ARIZONA CARDINALS

Gameday leftovers: Cards DC’s ‘brilliant’ calls led to Simmons INT

Oct 27, 2020, 6:45 AM | Updated: 7:09 am
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals look on ...
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals look on during the second half of the NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at State Farm Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 23-17. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph didn’t have much left in the tool box with two starting defensive ends and his vocal leader, Jordan Hicks, injured down the stretch against the Seattle Seahawks.

Those facts didn’t change his aggressive play-calling Sunday.

From a corner blitz on third down of Seattle’s first overtime drive to a wild play-call that forced Russell Wilson’s third interception in the Cardinals’ 37-34 win, he was pushing the right buttons when it counted most.

The second of those two aforementioned plays resulted in rookie Isaiah Simmons’ interception that gave Arizona the ball back for a game-winning field goal.

Not only was it the first-round pick’s fifth defensive snap of the game — it called for two defensive backs to rush and for three inside linebackers and one outside backer to drop into coverage after feigning a pass-rush.

It was apparently enough to confuse Wilson, who tried to attack a vacated area of the field on the hot route by receiver Tyler Lockett. But Lockett, seeing backers falling into coverage, didn’t read the play as his quarterback did.

“I thought that was a brilliant sequencing of calls by Vance,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday. “He’d gone (coverage) zero-blitz, zero-blitz and then lined up. It looked like it again, and he bailed those guys out underneath it. The receivers felt them bailing and they didn’t look hot, and Russ thought it was hot, it looked like, and Isaiah did a great job getting underneath it.

“I thought in a crucial situation, V.J. had some great calls.”

Arizona got Wilson and the Seahawks’ NFL-leading offense off the field five of six times in the second half, and the defense only got stronger as Joseph dialed it up in overtime.

It was not just the creative plays.

Joseph put a ton of trust in Simmons and fellow backup linebacker Tanner Vallejo in crucial moments after Hicks went down. Vallejo got two crucial tackles on the final Seattle possession of regulation, including a stop on 3rd-and-2 that forced a punt to set up an overtime-forcing field goal at 0:00.

Larry saving time (again)

Larry Fitzgerald’s awareness helped the Cardinals beat the clock for a key field goal before the first half ended in the team’s season-opening win against the San Francisco 49ers.

So forgive us if all the other crazy things that happened in Week 7’s win over Seattle overshadowed that he did the exact same thing on Sunday Night Football.

Good Morning Football’s Pete Schrager was sure to point out that Fitzgerald possibly won Arizona the game by running the ball to the hash mark for Kyler Murray to spike it, setting up a Zane Gonzalez game-winner.

This should not be surprising, as the future Hall of Famer — we already knew — has so far beaten father time.

Edmonds is a problem

With news that Kenyan Drake will be down for at least a few weeks due to an ankle injury, Chase Edmonds slides in as Arizona’s primary running back.

If it seems like the offense clicks better with him, well, that’s because he causes so many problems in the passing game.

Christian Kirk’s touchdown before halftime came as the Seahawks defensive backs found themselves a little too concerned with the running back split out in the slot.

Edmonds is Arizona’s third-leading receiver (222 yards). He’s also tied for third in targets (32) and second with 184 yards after catch.

While he will need to prove he can carry more as a north-south running back, it’s become apparent that Arizona’s fourth receiver is actually their backup running back.

Here’s a peek at his receptions chart after he grabbed seven catches for 87 yards.

No apologies for that one

We covered the most egregious of Kingsbury’s questionable calls — a “complete debacle” of icing his own kicker before Gonzalez missed a game-winner on 2nd-and-15 from plus-40 yards.

Kingsbury reiterated Monday he’ll learn from it, and he noted that Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins both communicated with him that they wanted the ball next time around.

As for a 4th-and-3 decision to go for it near the goal line after Budda Baker’s 90-yard interception return, Kingsbury said Sunday and again Monday that he’d do it all over again.

“That’s the leading scoring team in the NFL with arguably the MVP of the league so far,” he said Sunday. “You’re not going to beat that team with field goals. I would do that 10 out of 10 times.”

Now, Kingsbury did say he admittedly would change the play-call. But going for it was the right move analytically.

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) dives in for a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) dives in for a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) breaks the tackle of Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (20) breaks up a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is hit by Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Haason Reddick (43) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella (17) is hit by Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) escapes the reach of Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker (32) as outside linebacker Haason Reddick (43) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) pulls in a touchdown pass as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (20) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) escapes the reach of Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard (42) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly (89) can't pull in a catch in the end zone as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (59) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson looks into a television camera after making an interception against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard (42) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) walks off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) is helped off the field after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake is carted off the field after an injury against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) lunges for a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar (22) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talks with line judge Tim Podraza (47) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) kicks a game-tying field goal as punter Andy Lee (4) holds during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) gets the throw off as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kylie Fitts makes the hit during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) celebrates with long snapper Aaron Brewer (46) after kicking the game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 37-34 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) kicks the game winning field goal as punter Andy Lee (4) holds during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 37-34 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez kicks the game winning field goal as punter Andy Lee (4) holds during the second half of 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) Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez, right, celebrates his game winning field goal with offensive guard Justin Pugh (67)during the second half of 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) 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) Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez (5) leaves the field 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/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks fans watch their teams prior to an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (20) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Russell Wilson (3), offensive tackle Duane Brown (76) and offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (74) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly (89) kneels during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Some of the Seattle Seahawks sit during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray recovers his bobbled snap against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray avoids the sack as Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, right, makes the hit during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard (42) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen (88) can't hold on in the end zone as Arizona Cardinals safety Deionte Thompson (22) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) The Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals compete during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (32) runs against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) scores a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar (22) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks fans watch during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals fans watch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (32) runs as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker, left, intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson, right, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Safety Budda Baker #32 of the Arizona Cardinals runs back a 90-yard interception to the Seattle Seahawks 8-yard line in the first quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf tackles Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker (32) short of the goal line after Baker intercepted a pass during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde (30) runs in for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett is tackled by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, right during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde (30) celebrates his touchdown with teammate David Moore (83) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett, left, pulls in a touchdown catch as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde (30) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) pulls in a touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) celebrates his touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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