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Rapid Reactions: Cardinals win OT thriller vs. Seahawks on SNF

Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) celebrates his game-winning field goal with teammates after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 37-34 in overtime. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Well, we certainly have a lot to get to, so we’ll be brief.

The Arizona Cardinals came back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to somehow not only force overtime but also beat the Seattle Seahawks 37-34 in another instant classic for Arizona on Sunday Night Football.

This game had it all and ultimately added up to one of the strangest games the Cardinals have played in years, one where we’ll need the multiple perspectives below to cover it all.

Arizona Sports’ hosts, reporters and editors react to a wild, wild game:

Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta

Dear NBC/NFL,

Please stop putting the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. My heart can’t take anymore.

Signed,

Me

Of course, this is tongue-in-cheek, because once again these two teams put on a spectacular show on national television, with the Cardinals outlasting the Seahawks 37-34 in overtime. When Zane Gonzalez’s 48-yard field goal went through the uprights with 15 seconds left in the extra period, Arizona owned the lead for the first time in the contest.

This was a game of quarterback play and mistakes. Kyler Murray made one major mistake. His fourth-quarter interception, which immediately followed a Patrick Peterson pick of Russell Wilson, felt like a death knell. Wilson made it hurt, hitting Tyler Lockett on a gorgeous 3-yard touchdown pass — their third hookup of the game.

But the Cardinals forced Wilson, the presumed league MVP to this point, into more mistakes. Isaiah Simmons, the seldom-used Cardinals first-round pick, came up with the first signature play of his career, picking off Wilson on a 3rd-and-14 with 57 seconds left. The turnover gave Murray a chance to guide his team into field goal range, and provided Gonzalez the chance to redeem himself after missing a potential game-winning 41-yarder earlier in OT.

Gonzalez hit it, and the Cardinals get their biggest win of the Kliff Kingsbury era.

Murray was electric. Gonzalez’s redemption was nice. It’s a big win for Kingsbury, but for the second straight week, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s schemes helped his team win a game.

It wasn’t an all-night clinic by Joseph’s unit. His team was gashed for 27 points and 377 yards on offense. But as the night wore on, Joseph and the defense got better, allowing Seattle to score just seven points over the game’s last 40 minutes. The defense was able to confuse and bait Wilson into the pivotal turnover in overtime, and VJ was responsible.

The NFL season is nearly seven full weeks old, and we just saw the game of the year to this point — and the Cardinals won it.

There is going to be a lot of buzz come Monday morning, not only about this game, but about this team. Can’t wait to talk about it Monday morning at 10:00 a.m.

John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo

He did what?!

Kliff Kingsbury called for a potential game-winning field goal attempt of 41 yards on second down with 2:47 left in overtime. WHY?! What are you doing Kliff?! Are you thinking? Run a play! And if you trust your quarterback, run two plays and take as much time off of that clock as humanly possible or at least force Seattle to use its timeouts. Kliff panicked. Clearly, he panicked after the 5-yard loss on the tackle by Seattle’s Ryan Neal. Yes, Zane Gonzalez should make a 41-yard field goal, and he did the first time, but Kliff had to call a timeout because the play clock was going to run out, which was the right thing to do. But he missed the second one badly! Everything about that decision to kick on second down was bad. That was a Big 12 coaching decision.

And if Russell Wilson had done Russell Wilson things and led Seattle to the win with a second chance in OT, we would be torching Kliff on the show tomorrow. Instead, we will be talking about the 5-2 Arizona Cardinals because Isaiah Simmons, yes, Isaiah freakin’ Simmons, came up with the huge interception of Wilson with 57 seconds left. And Kyler made two passes, one to DeAndre Hopkins for nine yards and one to Larry Fitzgerald for seven yards, sandwiched around a Chase Edmonds 3-yard run to set Zane up for a chance at redemption.

Gonzalez nailed the game-winner (barely) and the Cardinals beat Seattle for the first time in Arizona since 2013. More importantly, they go into the bye coming off two straight wins, and at 5-2, would likely have to really mess up to not be a playoff team. What this game came down to was which defense had any gas left in the tank at the end. Neither defense was great but it was the Cardinals defense that found a second gear when it needed it most and Seattle’s defense that had no ability to stop the Cardinals. A big play by Tanner Vallejo on a 3rd-and-2 with 1:42 left in regulation forced a punt that allowed the Cardinals to get the ball back with 52 seconds left and drive for the tying field goal.

On Seattle’s first possession of OT, Haason Reddick had a sack for a 6-yard loss, Kylie Fitts had a stop of Carlos Hyde for a 6-yard loss and Byron Murphy added a sack for a 10-yard loss that forced Seattle to punt. After the missed field goal by Zane gave the Seahawks the ball at their own 31 with 2:42 left, Reddick had a stop of Hyde for a 4-yard loss, Deionte Thompson had a big hit of Wilson that forced an incomplete pass and Vallejo clobbered Wilson to force an incomplete pass before Simmons on a 3rd-and-14 welcomed himself to the NFL with the first of what we expect to be many interceptions.

What a game. A lot to digest here. But Arizona on back-to-back national television games proved they belong.

Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo

Of all the twists and turns, the ups and downs the thought that I can’t get out of my head is … Isaiah Simmons was the one who came up with the game-turning interception.

Of all the players it could have been in all the moments it could have happened in and it was Isaiah Simmons who changed that game. He played less than a half-dozen snaps on defense and has struggled to find any kind of a role for this team. His selection, usage and training has come under such scrutiny. He was a completely forgotten man in this game until he dropped back into coverage and took advantage of the kind of mistake Russell Wilson never makes. I just watched the video of him getting a game ball for his efforts and it is proof positive of the belief in him that still exists in that locker room.

Of course, there were many players, and coaches, who turned that game.

Most of the night it felt like Seattle was right on the verge of exposing the Cardinals as wannabes. Kyler was calm in the face of the comeback and had a terrific wingman in Fitz getting the ball back so they could quickly set up for the next play. It was gratifying that the Zane Gonzalez quest-for-redemption didn’t take very long. It was encouraging to see a defense, and its coordinator, that had been humiliated in the first half, find its footing and bravado in the second half. And it was admirable to see Kliff Kingsbury show both conviction (in going for it on 4th-and-goal) and humility (in acknowledging how badly he screwed up the Zane miss) in the same game. Mostly it was rewarding to see a Cards team not get swallowed up by the moment. Whether it was D.K. Metcalf chasing down Budda Baker or Tyler Lockett’s ridiculous catch on fourth down in the end zone, every time the Seahawks did something you thought would break the Cardinals they instead stayed whole.

And in the most shocking twist of all, it was Seattle that ended up breaking in the biggest moments on the sport’s biggest stage.

Now that was a twist no one could see coming.

Jordan Byrd, host of Arizona Sports Saturday and producer of Burns & Gambo

That felt like four different games all mixed into one.

The Cardinals simultaneously had no business winning this game while also blowing about three different chances to win it. Kyler Murray was amazing and it truly was exciting to watch him go toe-to-toe with the guy who was the MVP front runner heading into Sunday night. With performances like this, Kyler might be throwing his hat into that MVP conversation. His head coach almost sabotaged Kyler and his teammates, though, as Kliff Kingsbury made some very questionable decisions and quite a few mistakes.

First, there was the decision to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a chip shot field goal after the Budda Baker interception. Then he elected to attempt the game-winning field goal on a second down, as he had to be made aware by one of his assistant coaches to ice his own kicker before getting a costly delay of game penalty. Also, his love affair with the wide receiver screen passes is getting tiresome.

The defense looked terrible in the beginning of this game but made the necessary adjustments and plays to put the Cards in a position to win. Vance Joseph dialed up more of the defense we saw last week in Dallas during the second half and overtime and it significantly impacted the rhythm of the Seahawks’ offense. I just wish we would get a chance to see a more consistently aggressive Vance play-calling style.

At times, the Cardinals looked at best like a Wild Card contender. At times, they looked like they could hang with arguably the best team in the NFC. The reality is that Arizona is now just a half-game out of the division lead and have matched their win total from last season. So regardless of how it may have looked to get to this point, the truth is the Cards are now real players in both the NFC West and the conference.

Luke Lapinski, host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski

Not only was this the Cardinals’ biggest game since the NFC Championship against Carolina at the end of the 2015 season, it was one of the most entertaining games I’ve ever seen. So many great plays — and mind-boggling mistakes — on both sides, and now Arizona’s heading into the bye week at 5-2.

That’s back-to-back primetime wins in front of a national audience in the span of six days. And while it’s easy to poke holes in victories over teams like the Jets and the Cowboys, nobody can take this one away from the Cardinals. They stepped into the ring with one of the last two undefeated teams in football, traded punches for three hours and came out on top.

What’s more, Kyler Murray went head to head with Russell Wilson and won. This doesn’t suddenly shift the balance of power in the NFC or take away from what Wilson’s done all season — he’s still the leader for MVP right now — but it better put this Cardinals team on everyone’s radar nationally. And it certainly reinforces the growing belief that Murray vs. Wilson is going to be must-see football, at least two times a year, for the foreseeable future. Sign me up.

The Cards never led until the final whistle. They lost Kenyan Drake late, they wasted Budda Baker’s electrifying interception and I’ll never fully understand what they were doing when they attempted a 41-yard field goal on second down after icing their own kicker. In fact, if you think about that last sentence long enough, you’ll give yourself a migraine. But they kept grinding and found a way to win anyway. In other words, they basically Seahawk’d the Seahawks.

Kellan Olson, editor and reporter for ArizonaSports.com

This is great timing for the bye week because there are two weeks worth of segments for our hosts to talk about.

In such a bizarre game, the magnitude of the win on that stage is really all that matters more than anything else. Two bad defenses were bad and then there were just a bunch of really weird occurrences, like Russell Wilson’s awful interceptions and Kliff Kingsbury’s even more awful decision-making.

A truly momentous victory that cannot be hyped up enough given it was at home in this fashion against the Seahawks and Wilson. Kyler Murray had his first shot at a moment for his NFL legacy and he seized it.


Phillips Law Group

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