Lively halftime locker room produced strong response from Cards defense
At halftime of Sunday’s 37-34 win over the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury heard a lot of conversations going on from his defensive group in the locker room.
That was necessary because of a 27-point Seahawks first half that could have easily been 38 had it not been for Budda Baker’s red-zone interception off Russell Wilson and Greg Olsen failing to get a second foot down for a potential touchdown.
Seattle had 377 yards in the opening two quarters. Something had to change.
They were on it.
“I think [defensive coordinator Vance Joseph] listened to them at halftime,” Kingsbury said Sunday. “Had a great plan, great adjustments they made and our guys executed.
“To hold that offense to seven points (in the second half) is pretty incredible.”
Kingsbury elaborated on Monday’s Bickley & Marotta show on Arizona Sports.
“It wasn’t pretty in the first half and they knew it,” he said.
“It was a confident locker room. They knew what needed to be fixed.”
Safety Budda Baker spoke to what wasn’t working in those first 30 minutes.
“Honestly, guys just needed to settle down,” he told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo Monday. “There were some blown coverages and Seattle was doing their plays. Few plays we haven’t seen before.”
The Cardinals and Joseph continued to shake up their calls in order to not let Wilson get comfortable with his reading of the field.
“When you kind of show him smoke and mirrors sometimes … we knew we had to do that because Russell is one of the best QBs in the NFL,” Baker said. “If he got an easy look, it would have been a long day.”
It paid off big-time in overtime for rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons’ interception, one that was predicated on tricking Wilson into thinking it was the same coverages he had seen for the first few plays of the drive.
“That’s what it’s about is that one play as a defensive play-caller that can flip the game and it was a huge call,” Kingsbury said.