who'd normally make all the line calls in what is considered the loudest stadium in pro football.

The Lede
Cards Bounce Back to Beat Seattle on the Road....

The Bottom Line:
The Cards didn't look especially dominant during the first quarter of the game, but caugh fire on both sides of the ball to open up a 19 - 0 lead and carry a 22 - 7 margin into the lockers at halftime. But Seattle came storming back to close the gap and - on the basis of a crushing ground game and two strip-sacks - took the lead for the first time early in the 4Q. Clearly the momentum was with the Seahawks, but the Cardinal defense stiffened and Carson Palmer somehow rallied his offense just enough to put 14 fourth quarter points on the board to secure the Cardinal win.

Game Recap

1st Quarter
  • Cards won toss and received. Cards were held to 3 & out. Lockett fair caught the punt at his own 33. A face-mask penalty forced Seattle to punt from its own 41. Ball downed at the Cardinal 19. Cards sustained a 7:52 drive that resulted in nothing. (Here's the yards by play sequence: +6, +10, +12, +3, NG, +15, +2, NG, +5,+3, +9, +2, +13, NG, NG, Interception).

    Seattle took over on their own 20, but penalties pushed them back to their own 15. Peterson returned the punt to the Seattle 49. Palmer hit Fitz for +22 and Johnson gained 2-yards to end the quarter.

1st Quarter Score: Cards 0 - Seattle 0.

2nd Quarter
  • A 13-yard pass to Fitz was mostly negated by a minus-8 yard run by C Johnson. Cards were able to reach the Seattle 15 where Catsanzaro booted a 33-yard FG. Cards 3 - Seattle 0.

    T Lockett returned the KO to his own 22, After a holding penalty After a holding penalty pushed Seattle back to its own 12-yard line, Wilson bumped into his own blocker during a scramble and coughed up the ball. It bounced off Okeafor's hands in the end zone but was recovered by Seattle in the end zone for a safety. Cards 5 - Seattle 0.

    Peterson returned the free kick to his own 41. Palmer then put together a 10-play 5:33 touchdown drive capped by a 27-yard deep right pass (over Sherman) for the TD.Cards 12 - Seattle 0.

    TB on the KO. An offensive holding flag contributed to a Seattle 3 & out. Peterson ran back the punt to the Seattle 45. On the third play from scrimmage, Palmer hit Floyd deep left. The Cardinal receiver tip-toed down the left sideline and managed to touch the pylon before going out of bounds. Orginal ruling (that he went out of bounds) was reversed. Touchdown Cardinals! Cards 19 - Seattle 0.

    4:02 till halftime (aka "the Withcing Hour"). TB on the KO. Wilson connected on a deep left pass (over Powers) to Richardson for +40 yards. A pass interference call (on Mathieu) set up a one-yard TD run by Tukuafu. Cards 19- Seattle 7.

    1:52 till the half. TB on the KO. Completions of +11 (Floyd), +19 (Fitz) and some shorter stuff helped move the Cards to the Seahawk 25, where Catanzaro was good from 43-yards with zero left on the clock. (Although it didn't seem so at the time, this was a critical drive that helped shape the outcome of the game). Cards 22- Seattle 7.

First Half Score: Cards 22- Seattle 7.

3rd Quarter
  • T Lockett returned the opening 2H kickoff to his own 22. After an incompletion, they sent Lynch off RG for +16 and Rawls off LT for +13. (It looked as if Seattle had decided to run the Cards right out of the stadium). But Pete Carroll went back to his short-passing attack and (after Wislon was sacked by Bucannon) the drive fizzled at the Cardinal 13 and the Cards were happy to escape with 3-point damage from a 31-yard Hauschka FG. Cards 22- Seattle 10.

    D Johnson returned the KO to the Cardinal 17. After Palmer hit Fitz for +21, we went 3 & out. Butler's punt was fair caught at the Seattle 14. On the second play from scrimmage, Wilson's pass for Baldwin was intercepted by the Badger and returned to the Seattle 36. Cards managed to reach the Seattle 25 before settling for another Catanzaro FG (this one from 43-yards). Cards 25- Seattle 10.

    T Lockett returned the KO to his own 31. After a 33-yard pass to Baldwin (who outran Bucannon) and Freeney and Minter shared a 10-yard sack, Wilson hit Baldwin deep left for a 32-yard score. Cards 25- Seattle 17.

    (It was somewhere around now that Iupati was injured, and - after that - it was like a whole lot of air was released like a "whoosh!" and it took awhile for the Cards to regain their sense of balance).

    D Johnson returned the KO to his own 19. A false start flag on Watford negated what would have been a nice pickup. On the next play, Palmer was nearly sacked and flagged for intentional grounding. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (on an unnamed Cardinal) on the punt gave Seattle the ball on its own 43. A series of penalties, challenges and reversals ended up with Seattle punting from its own 48. Punt was out of bounds at the Cardinal 19. C Johnson picked up 5-yards to end the quarter.

Third Quarter Score: Cards 25- Seattle 17.

