Richard Sherman taunts, Seahawks celebrate and other notes from Cardinals loss

Jan 3, 2016, 7:49 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2016, 10:57 am
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) and free safety Earl Thomas (29) celebrates with S...
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) and free safety Earl Thomas (29) celebrates with Seattle Seahawks strong safety DeShawn Shead (35) after Shead intercepted a pas against the the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Seattle Seahawks took it to the Arizona Cardinals in a way that nobody has taken it to them since Bruce Arians became their coach before the 2013 season.

In beating Arizona 36-6 in the season finale, they handed the Cardinals their worst loss (points-wise) in the Arians era and ended the team’s nine-game winning streak.

Seattle also avenged a 39-32 defeat at the hands of Arizona earlier in the season. So, not surprisingly, they were not bashful about showing how much they were enjoying what was happening Sunday afternoon.

The most noticeable (or at least, memorable) instance of celebration came courtesy of cornerback Richard Sherman, who celebrated the breaking up of a third quarter pass to John Brown by…umm….doing this:

The gesture earned Sherman a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, though Sherman said he doesn’t know why he was flagged.

“I was talking to Carson (Palmer) and the ref had thought I did something,” he said. “It was just funny. You hear some of these guys talk sometimes and you never forget anything. This offseason I think the kid (John) Brown said I couldn’t guard him one-on-one.

“Laughable, you know what I mean? Things like that are laughable, but then I say this in a press conference and I’m a bad guy. But you can find the article, he said I couldn’t guard him. That’s the kind of disrespect you make sure they remember.”

So, why was he squatting?

“Because he was sitting on the bench, because he was sitting on the bench,” Sherman said. “It’s like you’re sitting on the bench, what are you talking about? It always looks like something different. That’s why he threw the flag. I was like, ‘Oh well.’ I guess it kind of looked funny. It happens.”

Brown was not sitting on the bench at the time because, of course, the pass Sherman broke up was intended for him. So, it might be safe to say Sherman isn’t being entirely truthful here.

“Yeah, he was probably saying something to me,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Sherm’s a good player. I don’t get into all that crap.”

Perhaps Arians was making a pun with the last line, or maybe he didn’t really care.

Either way, the Seahawks deserved to celebrate. Arizona did the same when they won in Seattle a couple months ago and really, that’s the way things go in the NFL, at least according to veteran Cardinals linebacker Dwight Freeney.

“Yeah, have a great time,” he said. “Listen, winning in this league is a really hard thing and I don’t care. They deserve to enjoy it and dance and all of that stuff and they had a better game today.

“For us, we have two weeks to figure it out and it’s a great learning tape. We are going to chop this thing up and figure out what we did wrong. We’ve got two weeks and if we see them again, great, and if we don’t, then great. We’ve got two weeks to figure it out.”

Resting Palmer

One of the biggest story lines heading into the game was how the Cardinals would handle quarterback Carson Palmer in terms of how much he would play.

All week long Arians said the plan was to approach this matchup as if it was Week 1 of the season, adding he would treat Palmer no different than any other player when it came to playing or resting.

Turns out, that wasn’t entirely accurate.

Palmer took a seat after halftime, finishing the game having completed 12-of-25 passes for 129 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Backup Drew Stanton came out for the third quarter and played the rest of the game.

“Yeah, it was planned ahead of time,” Arians said of that decision.

The veteran quarterback finished the regular season with a franchise-record 4,671 passing yards to go along with a record 35 touchdown passes against 11 interceptions, and will now get a chance to lead the Cardinals into the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 2 seed. That’s for the future, though. In the present, he was understandably disappointed with what transpired Sunday afternoon in Glendale.

The Cardinals, who entered the game as the league’s top-ranked offense in both yards and points per game, tallied just 232 net yards to go along with their six points.

However, any struggles he or Arizona’s offense had were not attributed to the Seahawks doing anything differently or that they didn’t expect.

“They’re very good defensively,” he said. “Personnel-wise, their scheme is not very complicated. It hasn’t been as long as I know Pete (Carroll) has been there. They line up, they play, they do what they typically do.

“There’s always a wrinkle or two for every game. If we see them again, we’ll get a little wrinkle here and there. For the most part, they lined up and played and outplayed us.”

Been here before?

In 2009, the Cardinals went into their Week 17 matchup against the Green Bay Packers with little to play for, and it showed in a 33-7 home loss. The very next week, they came back and played that same Packers team again in University of Phoenix Stadium, winning 51-45 in overtime.

Though the Cardinals said all week they planned on doing all they could to try and beat the Seahawks Sunday, receiver Larry Fitzgerald admitted this effort had a similar feel to the one roughly six years ago.

“It’s Week 17 and we are heading to the playoffs, just from a mental standpoint I don’t think we were hitting on all cylinders,” he said. “We have to get back tomorrow and address the film. Put the things that we did to rest and continue to build on what we have been doing the rest of the season.”

Staying healthy

The Cardinals entered the game with just two players — linebacker Markus Golden and defensive lineman Josh Mauro — being forced to sit out due to injury.

They seem to have left the game not much worse for wear.

Defensive lineman Cory Redding exited early with an ankle injury and did not return, but his was the only official injury announced.

“I’m not sure,” Arians said when asked if there were any others. “It looked like Lyle (Sendlein) got a little bruise, but I don’t know about anybody else.”

With two weeks until Arizona’s next game, there should be ample time to rest and heal up.

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