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Cards were 9 & 5, fighting for a playoff spot and probably had an intensity edge over Seattle. Seahawks were playing to maximize home-field advantage and considered by many experts to be the favorite to reach (& probably win) the Super Bowl. The Cards would probably have to win their remaining two games (over Seattle and SF) to reach the playoffs - and even that might not get it done. It was interesting to see how Pete Carroll kept his team motivated and whether their "new age" approach to football will pay off.
Cards Overcome 4 Palmer Turnovers to Upset Seahawks in Seattle.
The Bottom Line:
The Cards outplayed the Seahawks on both sides of the ball (& for that matter special teams) but left points on the field via three of 4 Palmer interceptions and carried a 3 - 3 "pitchers battle" into the second half. They opened up a 6-point lead via a couple of Feely FG's only to lose it on a Seattle TD but then regain it (& then some) off a deep completion from Palmer to Floyd down the left sideline and into the end zone. After seeing numerous officiating calls go against them, the Cards finally caught a huge break when a contested pass that either bounced off the field or off the receivers fore-arm was ruled an interception and gave the Cards the ball - 7-points ahead and one remaining Seattle time-out with under 2:00 left to play. Cards broke a two-year Seattle home winning-streak (first Cardinal win in Seattle in a gazillion years).
(Side note - During the second half of the Seattle game, the TV cameras singled out a sign in the stands which read something along the lines of: "You Can Bet on the Cards Quitting on Arians." I thought to myself - "How classless - I hope we can win this game and figuratively jam that sign down that Seattle fan's throat." Well, Mr. Seattle-rooter, consider yourself throat-jammed by a better Cardinal team).
Cards returned the KO to their 20. A 63-yard completion to Golden (who spun away from a tackle and turned ain intermediate hook-up to a long completion) helped get Arizona to the Seattle 5 where (on 3rd & 2) Palmer's pass for Housler bounced off the TE in the end zone and into the hands of Chancellor.
After Lynch circled right end for +16, Seattle punted 4 plays later. Peterson returned the punt to the Card 34. Cards were held to 3 & out. On the return, Tate was penned in for no gain at the Seattle 11. Seattle was held to 3 & out. Punt fair caught at the Cardinal 41.
On the first play of the series, Ellington circled right end for 26 yards. Cards made it to Seattle's 36-yard line, but Palmer's pass for Fitzgerald was picked off by Sherman. Seattle took over on their own 21 and an 18-yard completion to Kearse helped set up a 13-play Seattle drive that extended into the next quarter. 1st Quarter Score: Seattle 0 - Cards 0.
Seattle drive stalled at the Cardinal 9 and Hauschka was "good" from 27. Seattle 3 - Cards 0.
The two teams then exhanged 3 & outs. On the next Cardinal possession (starting from their own 4-yard line), Palmer nickeled and dimed his offense as far as the Seattle 32, where an apparent deep TD throw to Floyd down the right sideline was nullified because Floyd pushed off. The Cards finally reached the Seahawk 21 where Feely capped a 16-play Cardinal drive with a 39-yard game-tying FG. Seattle 3- Cards 3.
2:19 till halftime. McCann's recovery of a fumble on the ensuing KO was overturned by the officials. The two teams exchanged 3 & outs. (TB on the KO). Cards were held to 3 & out. With 0:42 still on the clock, Wilson took the Seahawks all the way to the Cardinal one-yard line where the Cardinal defense stiffened and (after a false start penalty) forced Seattle to attempt a 24-yard FG. Kick was wide-left. Halftime ended. Palmer took a knee to bring the game tied at halftime. We got ourselves "a pitchers' dual." First Half Score: Seattle 3 - Cards 3.
Seattle received the 2H kickoff. A defensive holding penalty on DWash and a 27-yard scramble by Wilson brought the ball into Cardinal territory, but the drive stalled on the Cardinal 40 and Ryan's ppunt was fair caught at the Cardinal 13 The two teams exchanged 3 & outs. A pass interference call on Sherman helped move the Cards to their own 34, but they had to punt four plays later. Punt was fair caught at the Seattle 12, and the two teams once again exchanged 3 & outs. A seven-yard sack of Wilson (by Campbell) capped another Seattle 3 & out and forced them to punt from their own 4-yard line. Cards started from their own 45 and a face-mask penalty on Seattle got them to the Seattle 28 where they settled for a 46-yard Feely FG to regain a razor-thin lead. - Cards 6 - Seattle 3.