4th Quarter
  • On the second play of the quarter, Avril came in unmolested from the right (where was Massie?) to strip-sack Palmer. After (still another) lengthy review, ball was ruled down at the Cardinal 3. Lynch - on a second and third effort - rambled up the middle for a 3-yard score. Two-point attempt failed. Cards 25- Seattle 23.

    Johnson returned the KO to the Cardinal 13. Five plays later, it was Dejavu etc. etc. This time, K Wright came rambling through the A-Gap to nail and unprotected Palmer. Fumble! Touchdown! Seattle gains the lead for the first time. Two-point conversion failed (again). Seattle 29 - Cards 25

    KO returned to the Cardinal 17. Check out the following drive: To Fitz: +15; Inc.; To Fitz: +6; To Floyd: +10; Inc.; Inc.; Illegal Contact Penalty; To: Jar Brown: +20 (huge catch); To Gresham: +14 & a TD). Cards 32 - Seattle 29.

    KO muffed and downed at the Seattle 9. A grounding call on a near-sack by Gunter contributed to a Seattle punt from midfield. Fair catch at the Cardinal 20. 6:02 left to play. Short gains of +6; +1; +8; +7; +4; +2 and +4 made it 3rd & 4 at the Seattle 48. Palmer slipped the ball to Ellington on a draw and the Cardinal RB skipped down the left sideline for a 48-yard score to pretty much ice it (though we admit to keeping our fingers crossed).. Cards 39 - Seattle 29.

    1:58 left. Lockett returned the KO to his own 32.WIth 1:03 left and 3rd & 2 at the Cardinal 28, Seattle opted to kick a FG and rely on an on-side kick to get the ball back for a final TD drive. 46-yard FG was good. Cards 39 - Seattle 32.

    Onside kick was recovered by Fitzgerald. Three knees. Game over. We'll take it.

Final Score: Cards 39 - Seattle 32.

Game Stats.

  • Passing: Palmer was 29 for 48 (363 yards, 3 TD's and 1 pick). Cards held Wilson to 14 of 32 (240 yards, 1 TD's and 1 pick).

    Takeaways: Cards minus-2. Palmer and Wilson were each picked off once. Palmer fumbled twice (from sacks). No other fumbles from each team.

  • Rushing: Cards gained 117 net yards (3.5 ypc). Seattle runners were held to 115 (6.4 ypc). C Johnson gained 58 yards; Ellington gained 61. We held Lynch to 42-yards. Wilson scrambled for 52.
  • Receiving: Fitz caught 10 for 130-yards and a TD. Floyd picked up 113 yards and 2 TD's on 7 catches.

  • Cardinal Run/Pass Ratio: . (Runs: 33/Pass: 48). Seattle Run/Pass Ratio: 18/32).

  • Bucannon led the Cards with 7 tackles. Mathieu was next with 6.

  • Sacks - Cards had 2 (Bucannon had one; I'm not sure who had the other). Seattle got to Palmer three times.

    Situational Efficiency: Cards converted 8 of 17 third downs (47%).Seattle was 1 of 8 (12%). Cards were 1 of 3 in the Red Zone (33%). Seattle was 2 of 3 for 66%

    Penalties: Cards were penalized 9 times for 71 yards (Seattle was penalized 14 times for 131 yds).

    Time of Possession: Cards 38:52 - Seattle 21:08

Bright Spots

  • Iupati (who was carted off the field with an apparently serious neck injury was cleared medically and flew back to Phoenix on the team plane). Sendlein was able to play.

    We're 7 & 2 (three games ahead of Seattle and the Rams at 4 & 5).

    We beat Seahawks at their place.

    After blowing a 19-point lead, we took back the momentum and won going away.

    Floyd and Fitz both had huge days. (Floyd had a couple of especially sensational catches/Fitz" Well we expect that from Fitz).

    And when Floyd (hammy) went down, Jar Brown stepped up and made a couple of huge plays.

    The Ellington draw-play playcall was a work of art.

    We held Lynch and Rawls to 61-yards on the ground.

The Dark Side

  • Poor OL communications (Massey? Cooper? cost us 14-points. (Who was that, on a bull-rush) put Cooper on roller skates
  • Powers is best in a run stopping role, but can be picked on by speedier receivers.

    Poor contain of Wilson (especially up the middle)

    We're very lucky that Seattle never continued to press its run-game after opening up the 3rd quarter. We warned you that Rawls was a load to bring down. (We also had trouble tackling a gentleman by the name of Lynch).

  • Okeafor will probably be needled endlessly for having "wooden hands" in the end zone. (Lucky we won. Cost us 4-points).

Last Word:
We beat the bullies on the road and had to come from behind to do it. But I don't think anyone thinks this is the final chapter of putting that 800-pound gorilla to rest - we will have to prove it on the field each time we play Seattle. It's just two teams going out there with the objective of kicking the other team's ass. This win over Seattle showed fans, coaches, front office, media and players what we're made of - i.e. how this team deals with adversity. Big challenge in weeks to come will change - it will have more to do with how this team deals with success (i.e. will we take our foot off the gas or will we keep the pedal floored 24/7)? Sic 'em!

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