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Sunday Night Football. Both teams were coming off big wins (The Cards had convincingly whipped the Jets 28 - 3 to reach .500. Seattle had benefitted from a lucky 4Q break to defeat the Falcones 26 - 24). This is a matchup of divisional powerhouses, with the Cards seeking to stay on the favorable side of .500 and Seattle seeking to widen their NFC West lead.
Cards - Seattle: 6 - 6 in OT.
The Bottom Line:
They say "a good team finds ways to win." You could also say that the reverse is true (i.e. "bad teams find ways to lose"....er....well, in this case "tie"). After a scoreless 1Q, the Cards finally grabbed a 3 pt lead in the second quarter off a 46-yard Catanzaro FG and carried it till 4:00 in the the 1Q, when Steven Hauschka's FG attempt was good from 40 yards.
A blocked punt by the Seahawks late in the 4Q set up the tying FG with roughly 4:00 left in regulation to make it 3 - 3. In OT, the Cards kicked the first FG, only to have the Seahawks answer right back with one of their own to tie it back up 6-6. Later in OT, both teams had an opportunity to win the game with chipshot FG's, but both kickers amazingly, whiffed. Time ran out, no team lost and no team won. (Brings back memories of a rainy Card-Giant 20-20 tie on MNF a gazillion years ago - dubbed by some: "the ugliest contest in NFL history").
Both statistically and in real-life play, the Cards pretty much controlled the action, but there were a few specific occasions when they left points on the field - (reinforcing this writer's claim that there are a handfull of players on the Cardinals who will cost the team games. (I am reluctant to call any of these guys "coach killers, because that term suggests a "lack of effort." Not so, IMHO: There are other reasons why a player blows up an assignment, whiffs on a tackle or fails to execute. All I'm saying is "it is what it is" and it's costing us at least 2 football games.
In the end, the Cards wind up still in the playoff hunt, but now having to "play uphill" (i.e. they're still a couple of games behind the Seahawks. Their remaining game with Seattle is in Seattle). But we did put together 60+ minutes of solid football - containing Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham and that Baldwin guy, committing no turnovers and holding a quality NFL team to 6-points.
In nearly every other scenario, we win this game. In the only scenario that counts, we were betrayed by our special teams. (In the NFL, "everything counts").
Both teams were scoreless in the 1Q. Cards opened up a 3-point lead in the 2Q and were unable to put additional points on the board and allowed Seattle to come back and tie us at the 4:00 mark in the 4Q. Both teams had an opportunity to win it in OT, but both kickers missed chipshots from inside the thirty. Cards also missed an earlier FG attempt and had a punt blocked early in the 4Q. Final score was 6 - 6. (Woulda Coulda).
Cards won the toss and received. TB on KO. Offensive PI flag on Floyd derailed the opening drive. Cards punted from midfield. Downed at the Sea 17.Cards held Seahawks to 3 & out.
Cards picked up a quick 1st down, but Palmer botched a Quigley puntedsnap (what's with that?) & four plays later, the Cards punted from their own 44. Punt was downed at the Jets 9. Cards held Jets to 3 & out. Teams exchanged additional 3 & outs. Cards made it into Seattle territory but Palmer was sacked. Punt was downed at the Seattle 1. Seattle again went 3 & out. Peterson returned punt to the Seattle 33 and Palmer scrambled to the Seattle 25 to end the quarter.
1st Quarter Score: Cardinals 0 - Seattle 0.
Cards couldn't get passed the Seahawk 20. Catanzaro's 39-yard FG attempt was blocked by Wagner. Seattle took over on their own 31 but couldn't get past their own 44 and punted. Punt returned to the Card 19. Palmer put together a 15 play drive resulting in a 46-yard Catanzaro FG. (Longest play was a pass - short right pass to D Johnson for +15 yds). Cardinals 3 - Seattle 0.
