Cardinals’ valiant effort falls short in season-ending loss to Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) — Sebastian Janikowski made a 33-yard field goal on the final play and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-24 on Sunday, wrapping up the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs and a matchup at Dallas.
Seattle took a 24-21 lead earlier in the fourth quarter on Janikowski’s 42-yard field goal, but watched Arizona answer with Zane Gonzalez’s third field goal of the game, from 55 yards with 1:49 left to tie it. Gonzalez hit earlier from 36 and 50 yards.
After converting a third-and-1 early in the drive, Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for 37 yards to the Arizona 25-yard line. After a couple of running plays, Jankowski hit the winner to give Seattle 10 wins for the sixth time in Pete Carroll’s tenure.
Chris Carson rushed for a career-high 122 yards and a touchdown, but Seattle slogged through a mostly forgettable Week 17 performance. Russell Wilson got sacked six times and a litany of special teams mistakes allowed the hapless Cardinals to stick around far longer than expected.
But Seattle forced two turnovers and Wilson made just enough plays that Seattle will go into the postseason winning six of its final seven games.
Wilson was 12 of 21 for 152 yards, one touchdown and an interception in the first quarter that ended Seattle’s hopes of matching the NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season. Mike Davis added a 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Josh Rosen was 18 of 34 for 149 yards and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. But Rosen was sacked six times and the loss ensured the Cardinals the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft.
Seattle looked the part of a team that wrapped up its postseason berth a week ago with an emotional shootout victory over Kansas City and had little to play for. Seattle went three-and-out on five straight offensive possessions starting in the middle of the second quarter through the middle of the third against a defense that has caused problems in the past.
Seattle finally got a first down thanks to a defensive holding penalty against Haason Reddick that negated Wilson’s fumble being returned for a touchdown by Patrick Peterson. Carson bolted for 61 yards on the next play. Davis bounced outside for a 17-yard TD run and a 21-13 lead.
Arizona pulled even on a blocked punt by Cameron Malveaux recovered by Dennis Gardeck for a touchdown. It was the first punt block for a TD by the Cardinals since 2008, and the 2-point conversion by David Johnson pulled the Cardinals even at 21.
Frank Clark’s sack and fumble on Rosen set up Janikowski’s first field goal and a couple key throws by Wilson allowed Seattle to escape with the win.
In his 15th season, Fitzgerald caught the 116th touchdown pass of his career and became the third player with at least 1,300 career receptions. The question will linger whether there’s a 16th season in Fitzgerald’s future, although he still showed the skill as an exceptional pass catcher. His first reception came on the final play of the first quarter and extended his streak to 227 straight games with a catch. His best catch was in the second quarter as he initially faked a block, slipped behind cornerback Akeem King and made a one-handed reception for his sixth touchdown of the season.
His 116 career TDs are tied for sixth with Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.
Seattle will have one big question going into next week after starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin left in the first half with a right ankle injury and did not return. Griffin appeared to take an awkward step on the sideline pushing Fitzgerald out of bounds, and after being looked at on the sideline never returned.
Cardinals: Arizona is on the clock for the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Seahawks: Seattle will travel to Dallas in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.