Cardinals drops, Earl Thomas’ errant finger stand out vs. Seahawks
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals caught a case of the dropsies Sunday in rookie quarterback Josh Rosen’s debut.
And this strain sure seemed contagious.
Five minutes into an eventual 20-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Larry Fitzgerald dropped a catch coming across the middle, his first of two potential grabs that went down as missed opportunities.
“I have to make that play,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s a momentum play. I’m expected to make that, I’m paid to make that play and I need to make that play.
“I have to do a better job of getting open, creating separation and being a viable option in the passing game. Do a better job in the run game. I have to play better.”
Fitzgerald failed to blame a hamstring injury that had limited him coming into the Week 4. But his first drop was one of many key botched catches by Arizona receivers at State Farm Stadium.
The Cardinals trailed 7-3 with five minutes to go in the first half when Rosen launched a deep ball to J.J. Nelson, who’d beat his man and looked perfectly set up for a 58-yard touchdown strike. But he couldn’t bring in the ball that hit him in stride.
The Cardinals would score eventually, but it was just that kind of night. Christian Kirk and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones each had drops as well, and Rosen finished completing 15 of 27 passes for 180 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
According to Pro Football Focus, Rosen’s completion percentage would rise from 56 percent to 72 percent if accounting for drops and throwaways.
“Those are obviously all catches that we have to make and that’s disappointing coming from our room,” Kirk said. “We already said it to one another, we didn’t play to our standard.”
Thomas waves an errant finger
Seattle left Sunday’s game with a bittersweet taste.
In the first half, it lost rookie tight end Will Dissly for the year due to a torn patella and later saw six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas carted off with a broken leg.
Thomas suffered the injury after Rosen’s game-tying touchdown pass to Chad Williams in the fourth quarter. But as he left on a cart with an air cast on his leg — and as Cardinals players offered their thoughts to him along their side of the field — Thomas gestured with a raised middle finger directed across the field, toward the Seahawks’ sideline.
The safety has been seeking a contract extension, and his unhappiness that began with a training camp holdout has lingered around Seattle even though he has played — and played well — this season.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said when asked about Thomas’ gesture. “It’s a big stadium. It could be anyone it was aimed at.
“Earl was extraordinarily poised on the field for what just occurred. To be so clear and so resolved, he knew what happened. I don’t know what happened after that.”
Carroll said Thomas gave the Seahawks words of encouragement after he suffered the injury. The loss, however, hit the Seattle locker room hard after the game.
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner also didn’t see Thomas’ gesture but defended his teammate, who now enters an uncertain future with a likely lengthy road to recovery and a contract worth $8.5 million coming to an end.
“I don’t have a reaction. When guys get hurt, crazy things happen, and there’s a lot of emotion that happens,” Wagner said.
“It’s right for a guy to have whatever emotions he has. They may not be right, it might not be the right emotions, but it’s good to have emotions, whatever it is,” the linebacker added. “Just let him be. Let him have his emotions. Trying to say ‘his emotions are wrong’ is wrong.”
— Wilks said the Cardinals’ decision to make former starting quarterback Sam Bradford the third-stringer behind Rosen and Mike Glennon was his: “My decision, nothing detailed. I just felt, again, making the best decision for the team, I wanted to make sure that Mike was up if anything happened, so that was it,” the head coach said.
— Bradford was not inactive on Sunday because of any injury, Wilks added. The quarterback was limited in practice through Thursday with a pectoral injury but played in full Friday.
— The Cardinals inserted linebacker Deone Bucannon as the starter after he had slowly lost snaps to Gerald Hodges over the first three weeks of the year. Cornerback Bene Benwikere also earned snaps at the second cornerback slot ahead of Jamar Taylor, who had started the first three games of the year.