Seahawks’ defense too much for Arizona Cardinals: By the Numbers
They still have the NFC’s best record — but if it’s true that you have to beat the best in order to be the best, the Arizona Cardinals still have work to do.
Quarterback Drew Stanton was off target for most of the game, tailback Andre Ellington struggled again, and the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks did more than enough on defense and special teams (including a blocked punt in the third quarter) to hand Arizona a 19-3 setback Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
The Cardinals’ defense did its part and then some, sacking speedy Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson seven times, including five times in the second quarter for their highest first-half team sack total since 1991. But Wilson made enough plays with his arm and legs, connecting with Cooper Helfet on a 20-yard reception for the game’s only touchdown late in the third quarter.
Arizona’s three points were its lowest single-game total since its embarrassing 58-0 defeat at Seattle on Dec. 9, 2012.
The loss stings, but perspective is required: The Cardinals still have a two-game cushion in the NFC West division and are in control of their own destiny for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. But the Cards clearly have issues to address, especially on offense, heading into the final five weeks of the regular season.
Here’s how the Cards dropped their second game of the season, by the numbers:
0 (part I)
The Cardinals came into the game with a plus-11 turnover margin, but they were unable to force a single Seattle interception or fumble Sunday. The game’s only turnover came via a Stanton interception in the first half.
0 (part II)
Stanton should have had a touchdown pass in the final minute of the second quarter, but wide receiver Jaron Brown dropped what should have been an easy 5-yard catch in the end zone. As such, Stanton is yet to throw a TD pass on the road this season, and he managed just 149 yards on 14-of-26 passing Sunday.
2 (part I)
The Cardinals’ only two losses on the season have come against last season’s Super Bowl participants. Arizona suffered a 41-20 defeat against the reigning AFC champion Denver Broncos in Week 5. The Cards are 9-0 against everyone else.
2 (part II)
After tying a record by making his first 17 NFL field-goal attempts, Cards rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed attempts 18 and 19. The former Clemson star missed a 53-yard kick against the Rams two weeks ago, and he was wide right on a 49-yard attempt against Seattle in the first quarter Sunday that would have tied the game at 3-3. Catanzaro did connect from 23 yards in the final minute of the second quarter for Arizona’s only points of the game.
Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell recorded three sacks — all in the second quarter — against Wilson, setting a new single-game career high. His previous high was 2.5 at Seattle in 2011.
After scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter of last weekend’s 14-6 win over the Lions, the Cardinals have managed just three points in their last seven quarters.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald sat out with a knee injury, and Stanton and the Cardinals sorely missed No. 11 on Sunday. Fitzgerald, who leads the Cardinals with 658 receiving yards for the year, missed his first NFL regular-season game since 2007.
Ellington’s rushing numbers continue to go downhill. After compiling just 65 yards on 37 carries in his previous two games, the second-year tailback managed just 24 yards on 10 rushes Sunday.
Arizona came into Sunday as the NFL’s fourth-best team on third-down conversions (45.9 percent), but the Seahawks held the Cards to just 3-of-12 on third downs (25 percent) Sunday.
Arizona struggled to contain Wilson on the ground, but the Seahawks, who came into the game leading the league with 174.2 rushing yards per game, were limited to 124 yards on 29 carries. The Cards restricted running back Marshawn Lynch to 39 yards on 15 rushes.
Wilson had more passing yards Sunday than the Cardinals had in total offense. The third-year quarterback passed for 211 yards; Arizona managed 204 total yards. Wilson also rushed for a game-high 73 yards on 10 carries.