By John Boyle
Cardinals hold on for a 17-10 win
More to come after the game, but Seattle’s comeback chances ended after a Russell Wilson interception that hit off Doug Baldwin’s arm (and maybe the ground?).
Cardinals answer, take 17-10 lead
Another big defensive penalty, this one a hold on Malcolm Smith, helped an Arizona scoring drive, and the Cardinal later capitalized with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd, who made a spectacular catch despite good coverage from Byron Maxwell.
The Cardinals then converted the two-point conversion to make it a seven-point game.
Wilson to Miller for the game’s first touchdown and a Seahawks lead
In completely unsurprising news, Robert Turbin was not back to receive Seattle’s last kickoff. Instead Doug Baldwin got the call, and on his first return of the season, Baldwin returned it 37 yards to the 39-yard line. Perhaps that gave Seattle’s offense a little spark, because six plays later, Seattle was in the end zone for the first time this afternoon.
The Cardinals blocked the extra point, but were called for illegal formation (the player who blocked it was lined up directly over the snapper). Hauschka then made the re-kick to give the Seahawks a 10-9 lead.
LT Russell Okung limped off the field at one point during that series and was replaced by Alvin Bailey. Okung did return to the field however, for the touchdown, so it appears he avoided any serious injury.
Another FG makes it 9-3 Cardinals
The Cardinals didn’t score off of that Turbin fumble thanks to another Richard Sherman interception, but they extended their lead not much later after, yes, another Seahawks three-and-out. Arizona’s following possession was helped along by two defensive penalties, leading to another chip-shot field goal for Jay Feely.
Cardinals lead 6-3; get the ball right back
That stuff about the offense struggling? Yeah, it still applies, and now the Seahawks are trailing and in trouble. After a short field and a facemask penalty helped the Cardinals to a 46-yard Jay Feely field goal, Robert Turbin fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Even worse, he kneed it out of his own hands, fumbling untouched. Now Seattle’s D needs a stop to keep this game close.
What makes Turbin’s fumble even worse is that a couple of weeks ago, Pete Carroll said Turbin had taken over kick return duties because of ball-security concerns. Oops.
Seahawks offense still sputtering
Two possessions and two punts so far for Seattle in the half. The Seahawks actually moved the all a little on their first possession, with a 27-yard Russell Wilson scramble being the big play, but that drive eventually stalled out. Seattle’s next possession started in Arizona territory thanks to a Golden Tate 29-yard punt return, but the Seahawks went three-and-out.
Halftime. Seahawks and Cardinals tied 3-3
Despite intercepting Carson Palmer three times in the first half, the Seahawks have just three points. The Seahawks had a great chance to take the lead at the end of the half after Malcolm Smith intercepted a tipped pass and returned it to the Arizona 3-yard line. But after two Marshawn Lynch runs couldn’t get the ball into the end zone, Russell Wilson’s third-down pass attempt to Michael Robinson fell incomplete (again, it was a little bit off in what has been one of Wilson’s worst halves of football this season).
Steven Hauschka, who has been all but a sure thing this season, then had a chip-shot field goal clang off the upright. The snap was a bit high, however, so that could have been a factor in the miss. Either way, it was Hauschka’s first miss of the season, though he did have one kick blocked in Indianapolis.
Some first-half stats:
Arizona out-gained the Seahawks 182-112 in the half (Seattle gave up only 181 yards in all of last week’s win). Marshawn Lynch has been effective gaining 60 yards on 11 carries, but the passing game has been pretty nonexistent for Seattle, with Wilson completing just 6 of 16 passes for 47 yards.
Cardinals tie it at 3-3
The Cardinals started with the ball at their own 4-yard line thanks to another Jon Ryan to Jeremy Lane punt connection, but quickly got out of trouble with an 8-yard run with a facemask penalty on Kam Chancellor tacked onto it.
That was the start of a drive that would eat up 8 minutes, 21 seconds of clock, and end with 39-yard Jay Feely field goal.
Seattle’s defense has given up some big plays this game, including a 17-yard completion on third-and-16 that put the Cardinals in field goal range. If not for two interceptions, the Cardinals could have a good-sized lead right now.
Hauschka FG makes it 3-0
That promising drive we just mentioned? It stalled out in the red zone, in part because of a delay-of-game penalty that turned third-and-4 into 3rd-and-9. Wilson’s third-down pass, which was intended for Jermaine Kearse, was a bit behind him and fell incomplete.
Steven Hauschka then converted a 27-yard field goal to give Seattle a 3-0 lead with 13:42 left in the first half.
Scoreless after one, but Seahawks driving
Russell Wilson and Seattle’s offense didn’t look sharp early on, but they have a nice drive going to end the first quarter, driving to Arizona’s 11-yard line on the last play of the quarter. A good sign for Seattle is that it has 51 rushing yards through one quarter. The Seahawks had struggled to run the ball in their past four games, and the Cardinals have the league’s top-ranked run defense.
Not a lot of action in this game so far, save for that early big play by Arizona and the Chancellor interception. Follow each team’s opening possess, both teams went three-and-out.
Worth noting that early on, the Seahawks are sticking with a rotation between James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan and left guard. Rookie Michael Bowie got the start at right guard with JR Sweezy injured.
Chancellor pick ends Arizona threat
The Cardinals looked like they were going to score on the opening possession of the game after Brittan Golden turned a third-down catch into a 63-yard gain, but facing third-and-1 from the Seattle 5-yard line, Carson Palmer threw a pass that was deflected by Byron Maxwell, then intercepted by Kam Chancellor.
The Seahawks couldn’t do much with that turnover, however, and had to punt the ball away, though they were actually fortunate to be punting. That’s because Russell Wilson threw a pass that probably should have been intercepted on third down, forcing a ball into double coverage that hit off the hands of two Cardinals defenders without being caught.
Greetings from a soggy CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks are hoping to win their 15th straight home game, and in doings so clinch the NFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
No surprises on the inactives for Seattle. The players we already knew were out—Percy Harvin, JR Sweezy and KJ Wright—are indeed inactive, while everyone else who was expected to be available is active.
On the Cardinals side, two key players who were listed as questionable—receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer—are active. Arizona is without starting safety Rashad Johnson.
Seahawks inactives: WR Percy Harvin, WR Bryan Walters, LB KJ Wright, G JR Sweezy, T Caylin Hauptmann, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill.
Cardinals inactives: S Rashad Johnson, RB Ryan Williams, LB Dontay Moch, T/G Nate Potter, G Earl Watford, TE Kory Sperry, DE Ronald Talley.