Cardinals rally for late win over Seahawks

Posted Dec 22, 2013

The Seahawks took a 10-9 lead in the fourth quarter, only to have the Arizona Cardinals drive to a game-winning touchdown to prevent Seattle from wrapping up the NFC West title.

So it all comes down to the Seahawks’ regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field next week.

The Seahawks had another chance to wrap up the NFC West title on Sunday – their second in three weeks – but again fell short in a 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in a venue where they had won 14 in a row.

Barring a San Francisco 49ers’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, the Seahawks will have to beat the Rams to insure winning the division title.

The Cardinals (10-5) winning for the seventh time in their past eight games kept them in the hunt for a wild-card playoff spot and pushed the 12-3 Seahawks into a precarious position.

The setback also snapped the 14-game winning streaks by the Seahawks and second-year quarterback Russell Wilson at CenturyLink Field. The last time the Seahawks had lost at home was to the San Francisco 49ers in their 2011 home finale, when Wilson was still the quarterback at the University of Wisconsin.

This game came down to the fourth quarter, and late in the final quarter.

The Cardinals had the ball at the Seahawks’ 15 as the third quarter ended, but Richard Sherman intercepted Carson Palmer’s third-down pass in the end zone. It stopped the Cardinals, but could not jump-start the offense as Russell Wilson was sacked twice on the Seahawks’ three-and-out series.

The Cardinals then took a 9-3 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Jay Feely with 10:39 left. The five-play, 45-yard drive included two penalties on the Seahawks for 31 yards.

But Doug Baldwin returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards, Russell Wilson passed 28 yards to Golden Tate, 13 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 11 yards to Zach Miller for a TD that gave the Seahawks a 10-9 lead with 7:26 left. The six-play, 61-yard drive featured Wilson’s 3-of-3, 52-yard passing performance.

Then it was the Cardinals turn to come right back, as Palmer passed to Michael Floyd for a 31-yard TD pass with 2:13 to play and Mendenhall ran in the two-point conversion. The TD came on third down and Palmer also passed 17 yards to Jake Ballard on a third-and-3 play during the 10-play, 80-yard drive.

The first half produced a 3-3 tie, as the team exchanged second-quarter field goals.

The Cardinals got the ball first and drove to the Seahawks’ 5, thanks to a 63-yard completion from Carson Palmer to Brittan Golden. But Byron Maxwell tipped Carson’s third-down pass that was intended for Rob Housler in the end zone and Kam Chancellor intercepted the deflection.

The Cardinals used a 26-yard run by Andre Ellison to get into Seahawks’ territory again (Seahawks’ 30). But again, Palmer’s third-down pass was intercepted by Richard Sherman.

The Seahawks entered the game having allowed the fewest explosive plays in the league only to give up a 63-yard reception and a 26-yard run in the first quarter.

A 13-play, 70-yard drive that began in the first quarter after Sherman’s seventh interception of the season ended with Steven Hauschka kicking a 27-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 13:42 left in the half. Russell Wilson was 5 of 8 for 45 yards, including an 8-yarder to Jermaine Kearse on third-and-2 and a 9-yarder to Ricardo Lockette on third-and-6; and Marshawn Lynch carried four times for 30 yards.

But the Cardinals then drove 75 yards in 13 plays to a 39-yard field by Jay Feely that tied the score with 2:15 left. The Cardinals converted on third-and-5 twice and third-and-16. Palmer was 4 of 6 for 38 yards on the field goal drive that consumed almost half the quarter (8:21). The big play was Palmer’s 17-yard completion to Andre Roberts on that third-and-16 play. The Cardinals had scored on Palmer’s 32-yard pass to Michael Floyd, only because Floyd pushed Sherman to the ground for a 10-yard pass interference penalty. That put the Cardinals in a second-and-18 situation, but Palmer’s pass to Roberts bailed them out.

The Seahawks got the ball back when Chris Clemons tipped Carson’s third-down pass and Malcolm Smith made the interception and returned it 32 yards to the Cardinals’ 3. But two runs by Marshawn Lynch and a hurried third-down pass by Russell Wilson left the Seahawks to try a field goal. Hauschka’s 24-yard attempt hit the left upright. It was only his second miss of the season, and the first that wasn’t blocked.

After seven series of frustration, and very little offense, the Cardinals took the lead on a 46-yard field goal by Jay Feely with 27 seconds left in the quarter. The Cardinals got the ball right back as Robert Turbin fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but Sherman intercepted Palmer’s third-down pass in the end zone.

On the third-down play just before the field goal, the Cardinals went with a direct snap to running back Andre Ellington. But Earl Thomas was not fooled and dropped him for a 2-yard gain on third-and-3.

The teams combined for 68 yards in the quarter – 35 by the Cardinals, 33 by the Seahawks.