Both teams were tied at 6 & 3, with Seattle heading south and the Cardinals on the upswing off their "Hail Murray last-second heroics vs. the Bills..
Game was played under unusual circumstances - in Seattle but without the normal Seattle home crowd noise. Both teams had fallen victim to the injury bug, but Seattle would be helped by returning walking wounded whereas Arizona lost a handful of key payers, incuding their starting nose-tackle, Corey Peters.
Main issue for the Cardinals had to be whether they'd let their win over Buffalo go to their heads or whether beating a top tier team like the Bills would imbue the entire squad with newfound confidence.
"Chrismas Comes Early to the Northwest"
The Bottom Line:
Ho Ho Ho! As Dennis Green would have put it - "The Cards were who we thought they were." They opened up the contest lethargic, unprepared and sloppy and turned their one final opportunity in the 4Q to take over the game into a clown-fest.
Throughout the contest, Seattle outhit the Cardinals (their ballcarriers would typically bounce off Cardinal tacklers to put them another 5 or 6 yards). In coverage, Seattle won most one-on-one battles. Cards were penalized 10 times (including a questionable 46 yd interference call on PP21 and a drive-killing taunting flag on Kirkpatrick), but our penalties tended to be more ill-timed than the 8 penalties racked up by the Seahawks
After trailing the Seahawks for more than half the game, the Cards pulled within 2 points of Seattle early in the 3rd quarter and hung on to climb to within 2-points (23 - 21) on a three-yard pop-fly pass from Kyler Murray to Chase Edmonds at the 1:41 mark in the 4Q. The game gradually turned into a "war of attrition", with the Cards losing the ball-control battle to a tenacious Seattle ground attack.
But the Cards were somehow able to wrest the ball from the Seahawks and forced them to punt. (The plan had to be that the Cards would field the punt deep in their own territory and move to within FG range (to take the lead at 24 - 23 or, even better, score a TD and XP to open up a 28 - 23 lead).
Instead, Kyler Murray chalked up (yet another) "I've got to unload the ball" grounding penalty to pin the Cards on their own 2-yard line. This allowed a Cardinal lineman to commit an even dumber false start (or was it a holding?) penalty (which awarded Seattle 2-points for a safety and cost the Cards possession. Score was now Seattle 25 - Cards 21 - Seattle's ball. Cards were unable to stop Seattle's running game, and Seahawks tacked on another 3-points with a Myers 41-yarder at the 12:41 mark.
We've got nothing to add, other than the Cards deserved to lose.
Sea 6:15 D.K. Metcalf 25 pass from Russell Wilson (Jason Myers Kick) Cards 0 - Seattle 7
xx 1:09 Kenyan Drake 2 run (Zane Gonzalez Kick) Seattle 7 - Cards 7
Sea 6:33 Tyler Lockett 11 pass from Russell Wilson (Kick Failed) - Cards 7 - Seattle 13
Sea 15:00 FG Jason Myers 27 Cards 7 - Seattle 16
Ari 4:53 Dan Arnold 4 pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick) Cards 14 - Seattle16
Sea 9:40 Carlos Hyde 2 run (Jason Myers Kick) Cards 14- Seattle 23
Ari 1:41 Chase Edmonds 3 pass from Kyler Murray ( Gonzalez Kick) Cards 21 - Seattle 23
Sea 5:48 Safety, Penalty on J.Sweezy enforced in the end zone Cards 21 - Seattle 25
Sea 12:41 FG Jason Myers 41 Cards 21 - Seattle 28
Final Score: Cards 21 - Seattle 28
Cards have enough athletic talent to make up for sloppy play - at east usually but not always. It's kept us above .500 but we're not guaranteed a playoff spot if we're going to play that sloppily. (As Branch Rickey used to say: "Luck is the residue of design).
While we're not big fans of the "Fire the Head Coach" schooll, the number and nature of penalties (& the team's propensity for repeating them) does raise questions about Kliff Kingsbury's discipline and attention to detail. (The 4Q grounding penalty is unforgivable).
Cards are good enough to reach the playoffs, but they can play sloppy enough to let the playoffs slip through their fingers.