Big Red Recap: Cardinals beat Seahawks in 2017 finale
The kick had plenty of distance but Blair Walsh pushed it right, giving the Arizona Cardinals a 26-24 win in the final game of the season and on the final day of 2017.
That’s three straight victories and four in their last five visits to Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
“Thank you for coming to my house,” head coach Bruce Arians told reporters after earning his 50th win with the Cardinals, the most in franchise history.
The Cardinals (8-8) led 20-7 at halftime after perhaps their best half of football and then held on for the victory, their second in a row. It’s the first time all season the Cardinals have posted wins in back-to-back weeks.
Credit Arizona’s Phil Dawson for the game-winner. He did what Walsh could not.
Dawson made good on a 42-yard attempt with 2:21 to play, while Walsh missed from 48 yards with 32 seconds left.
Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton passed for 145 yards and a touchdown. Kerwynn Williams and Elijhaa Penny combined for 116 rushing yards and a touchdown, and the defense kept up its outstanding play late in the season.
Despite the loss, the Seahawks (9-7) outgained the Cardinals 296-259.
Offensively, the Cardinals gained 109 yards. Defensively, the Cardinals allowed zero yards. That’s about as good a first quarter as the Cardinals have played this season. Williams gained 44 of the 53 rushing yards, while Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 25 receiving yards on five catches. He was targeted six times. On defense, the Cardinals’ Josh Mauro and Olsen Pierre each made key stops with Mauro snuffing out a 3rd-and-1.
No one has had more success at getting to opposing quarterbacks this season than Arizona outside linebacker Chandler Jones. He recorded his 16th sack on a 3rd-and-13 in the first quarter and then his 17th on a 3rd-and-3 in the third quarter; the latter of which set a new franchise single-season record. Jones, who also drew a holding call in the second quarter, had at least one sack in 13 of 16 games this season and now 22 of 32 games played since joining the Cardinals.
With his second made field goal of the game, a 46-yarder that increased the Cardinals’ lead to 20-7 with 58 seconds left in the second quarter, Dawson became just the fourth player in franchise history with 30 or more field goals in a season. It also marked the third time in his career in which he’s made 30 or more field goals in a single season: 32 in 2013 (49ers) and 30 in 2008 (Browns). Overall, Dawson has made 20 of his last 22 field goals.
Six minutes into the game and the Cardinals had a 7-0 lead. Unfortunately, the lead lasted all of 12 seconds. On the ensuing kickoff following the Jaron Brown 25-yard touchdown catch, Tyler Lockett went 99 yards for the game-tying score at the 8:43 mark of the first quarter. Lockett returned the kick straight up the middle, was not touched and out-ran Patrick Peterson across the goal line.
After 24 first-half yards, the Seahawks gained 80 on their first possession of the second half — and scored. Doug Baldwin caught an 18-yard touchdown, which made it 20-14 Arizona at the 8:59 mark of the third quarter. Twice on the drive the Seahawks converted on 2nd-and-13 or greater — including on the score. They moved the chains on a 4th-and-6 at the Arizona 39 following a Jimmy Graham 20-yard reception.
Great throw. Great catch. And just like that, the Seahawks took their first lead of the game, 24-23, at the 10:24 mark of the fourth quarter. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed 29 yards to Baldwin, who beat Peterson in coverage. The drive was set up by a 27-yard punt return by Lockett to the Seattle 40. It was a two-play, 60-yard drive. The first play was a 31-yard run by Wilson on a designed quarterback rush.
STAT OF THE GAME
1-of-12: The Cardinals limited Wilson and the Seahawks offense to just one third down. Over the last six games, the Cardinals have held their opponents to 15.7 percent (11-of-70) on third down.
HE SAID IT
“This is one heck of a football team,” Arians said, adding about winning No. 50, “I can’t lie. It’s very, very gratifying.”
– Fitzgerald now has at least one reception in 211 consecutive games, tied for the second-longest streak in league history.
– Jones now has 16 multi-sack games, including four this season, since 2013. He’s tied with J.J. Watt for the most in that span.
– Dawson now has 42 50-plus yard field goals in his career, tying John Kasay for the fourth-most all-time in league history.
– Mauro hopped off the field after re-injuring his right ankle early in the third quarter; he was called questionable to return.
– Alex Boone (calf) and Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) left the game in the third quarter. Gresham reportedly tore his Achilles.
– Haason Reddick appeared to hurt his right knee early in the second quarter; he left the game briefly only to return later.
– With the victory, Stanton improved to 9-4 as a starter as a member of the Cardinals, including a 3-1 record this season.
– With the victory, the Cardinals became the first team to win three straight in Seattle since Pete Carroll took over in 2010.
– Despite Earl Watford (ankle) being active for the first time since Dec. 10, Evan Boehm remained the starter at right guard.
– Among the Cardinals’ listed inactives was Josh Bynes (ankle), plus healthy scratches Chad Williams and Xavier Williams.
Free agency and the draft.
The former begins March 14, while the latter takes place April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium.
And as far as next season’s schedule is concerned, in 2018, the NFC West faces the NFC North and AFC West.
So, here’s how it breaks down for the Cardinals: They will host the Bears, Broncos, Raiders and Redskins in addition to division opponents Rams, Seahawks and 49ers. They will play at the Chargers, Chiefs, Falcons and Vikings in addition to division stops in L.A., Seattle and San Francisco.