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The Setup
Road game for Cards & final contest of regular season. A Seattle win and an Atlanta loss could put Seahawks in the Playoffs. A Card are out of it, but a win would make them a .500 football team. There's nothing BA (& hopefully every Cardinal player) would like more than to knock Seattle out of contention. Both teams are banged up a lot. Offensively, Seattle has become somewhat one-dimensional. riding the shouiders of mobile QB Russell Wilson. Drew Stanton figures to start again for Cards. Last week, Seattle outdueled Dallas 21 - 12; Cards shut out the Giants 23 - 0. Questions swirling about the desert about whether this will be the last Cardinal game for Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Larry FItzgerald and others.

The Lede
Turnabout - Botched Seattle FG Gives Cards 26 - 24 Final Edge.


Answers to Unasked Questions:

  • We're a .500 football club who can beat Seattle at least half the time.

  • Both vets and youngsters played hard and effectively in what could be described as a meaningless game.

  • When it wants to, the defense can shut down just about any offense. ,.

  • The OL overachieved big time.

  • C Jones is the real deal and then some.

  • Fitz still has something left in the tank and a few things left to prove.

    Stanton can wiin games for us if we give him the right supporting cast

Game Recap
Cards scored on their opening drive only to give back a cheapie when they allowed Lockette to return the ensuing KO for a 99-yd touchdown. But AZ added a FG and a TD to expand their lead and completelu throttle the Seattle offense throughout the entire first half and build a 20 - 7 lead. Seahawks made halftime adjusments and managed to take 24 - 23 lead early in the 4th quarter. But the Cards managed to paste a final 3 points late in the 4Q and then breathe a sigh of relief as Walsh missed a fairly easy FG attempt - that would have won it - with 0:37 left to play. Cards beat Seattle in Seattle 26 - 24.

1st Quarter
  • Seattle won the toss and deferred. Cards returned the KO to their own 27. They mixed runs up the middle by K Williams and Penny (for +8, +7, +5 and +5 yards) with three short passes to Fitz to set up a 25-yard pass from Stanton - who rolled out far to his right and threw on the run to Jaron Brown running left-to-right at the back of the end zone. Cards 7 - Seattle 0.

    Lockette returned the ensuing KO 99 yards for a TD. Cards 7 - Seattle 7.

    Foster returned the ensuing KO to the Card 43. A 10-yd completion to Fitz helped set up a Dawson 49-yarder. Cards 10 - Seattle 7.

    TB on the KO. Seattle held to 3 & out. Punt FC at the Card 25. Cards picked up a quick first down before going 1-2-3-punt. TB on punt. Seattle - partly due to a minus-6 yd sack by C Jones - held again to 3 & out. Punt O-O-B at the Seattle 43. K Williams ran for +7 and +5 yds before the 1Q ended.

    1st Quarter Score: Cards 10 - Seattle 7.

2nd Quarter
  • Cards picked up +11, +9, +2 and +5 yards before Penny ran it up the middle for a 4-yd TD. Cards 17 - Seattle 7.
  • KO retrurned to Seattle 24. A 20-yd completion to Baldwin moved Seattle out to its own 44, but they were unable to move past their 40 and punted. TB on punt. Cards (despite an 18-yd completion to Nelson) were unable to move past their own 40. TB on the punt. Seattle held to 3 & out. Punt returned to Card 20. Cards held to 3 & out. Punt (net penalties)returned to Seattle 14. Seattle again held to 3 & out. Punt returned to Card 26 with 2:23 till halftime. Stanton put together an 8 play scoring drive capped by a 46-yd Stanton FG. (Pther Key Plays: A couple of short- completions to Fitz along with an interference call). Cards 20 - Seattle 7.
  • KO returned to Seattle 40. Another sack by C Jones followed by an incompletion followed by a sack by Pierre ended the 2nd quarter.
  • First Half Score: Cards 20 - Seattle 7.

3rd Quarter

  • Seahawks received. KO returned to Seattle 20. Seattle reached the Cardinal 18 in 9 plays before Wilson hit Baldwin for an 18-yd TD. (We're back down to a 6-pt game). Cards 20 - Seattle 14.

    KO returned to the Card 25. Two plays later, Stanton threw deep to a double-covered Jaron Brown. Pass intercepted and returned to Seattle 29. Cards held Seattle to 3 & out. Punt O-O-B at Card 46. A completion to Gresham helped set up a 53-yd Dawson FG. (Back to a 9-pt football game). Cards 23 - Seattle 14.

    KO returned to Seattle 28. On the first play from scrimmage, Davis ran up the middle for 33-yds. But and unsportsmanlike penalty on Rawls two plays later derailed the drive and Seattle punted on a 4th & 11 from the Cardinal 41. FC by Peterson at Card 11. Three & out. Punt returned by Lockette to Seattle 40. Quarter ended; Seattle ball 3rd & 4 at ita own 46.

