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Penalties nibble away at Cardinals’ opportunities in loss to Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1), left, takes a snap against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

There was no 12th man for the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field, but the Arizona Cardinals might have thought differently.

A rash of Cardinals penalties — all without the usually rowdy fans in the stadium aiding the home team — nibbled away at opportunities for Arizona to take control of a game that, otherwise, was more of a defensive battle than anticipated.

By the end of the 28-21 Seattle win, Arizona had 10 flags for 115 yards against it.

“You’re not going to win in this league doing that, especially against a quality team against Seattle,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “That’s unacceptable to have that many and we got to clean that up.

“Just got to refocused and be better moving forward. The guys, when that occurs, they’re always feeling bad about the situation and so you just try to make sure we get past it and not allow it to happen against and not allow it to affect us moving forward.”

Three in the second half stood out.

On 3rd-and-7 with 6:31 left in the third quarter, Seahawks receiver Trent Lockett picked up five yards on a reception but was stopped short of a first down by Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

As the teams reassembled for the next play, Seattle receiver D.K. Metcalf and Arizona defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick went helmet-to-helmet exchanging words, and though teammates attempted to separate them, the two batted at one another, drawing a flag.

Kirkpatrick was given a taunting penalty, giving Seattle a first down and 15 yards, moving the Seahawks to the Arizona 17-yard line.

“We just got to be more composed,” safety Budda Baker said. “That situation was fourth down, it was going to be fourth down, and got a penalty and put them in first down.”

Seattle (7-3) quickly got 15 more yards on a Carlos Hyde carry before he found the end zone on the next snap.

The score pushed the Seahawks’ lead to 23-14 with 5:20 left in the third.

Arizona (6-4) responded, going 90 yards on 15 plays while surviving two penalties to score on a 3rd-and-goal play. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray found Chase Edmonds for a wide open touchdown reception from three years out, pulling the Cardinals within two points, 23-21, minutes into the final period.

But the Arizona offense had its issue in terms of volume.

It hurt the Cardinals, who tallied 314 total yards by the end of the night, 111 fewer than their average through the previous nine games.

Four false starts, three offensive holding penalties and an intentional grounding stunted the rhythm for the Cardinals offense.

With more than nine minutes left in the game, Murray began a drive with an avoidable intentional grounding penalty on what looked like a broken play. It backed Arizona up from the 14-yard line to the 2, and on the next play, a holding call on right guard J.R. Sweezy in the end zone accounted for a safety that put Seattle ahead 25-21.

Murray said the offensive flags irked him more than anything on Thursday.

“Probably just the little self-inflicted penalties,” he said. “Just really shooting ourselves in the foot. It wasn’t a clean game by any means — easier said than done to play those — but that’s just … we got to be better.”

Seattle took possession after the safety with 9:12 still on the clock and cooked nearly seven minutes off the clock before Jason Myers knocked in a 41-yard field goal to give the Seahawks a 28-21 lead.

Arizona went 46 yards on 11 plays but stalled on the final drive that ended with a sack of Murray and a turnover on downs.


Phillips Law Group

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