Carson Palmer throws three touchdown passes, two to Michael Floyd, to lead Arizona past the Seahawks.
”I was on my way to a rout, and a game broke out!” was probably along the lines of your thinking if you watched the Sunday night game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks. The NFC West-leading Cardinals eventually exuded their dominance in the week 10 “Game of the Week” type match-up against the previously-dominating Seattle Seahawks in a 39-32 win that was considerably more convincing than the final score, at least to this writer.
The Cardinals, who in so many words, have been considering this game as their measuring stick, have to be pleased at the outcome. Judging by the sideline reaction as the clocked ticked away post-kneel down, they were extremely pleased to now know without any uncertainty that they are the NFC’s best, and among the best in the NFC and the NFL.
After getting out to a 19-point lead in the second quarter, Arizona fought off the fierce and swift momentum switch in the second half that the Seahawks have been known to conjure up on occasion in recent seasons, to fend off what may have been their main division threat in survive and conquer fashion. The Seahawks stripped two balls from Palmer’s hands, one that led to a Marshawn Lynch touchdown and another that was returned for a 22-yard score by Bobby Wagner. An unrattled Carson Palmer then drove his team 83 and 80 yards on the next two 4th-quarter possessions to ice the victory. He finished the game 29 of 48 attempts for 363 yards, 1 INT and 3 TDs, making the Legion of Boom look rather ordinary in the process.
Scoring recap per quarter:
FIRST QUARTER: The only real defensive quarter: The Cardinals posed the only scoring threat after a critical defensive hold call on 3-and-long gave them another opportunity to extend their 2nd-possession drive, but a pass that would have been the first touchdown between Carson Palmer and receiver Michael Floyd was picked off in the end zone. Score: Cardinals 0, Seahawks 0
SECOND QUARTER: Getting the ball at Seattle’s 49 yard line, the Cardinals moved the ball to Seattle’s 15 before stalling and settling for a 35-yard FIELD GOAL. Three plays later, (at their own 12 yard line) Russell Wilson was sacked back at the goal line, fumbled but recovered to save a defensive touchdown (AZ SAFETY). After receiving the ball back on the free kick, Palmer hit Michael Floyd for a 27-yard score TOUCHDOWN. On Arizona’s next series, they scored again on the second Palmer-to-Floyd hook-up for a 35-yard TOUCHDOWN.The Seahawks finally answered back aided by of a 40-yard pass to WR Paul Richardson, taken in by full back Will Tukuafu on a 1-yard run for a TOUCHDOWN. Arizona then slowed to a 55-yard/9 play drive, settling for a 43-yard Chandler Catanzaro FIELD GOAL. Halftime Score: Cardinals 22, Seahawks 7
THIRD QUARTER: Highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Jimmy Graham, Seattle’s Steven Hauschka kicked 31-yard FIELD GOAL. Arizona got the 3 points back after Tyrann Mathieu’s INT of Wilson deep in Seattle territory (43-yard Catanzaro FIELD GOAL). With completions of 27 and 32(TD) yards to Doug Baldwin, Wilson and the Seahawks scored their first TOUCHDOWN of the second half. Score: Cardinals 25, Seahawks 17
FOURTH QUARTER: After a strip of the ball from Palmer, the Seahawks score on a 3-yard Marshawn Lynch TOUCHDOWN run (two-point attempt failed). Very next AZ series, another Palmer strip and fumble is recovered and this time returned for a TOUCHDOWN, giving Seattle its first lead of the game. (two-point attempt failed). The Cardinals drove 83 yards on 10 plays to eat the clock and take their lead back on a 14-yard passing TOUCHDOWN to tight end Jermaine Gresham. Running back Andre Ellington broke of a 48-yard run on AZ’s next possession to make it a two-score lead, but Seattle added a FIELD GOAL to get it down to a one-score lead. It was all they could do late in the game. Final Score: Cardinals 39, Seahawks 32
It appeared that the Cardinals could have pulled away whenever they needed to, while the Seahawks needed moments of 12th-man-fed energy. The Legion of Boom looked like a “regular” secondary and frankly, Richard Sherman was torched on more than one occasion. The Red Birds obviously play better when healthy , and not everyone is healthy still as John Brown is a bit banged up now. But as long as Carson Palmer remains upright the Cardinals have a good shot at going deep into the point season, especially with Green Bay playing the way they have lately. After seeing the Cardinals dismantle what is considered the best of the great defenses in the NFC West, it appears they may match-up favorably against the Carolina Panthers than most should things fall that way.
Other leaders were Larry Fitzgerald led receivers (10 rec/130 yards), although it’s worth pointing out that Michael Floyd was a having a career day until he left with an injury. Chris Johnson carried 25 times for 58 yards and Andre Ellington led all in yardage with 61 yards on 5 carries, most coming on that one long TD run.
Russell Wilson led the Seahawks in passing and rushing with 52 yards on 6 carries, completing 14 of 32 for 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Marshawn Lynch had a fair 42 yards on just 8 carries. Jimmy Graham was most out of the game plan’s core yet again.
Arizona now leads both Seattle and St. Louis by 3 games going into week 11 with seven games to play. After two straight road wins, they return home to host the 8-1 Cincinnati Bengals.