    Third Quarter Score: Cards 23 - Seattle 14.

4th Quarter
  • A 14 yd completion to McKissic set up a successful 49-yd Walsh FG try. (we're back to a 6-pt game). Cards 23 - Seattle 17.
  • TB on KO. A roughing the passer penalty on Clark gave the Cards good field position but they were forced to punt from their own 39. Punt returned by Lockette to the Seattle 40. On the first play of the series, Wilson hit Baldwin deep right for a 29-yd TD. (Backdoor fade caught by Baldwin vs. Peterson in corner of end zone. Seattle gained lead for first time. Seattle 24 - Cards 23.l
  • 10:24 left. TB on KO. Three & Out. Punt returned to Seattle 35. Three and out. Punt downed at Cardinal 14 with 7:11 on the clock. Stanton sacked on first play, but another roughing the passer penalty helped Cards sustain the drive. A picture-perfect touch-pass from Stanton to Foster for +17 yds helped set up a successful 42-yd Dawson FG attempt to give the Cards back their lead (Note - They drained 4:50 off the clock). Cards 26 - Seattle 24.
  • 2:21 left. KO returned to Seattle 25. Wilson managed to bring his team to the Cardinal 30 in 6 plays, but - on 4th & 9 with 0:37 on the clock - Walsh's 48-yd FG try was wide right. Stanton took one knee, and the game was finitio. Cards wiin!

    Final Score: Cards 26 - Seattle 24.

Notable Game Stats.

Passing: Stanton was 15 of 34 for 145 yards, 1 TD and 1 Interception. (Wilson was 18 of 29 for 221 yds, 2 TD's and 0 picks).

  • Rushing: K Williams gained 75 yds on 23 carries. Penny gained 39 yds on eight carries. (Seattle rrunners gained a total of 101 yds on 22 carries).

  • Card rush defense gave up 2.2 yds per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 2.7)

  • Receiving: Fitz led the Cards with 8 catches for 55 yds. (Gresham - with 3 - was the only receiver with more than one grab).

  • Turnovers: Minus- 1 No fumbles lost by either team. Stanton threw that one deep pick.

  • Penalties: Cards were penalized 4 times - Seattle 8

  • Run/Pass Ratio: Cards: 33/34. (Seattle 22/29)
  • Field Goals: Cards 4 for 4 / Seattle 1 for 2

    Net Punting Yards: Lee averaged 40.0/ Walsh averaged 39.0

  • Tackles: Jones, Miller, Dansby and Bucannon *6 apiece)

    Sacks: 3. C Jones had 2/ Pierre had one.

    Interceptions: Stanton gave up one. Wilson zero

    Third Down Efficiency: Cards were 4 of 14 (28%) ./ Seattl: 1 of 12 for 8%).

    Fourth Down Efficiency: \Cards had 0 opportunities / Seattle was one for one

    Red Zone Efficiency: Each team was 1 for 1 (100%)

    Time of Possession: Cards 32:16/ Seattle 27:44

Bright Spots

  • Helped knock Seattle out of playoffs.

    "Kicked ass" at their place.

    Congrats to C Jones (We believe the 2 sacks makes him most prolific Cardinal sacker.)

    Card defense held Seattle to just one of 12 third-down conversions

    Dansby had a huge day

    Defense had a nearly flawless 1H.

    Nkemdiche's athleticism beginning to be noticeable

    Dawson and Lee looked rock-solid

    The OL played heroically for their talent level and lack of depth, opening up holes for K Williams and Penny and Keeping Stanton relatively healthy.

The Dark Side

  • Vets - We've got a lot of them. Who'll stay and who'll go?

    Coaching - Will BA and most or all of his staff stay or go?
  • Quarterback - Will CP return? (Gas in the tank). Will we go the QBOF route?
  • Special Teams - That 99-yd TD and other Lockette returns are unacceptable. It still isn't where it has to be. Coaching change?

    Offensive Line - Heroic job but did they play to the upper limits of their ability? (For a while, I thought BA would havew to reach into his DL for backup depth).

Last Word:
We won. We beat the arch-rival Seahawks. We beat them on the road. We beat them at their place. We reached .500. We won our final 2 games. But - we're waiting to find out the status of our front office and coaching staff.

On that last matter, some words of caution - A head coach's job involves a lot more than updating the playbook. A HC also has to be good at evaluating talent, establishing a team culture, attending to long-range issues, handling advertisity, handling success, dealing with the media, being on top of non-game policies (like medical, conditioning, nutrition etc.) being the face of the team and a gazillion other thiings. So before we fans advocate for pulling the trigger on a HC or GM, we should recognize "you don't just wave a magic wand and hire a new head coachg - any major change is likely to involve significant disruption of the team culture and the way things are handled. Beware of unintended consequences.

Meanwhile - A Happy, Healthy 2018!

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