Cardinals' Arians: 'Ball bounced our way'
Sunday afternoon, Arizona returned the favor.
A strong defense and a late touchdown catch by Michael Floyd gave Arizona a 17-10 win over its NFC West rival, the Seahawks' first home loss since a 19-17 game against San Francisco on Dec. 24, 2011.
"There was no doubt in anybody. We knew we have a team that was built to win and was built to win these ugly games," said Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. "This was a nasty, grind-it-out, run the football (game). (It's) hard to throw the football against the No. 1 pass defense in the league and we knew we were going to have to just muster it out and we were able to."
Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said the Cardinals, like the rest of the league, were aware of Seattle's home-field advantage, considered by many to be among the best in the National Football League. The Seahawks hadn't lost at CenturyLink Field in 728 days. Seattle had won 14 straight contests in Seattle and Seahawks' second-year quarterback Russell Wilson was a perfect 14-0 at Century Link.
Wilson is now 14-1.
"It doesn't get any better than that. This is why you play the game," Arians said. "To come into a venue like this is fantastic, with great fans, and win. That's why you play the game, that's why we all grew up playing this game."
It was a much different sight than when these two teams played in Arizona on Oct. 17. The Cardinals were coming off a tough loss to NFC West foe San Francisco, and had a short week to prepare for a Thursday night game.
Led by Wilson's three touchdown passes, Seattle won 34-22.
"When we play them coming off a very tough loss against San Francisco," Arians said. "We only had two days of practice and had to play on Thursday night. We weren't ready for that, to have those types of practices and then play a quality football team."
With a full week of practice, the Cardinals were able to get a game plan together to stall Wilson and the Seahawks' offense and get their own offense past the tough Seattle secondary. Wilson had one of the worst games of his career with 11 completions for 108 yards and a passer rating of 49.6 -- all his lowest of the year.
The Arizona defense sacked Wilson four times and forced seven three-and-outs by Seattle's offense. It also held running back Marshawn Lynch, who had 91 yards and a touchdown in the teams' first game of the season, to 71 yards on 18 carries.
"We knew that if we got a lead they were going to have to throw the football," Arians said. "... But we were able to get good pressure and chase Russell around on some throws. The ball bounced our way finally in the fourth quarter."
Arizona has won seven of eight games since its first game against Seattle and will head into its regular-season finale next Sunday with a chance of grabbing a wild-card playoff berth. If the 49ers beat the Falcons tonight, the Cardinals need to beat San Francisco and have New Orleans lose to Tampa Bay next Sunday. If the Falcons beat the 49ers, the Cardinals can earn a playoff berth by beating San Francisco.
"We feel like we can play with anybody. We feel that we can beat anybody," Fitzgerald said. "We have another opponent next week in San Francisco. We're going to need some help, obviously, but we'd love to be able to go out there and have another decisive victory.
"It means a lot. This is what we all work for. In the offseason everyone trains hard and prepares for these opportunities. It feels good to have a meaningful game in week 17 against our archrivals the San Francisco 49ers."
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