Rapid Reaction: Drops, missed throws haunt Cardinals in loss to Seahawks
Penalties, injuries, missed throws and drops defined the Arizona Cardinals’ 22-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.
Seattle gave the Cardinals over 100 penalty yards, but the Cardinals could not capitalize. Drew Stanton finished with an underwhelming line, going 24-of-47 for 273 yards and a touchdown. To be fair to Stanton, there were a handful of drops by his receivers as well.
D.J. Humphries and Tyvon Branch would injure their right knees in the first quarter and not return to the game.
Here’s some quick reaction to the Cardinals’ game from the staff of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and ArizonaSports.com.
Of course, you can get more reaction Monday starting at 6 a.m. with Doug & Wolf and continuing with The Blitz with Bertrand Berry & Mike Jurecki at 10 a.m. and Bickley & Marotta at 12 p.m. Then, Burns & Gambo will wrap up the day’s analysis on your drive home from 2-6 p.m.
Craig Morgan, reporter
We can stop pretending the Cardinals are in the playoff hunt. The NFC West is a two-team race with Arizona running third after the Seahawks improved to 4-0-1 in their last five games at University of Phoenix Stadium with a 22-16 win on Thursday.
The Cardinals’ four wins have come against the 49ers (twice), Colts and Buccaneers. Those teams have combined for five wins. The Cardinals’ five losses have come to the Lions, Cowboys, Eagles, Rams and Seahawks, five teams with legitimate playoff aspirations.
John Gambadoro, Co-host of Burns & Gambo
It was inevitable, wasn’t it? I mean, did any of us really think that without David Johnson, Mike Iupati, Markus Golden and now Carson Palmer, Arizona had any real shot at making the playoffs? Of course we didn’t. And now, although there are still 7 games left, it is officially unofficial. The Cardinals will not make the playoffs.
Any slim chance that some fans and the team may have had going into this game against Seattle dissipated with a hard-fought loss to their arch rival. At 4-5, the Cardinals are, of course, mathematically still alive and will be for a few more weeks. But any chance of making the playoffs requires no less than nine wins and to get there Arizona has to go 5-2 in its final seven games and that is just not happening.
The injuries, which now include D.J. Humphries and Tyvon Branch, are just too much to overcome. Arizona fought hard and was in this game for three quarters before Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin made one of those remarkable, unbelievable plays that Seattle is known for. A 54-yard jump ball in which Wilson evaded the rush of Chandler Jones and Tyrann Mathieu and somehow threw up a jump ball that Baldwin got the better of Antoine Bethea on. A Jimmy Graham touchdown followed and a 22-10 lead was the ballgame.
Phil Dawson did not miss a field goal but he did have an extra point blocked and Justin Bethel had two costly special teams penalties as the mistakes on special teams continue. The Cardinals did play their hearts out tonight, but as my partner Dave Burns likes to say, they brought a knife to a gun fight.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo
The Cardinals just don’t have enough offensively to be able to compete on a weekly basis. Drew Stanton is just too inaccurate. His receivers drop too many balls. There aren’t enough healthy bodies left. If this were a game of cards, the Cardinals just don’t have enough of the good ones in their hand. The Seahawks were beatable, just like last year. The Cardinals weren’t good enough to take advantage of that.
Stanton is a decent backup quarterback, capable of filling in on a moments notice or for a game here or there. But his flaws are exposed over time. The wide receiving group is woefully inadequate and needs to be re-imagined in the offseason. Too many guys who can’t make a play and change the game.
And now with three more injuries, two of which were to key players in D.J. Humphries and Tyvon Branch, the Cards are forced to rely upon depth that they just don’t have. Adrian Peterson is going find that running behind someone other than Humphries isn’t as much fun. Branch was one of their best defensive players all year. Their likely losses are enormous.
Defensively they got after it. But Russell Wilson’s blessed ability to improvise burned the Cardinals on this night. I don’t know how he did it but he did.
They might beat the Texans next week. The Giants on Christmas Eve day. They might back into another win somewhere down the line. But the Cards hopes of reigniting the hopes of this season flew away through the open roof here at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Vince Marotta, Co-host of Bickley & Marotta, editor, reporter
Bruce Arians started his postgame press conference lamenting the fact that the game came down to big plays, and his team didn’t make enough of them.
I think that’s a pretty fair assessment of what happened on the field at University of Phoenix Stadium Thursday night in the Seahawks’ 22-16 win over the Cardinals. In fact, you can boil it down one step further: Seattle has Russell Wilson. Arizona doesn’t.
The biggest play of the game came early in the fourth quarter. Holding a 15-10 lead and facing a 2nd-and-22 from Seattle’s 44-yard line, Wilson turned in one of the more memorable plays of this NFL season. Wilson, rolled to his left as part of the play design. He evaded both Chandler Jones and Tyrann Mathieu and flung a desperation pass down the sideline which was caught by Cardinal killer Doug Baldwin, who ran past Antoine Bethea down to the Cardinals’ 2-yard line for a backbreaking 54-yard gain. Wilson then hit Jimmy Graham on a touchdown pass that gave Seattle a 12-point lead.
Wilson also burned the Cardinals late in the first half. After Arizona opted to go for it on 4th-and-9 from the Seattle 38 with :46 left and failed, Wilson found Paul Richardson behind the secondary for a 43-yard gain that led to a Blair Walsh field goal.
On the other side, the Cardinals failed to make enough big plays to match their NFC West rival. Seattle bottled up the Cardinal running game, holding Adrian Peterson to 29 yards on 21 carries. Drew Stanton threw for 273 yards and a touchdown, but the longest offensive play all night for Arizona was a 20-yard completion to tight end Jermaine Gresham.
Wide receivers dropped passes…as did defensive backs attempting to make interceptions. It was an uphill slog all night for the Cardinals, who are still looking for their first win over a team with anything resembling a pulse this season.
Craig Grialou, reporter
Numbers don’t always tell the story, but the number zero certainly does, as in zero home wins against Seattle since 2013. And that’s just unacceptable.
But there was a lot that was unacceptable in the Cardinals’ 22-16 loss to the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football. Too many drops — catch the ball Jermaine Gresham and J.J. Nelson — too many mistakes, especially on special teams — why is Kerwynn Williams fielding a punt inside the five-yard line?? — and too many injuries. Losing D.J. Humphries is brutal and Tyvon Branch’s loss puts a dent in the defense, though it likely opens the door to get some more defensive snaps for Budda Baker, who has excelled on special teams.
Did the Cardinals stick with the run game too long? Yes. But handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson gives the Cardinals the best chance to win. And that’s no knock on Drew Stanton.
The defense did its job. They played well. Sometimes, though, you just have to tip your cap to the opponent. That Russell Wilson scramble drill — “A crazy play,” Bruce Arians said — to convert a 2nd-and-21 will be a play that will be hard to forget and may even cause nightmares to those defenders on the field.
Meanwhile, the nightmare that is the Seahawks always choosing to nest inside University of Phoenix Stadium continues, 4-0-1 in their last five visits.
Doug Franz, Co-host of Doug & Wolf
Thursday Night Football proves once again to be a disastrous idea. If it wasn’t my job, I never would have watched this poor football game. Any play that didn’t end with a penalty or injury was considered a successful play.
On the game, Drew Stanton overthrew open receivers and receivers dropped passes that hit them in the hands while they were slightly covered. The defense played well but was terrible on one drive and got “Wilsoned” on another. The largest ineptitude of the game was the end of first-half coaching from Bruce Arians.
The Cardinals are not going to the playoffs and every decision from this point forward where 2018 isn’t the focus is a complete waste of time.