KO returned to the Seattle17. A holding call derailed the Seattle possession. Golden returned the punt to the Card 25. Cards marched to the Seattle 25 in 9 plays, but Palmer was sacked on the 10th. His fumble was recovered by Watford, but - for some strange reason - offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties caused the clock to run out.
First Half Score: Cardinals 3 - Seattle 0.
Seattle received.KO returned to the Seattle 28. A couple of Seattle penalties caused the Seattle possession to end at their own 43. Punt went out of bounds at the Cardinal 24.A couple of additional Seattle penalties helped move the Cards to the Seattle 28, but a false start penalty on Gresham helped set up a 4th & 1 at the Seattle 19. (Strange play call - D Johnson couldn't pick up the yardage.
Seattle took over on their own 19 and Seattle went 3 & ut. Punt returned to the Card 20. A 24-yard completion to Nelson crossed midfield as the quarter ended. .
Third Quarter Score: Cardinals 3 - Seattle 0.
Cards managed to reach the Seattle 37, but a 23-yard run off right end by D Johnson was nullified by a holding penalty on Floyd. Quigley punted from his own 39. Fair catch at the Seattle 7. Cards kept Seattle bottled up and they piunted from their own 15. Downed at the Seattle 49. 3 & out. TB on the punt.
On the second play of the Seattle possession, C Jones sacked Wilson. Fumble recovered by Seattle at the 1-yard line. The two teams exchanged 3 & outs. A 9-yard D Johnson run off LT was nullified by a holding call on Gresham. This was followed by a minus- 9 yd sack of Palmer. Quigley's punt was blocked. Seattle ball on the AZ 22 with 4:33 left in regulation. Hauschka's 40-yard FG from the 22 was good. Cardinals 3 - Seattle 3.
TB on the KO. Palmer sacked for minus-8 on the second play of the possession, but connects with Floyd for +16 to secure a first down. Drive stalls with on the Card 46 1:16 left at the AZ 46. Punt returned to the Sea 23. They make it to the their own 48 (near FG range) but lose 20 yards on 2 offensive holding penalties before the clock runs out.
Final Regulation Score: Cardinals 3 - Seattle 3.
Cards received. TB on KO. They reach the Seattle 32 on an 18-yard completion to Floyd. Three plays later, Palmer hits Floyd in the numbers for an apparent first down inside the twenty, but Floyd drops it, and the Cards settle for a 45-yard FG attempt by Catanzaro's from the Seattle 27. Try is good. Cardinals 6 - Seattle 3.
TB on the KO. Completions of +13 and +14 yards to Graham help set up a Hauschka 36 yard FG from the Card 18. Cardinals 6 - Seattle 6.
TB on the KO. Palmer hit Momah for +27. Cards make it to the Seattle 5, and it looks as though D Johnson hits the end zone stanchion in-bounds on a run down the left sideline. But he's ruled out of bounds at the one. He fails to pick up the one yard on a run up the middle and Arians elects to kick the winning FG. After a penalty moves the Cards back to the Seahawk 6, Catanzaro's 24-yd FG attempt is wide-left.
Seattle (after what seemed to be 30+ minutes of TV footage showing Pete Carroll gloating) takes over on its own 20-yard line. A 31-yard completion to Kearse on the 3rd play of the drive and a 27-yard pass to Baldwin on the 6th play ets up up a 28-yard Hauschka chip shot from the 10. Hauschk is (surprise!) wide left. Two Hail Mary's later, time runs out. Game over.
Final Score in OT - Cardinals 6 - Seattle 6.
Notable Game Stats.
Passing: Palmer was 29 for 49 342 yards 0 TD and 0 Interceptions. (Wilson was 24 for 37, 225 yds, 0 TD's and 0 picks).
Rushing: D Johnson gained 113 yards on 33 carries & 0 TD's.. (Seattle held to 52 yards on ground. Michael picked up 52 yds on 16 carries).
