Big Red Recap: Catanzaro lifts Cardinals over Seahawks with game-winning FG
‘Tis the season, and the Arizona Cardinals were in a giving mood on Saturday.
They gave the Seahawks their first home loss, winning at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, 34-31, on Chandler Catanzaro’s 43-yard field goal as time expired.
David Johnson rushed for three touchdowns and extended his NFL-record of 100-plus scrimmage yards to a 15th straight game to open a season with 136 total yards, including 95 rushing yards.
He also became the first player in franchise history to top 2,000 scrimmage yards in a single season.
The Cardinals (6-9-1) never trailed, and were only threatened late, surviving a trio of Russell Wilson fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Wilson finished with 350 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer went 16-of-26 for 284 yards and a touchdown, but more importantly, he moved the Cardinals 50 yards on eight plays in 60 seconds to set up Catanzaro for the game-winning kick.
In addition to Johnson’s run at history, it was a career day for J.J. Nelson, who caught Palmer’s lone touchdown and ended the game with 132 receiving yards.
The Seahawks (9-5-1) had not lost at home this season, and now they’ve lost two of three overall.
The Cardinals’ win snapped a two-game losing streak. They’ve still yet to lose three straight under head coach Bruce Arians.
Set up by Calais Campbell’s fumble recovery, Johnson scored the game’s first touchdown, a two-yard run for a 7-0 lead at the 7:52 mark of the first quarter. For Johnson, it was his 14th rushing touchdown, tying John David Crow (14 in 1962) for the most in team history in a single season, and 18th total touchdown, establishing a new franchise single-season record by surpassing Crow’s 17 in 1962. Johnson finished the first quarter with 22 rushing yards.
Held without a sack in the past four games, Cardinals LB Chandler Jones dropped Wilson on Seattle’s first possession for a three-yard loss. It was Jones’ ninth sack of the season, the most on the team. That was until Markus Golden recorded his ninth and 10th sacks, taking down Wilson on Seattle’s second and third possessions, respectively. Golden became the 10th player in franchise history with 10.0 or more sacks in a season and the first since John Abraham in 2013.
All he does is score touchdowns, at least in recent weeks. Nelson made it seven touchdowns in his past eight games when he caught an 80-yard pass from Palmer to cap a three-play, 91-yard drive in 90 seconds and make it 14-0 Arizona at the 3:53 mark of the second quarter. It marked the longest scoring pass play by an opponent in the history of CenturyLink Field. By the way, Nelson now leads all Cardinals players with six touchdown catches.
Seven straight goal-to-go plays, including four from the one-yard line, and the Cardinals defense held the Seahawks to only a field goal over their final two possessions in the first half. Rodney Gunter ended Seattle’s first drive inside the 10-yard line with a sack on 4th-and-goal. It was the fifth time Wilson was dropped, and for Gunter, it was his first sack of the season. He also recorded a blocked field goal, knocking down a 45-yard first-quarter attempt.
Only seven players in NFL history have 100 or more receptions in four different seasons. Larry Fitzgerald became the seventh with a 16-yard fourth-quarter catch, his second grab of the game (194 consecutive games with a reception, the third-longest in league history). Three players later, Johnson scored from a yard out for a 21-10 lead at the 13:32 mark. For Johnson, it was his record-breaking 15th rushing touchdown plus gave him 11 career multi-touchdown efforts.
Penalties. The Cardinals committed four in the first quarter for 55 yards. There was Justin Bethel and Jermaine Gresham each called for holding, Brandon Williams flagged for defensive holding and an offsides marker on the defense. Two more penalties were committed in the second quarter, including a second call on Gresham, who was whistled for taunting, his second such penalty in three weeks. That unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the Cardinals out of field goal range.
Three times, or twice more than the entire first half, the Seahawks converted on third down on the opening possession of the second half. They moved the chains on 3rd-and-2, 3rd-and-10 and 3rd-and goal; the latter of which was a Wilson two-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse, who beat Bethel in coverage for his first touchdown catch of the season. The score capped a 13-play, 66-yard drive in 6:40 and made it 14-10 Arizona at the 8:20 mark of the third quarter.
With surgical precision, Wilson carved up the Cardinals defense to pull the Seahawks to within a possession, 21-18, at the 8:49 mark of the fourth quarter. He passed for 62 yards, completing 4-of-5 attempts, and rushed for 17 yards on three carries in what was a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive in 4:43. The big play was the touchdown, a 42-yard throw to Doug Baldwin, who outran Williams in coverage for the score, his first of the game and seventh of the season.
There were two more Wilson fourth-quarter touchdown tosses, the latter of which tied the game at 31 with 60 seconds left to play after the PAT was hooked to the left. Wilson found Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson for 37- and five-yard scores, respectively, on consecutive possessions sandwiched around a three-and-out by the Cardinals. All four of Wilson’s touchdowns came in the second half, and his four scores were a season-best, giving him 20 on the year.
STAT OF THE GAME
3: The Cardinals earned their third win in Seattle since 2013, which is as many wins in Seattle as the rest of the NFL combined during that span.
HE SAID IT
“Our D-line has been beating their O-line for three years, and we’re doing it again,” Arians told Paul Calvisi at halftime, referring to the Cardinals five first-half sacks of Wilson.
– Fitzgerald’s first-quarter pass attempt was the third of his career, including the playoffs.
– Catanzaro’s 53-yard third-quarter missed field goal was his seventh miss of the season.
– Cole Toner made his 2016 season debut, playing one fourth-quarter snap as a fullback.
– Tony Jefferson suffered a first-quarter knee injury; he was hurt on the game’s first punt.
– Taylor Boggs suffered a first-quarter shoulder injury; he was replaced by Evan Boehm.
– With the victory, Arians moved into third place on the franchise all-time wins list with 40.
– With the victory, Arians improved to 3-1 vs. the Seahawks in Seattle with the Cardinals.
– Among the Cardinals’ seven inactive players were Marcus Cooper and D.J. Humphries.
For one final time this season, the Cardinals will suit up and play a game of tackle football.
And they’ll do so on the road.
The Cardinals ring in the new year in Los Angeles, where they’ll face the Rams on Sunday, Jan. 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:25 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning five hours earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
It’s the Cardinals’ first game in L.A. since 1994, and they have not won in L.A. since 1992.
The Cardinals had won four of five against the Rams before losing earlier this season, 17-13 in Week 4.
The Rams last swept the Cardinals in 2012.
Overall, the series is tied 37-37-2, dating back to 1937.
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