GLENDALE -- The fans at University of Phoenix Stadium have been treated to a lot of free football this season, and Sunday was no exception.
For the fourth time in eight regular season home games, the Cardinals went to overtime. And for the fourth time, Arizona came away with a win, beating the Seattle Seahawks 23-20 in front of 61,798 fans.
Jay Feely booted a 28-yard field goal with 5:59 remaining in the extra period to even the Cardinals record at 8-8 after a dismal 1-6 start. The Cardinals finished the year in second place in the NFC West.
"I don't think there's been many teams in this league ever that have won 8 games after losing six in a row," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "That's quite an accomplishment, losing six in a row, and going 7- 2 over the last nine games. It's got to be close to the best record in the NFL over the last nine."
In the NFC, only the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, who each went 8-1 over their last nine games, had better marks than the Cardinals.
The Cardinals set an NFL record for winning four overtime games in one season. They did so despite losing the overtime coin flip for the third time in those four games.
The extra frame started badly for the Cardinals, when Leon Washington took the opening kickoff back 47 yards all the way to the Seattle 40-yard line. But the stingy Cardinals defense held firm, and forced a three and out.
The Cardinals took over, and John Skelton, who reportedly fainted in the locker room before the game, continued his steady and calm late-game play. This time though, he had a lot of help. On a 2nd down and 9 at the Seattle 36, Skelton rocketed a slant pattern to Larry Fitzgerald, who laid out and made a spectacular one-handed catch for a gain of 12 and a first down. Four plays later, Feely kicked the game winner.
For the game, Fitzgerald finished with 9 catches for 149 yards -- pretty amazing numbers when you consider that the All-Pro receiver had just one grab for 1 yard in the first half. Fitzgerald's father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., a writer in Minneapolis, tweeted after the game that Fitzgerald suffered a lung injury during the game and was spitting up blood on the sidelines.
Skelton wasn't outstanding throughout the whole game, going 22-for- 40 for 271 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but on the game-winning drive, he completed all four of his passes for 51 yards and also converted a 4th down and one on a quarterback sneak.
The Cardinals also played without starting running back Beanie Wells, who has been bothered by a knee injury all season long. LaRod Stephens-Howling started for Wells, and played well, running for 93 yards on 21 carries.
"It was really my decision," Whisenhunt said on holding Wells out of the game. "Beanie was mad at me, because Beanie wanted to play. He's been figthing, he's been a warrior all year playing on one leg.
"At this point, where we are in the season, I just felt it was best that Beanie didn't play."