Receiving: Fitz led with 9 grabs (70). D Johnson caught 8 for 58 yards.Floyd had 5 catches for 65 yards. Nelson caught 3 for 84.. (Baldwin caught 6 for 69 yds. Graham held to 5 catches for 53.).
Turnovers: 0. (Neither team gave up fumbles or interceptions).
Penalties: Cards 6/Seattle 10.
Run/Pass Ratio: Cards: 37/49 (Seattle: 19//37)
Kicking: Catanzaro was 2 for 4 on FG's. (Hauschka was 2 for 3).
Net Punting Yards: Quigley averaged 26.1. (Ryan averaged 42.3)
Tackles: Only 13 Cardinals are listed on defense. Bucannon led the team with 13 tackles followed by Cooper (8) and Minter (7).
Sacks: Cards sacked Wilson one time (C Jones).Seattle sacked Palmer 4 times (Avril 2.5 and Clark 1.5).
Interceptions: Neither Palmer or Wilson were picked off.
Third Down Efficiency: Cards were 10 of 21 for 47%. (Sea was 3 of 14 for 21%). As meaningful as the actual conversions were the opportunities (Cards had 21 opportunities/Seattle just 14).
Red Zone Efficiency: Cards were 0 of 2 - 0%. (Sea was 0 of 2 for 0%).
Time of Possession: Cards 46:21/Seattle 228:39
Card rush defense gave up a 4.5 yds per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 4.9)
Palmer - Zero Interceptions.No fumbles. Pretty accurate
JJ Nelson - When needed he delivered
David Johnson is had another 100+ yard rushing game/ equally as important as a receiver.
Rushing edge 132 rushing yards vs. 52 for Seattle.
Pass rushers remained disciplined and, although only C Jones had a sack, forced Wilson to huyrry or throw away his throws. Wilson's scrambles seldom, if ever, hurt us.
Momah's long reception suggests he's beginning to become a factor.
Consistently sure open-field tackling by the Cardinal secondary.
Defensive production was outstanding for second game in a row.
The Dark Side
Palmer will still throw off his back foot.
Ellington more often than not gets stood up running between the tackles.
When counted on, certain players on the roster will let you down, and it's costing us wins. Sometimes it's a dropped pass. Sometimes a penalty that nullfies a long gain. Or a missed FG. Or a blocked punt. Key offenders (Note - A common characteristic - they'll make enough plays to keep their jobs, but will let you down when you most need them). SIngled out: Floyd, Gresham, Catanzaro, Quigley and Humphries.
Officiating (though even-handed) was a bit funky - biggest problem: missed "hands"/"roughness" calls on Seattle. We're still shaking our heads wondering why D Johnson hit the end zone stanchion but was was ruled out of bounds
- Memo to BA: Still think you can fill Special Teams rosters "on the cheap?"
I'm still not seeing many hands up on the pass rush.
Gotta call from an old buddy who was wondering how I felt about the tie (including the 2 missed FG's). As I responded, it gradually dawned on me that (1) emotionally, a tie is as bad as a loss. (2) I felt good that, despite the score, the Cards matched up well with (hell! better than) the fabled Seahawks and (3) played solid, relatively mistake-free football for the second week in a row.
We're not sure why the NFL suits (i.e. Football Gods) set it up this way, but - coming off a slightly shortened workweek the Cards get the privilege of playing the champion Panthers (who are coming off a Bye!@#$%) next Sunday. Tall order. Cam Newton may be returning just in time to threaten us.
The Playoff (Playoffs?!!) - wise, we have our work cut out for us. We're still more than a game behind the Seahawks and if we want to even the score with the "Hawks to make a run at the NFC title, we'll have to beat them at their house.
The experience of suffering through a winnable game turned sour teaches us this: When you have specific players with tangible weaknesses, those weaknesses - regardless of whether they appear to be corrected - will, more often than not - show up later to bite you in the proverbial butt and cost you more than a couple of football games.
See you next Sunday. (If I had a sister, I guess it might be an appropriate time to kiss her).