Seattle muffed the KO again - it was recovered by Bethel and gave the Cards the ball on the Seahawk 18. Cards ran off one play to end the quarter. 3rd Quarter Score: Cards 6 - Seattle 3.
But two plays later, Palmer took a likely three point gimme off the board by throwing a 2nd pick to Sherman. Seattle started from their own twenty and was held to 3 & out. Wilson was sacked on two consecutive downs (by Campbell and Arenas). Cards fair caught the punt at their own 47. A roughness penalty on McDaniel and a pass interference flag on Sherman helped set up a 26-yard Feely FG. Cards 9 - Seattle 3.
10:39 on the clock. 28 and 13-yard completions to Tate and Kearse set up an 11-yard TD pass to Zach Miller alone in the right corner of the end zone.Extra point was blocked, but play was nullified because the officials claimed a Cardinal defender was playing directly over center. XP good on next play. Seattle takes the lead. ( Seattle 10 - Cards 9.
7:26 left to play. Touchback on the KO. Palmer pecked his way from his own 20 to the Seattle 31. (Key play was a desperation roll-out throw to Ballard). On 3rd & 6 (with 2:20 left on the clock), Palmer hooked up with Michael Floyd deep down the left sideline. Floyd caught it at the goal line, bobbled it but was able to hold on for the TD. Two point attempt was good (with Mendy shooting right up the gut untouched for the 2-pointer). Cards 17 - Seattle 10.
2:13 left to play. Baldwin was pushed out of bounds on the return at the Seattle 26. On the first play of the Seattle possession, Wilson's pass intended for Baldwin bounced off Baldwin's forearm and into the arms of Karlos Dansby. Play was ruled an interception. Challenge (claiming that the ball bounced off the turf and not the forearm) was denied. One 11 yard run up the middle by Taylor and 3 knees ended the game. . Final Score:Cards 17 - Seattle 10.
Palmer went 13 for 25 for 17 yards, 1 TD and 4 (I repeat 4!) interceptions.
Run/Pass Ratio: 43 Runs/25 Passes.
Palmer spread it around. Fitz and Dray led all receivers with 3 grabs apiece. Floyd had the only TD (Could have had 2)
We gained 139 yards on the ground.Yardage was evenly divided between Mendy and Ellingtron with Mendenhall getting 21 carries and Andre 15.
We lost the Turnover Battle by -2. We surrendered 4 turnovers (all picks) while intercepting once and recovering one fumble.
We held Wilson to 11 for 27 for 108 yards, a TD and a pick.
We sacked Wilson 4 times (Campbell 2, DWash 1 and Arenas 1) while giving up 2 sacks.
DWash (7) led the team in tacklesfollowed by Dansby (6) and Powers (5)
Our 3rd Down Efficiency was (6 ofor 19) 31% (Seattle's was (2 for 13 (15%).
We were 7 times (Seattle was penalized 9 times).
We won Time of Possession by 15:00 (37:24 to 22:36)
We rose to the challenge and beat a tough team when we had to in order to remain eligible for the playoffs and go 10 & 5.
Palmer overcame 4 interceptions to make the big play (the TD throw to Floyd) when he had to.
The defense absolutely shut down Seattle - especially Wilson in the passing game.
The difference in the two teams' third down conversion numbersand percentages was awesome..
Powers had a huge game not reflected by the stats - he broke up pass after pass without being flagged for interference.
The running game (against a highly-rated Seattle run-defense) was better-than-"just OK."
Good things happened on ST's in the form of fumbles on opposing returns and missed XP's and FG's
The Dark Side
We agree with Coach Arians that this was a "measuring stick" game that would go a long way to show everyone (including ourselves) "who we are." Well, we went up against arguably the best...in their house...before their crowd...with the playoffs on the line...and showed the world we not only belonged on the same field, but could actually go out and beat them. We'd add that this wasn't a matter of a "lucky win", Seattle "off-day."
Both teams played their guts out, and we won. Our only remaining shot at the playoffs depends on an esoteric assortment of necessary things that have to happen - including a win over the Niners. One more game to go - we know what we have to focus on. Beat SF!!!