Here are 11 observations about the game:
1) When your leading rusher for the game is Andre Roberts with one carry for 15 yards, you know it was not a good day for the running backs. Enough said.
2) Let’s give some credit to the much aligned offensive line, who played outstanding in the first half … and even with a stronger push by the Seahawks defense in the second half, still only allowed one sack all game.
3) The defense came into the game excited and energized, and set the tone early. Clearly part of the strategy for this game was for the Cardinals defense to rattle the nerves of Seattle’s rookie quarterback – and to a large extent this strategy worked very well.
4) How about some cheers for the Cardinals’ secondary, who were supposed to be the weakest link on the Cardinals defense. Russell Wilson was forced out of the pocket often because he simply could not find a receiver open downfield. The Seahawks completed virtually no long passes all game. Even Michael Adams, who many folks believed shouldn’t have even made the team, came up big time at the end of the game. The Seahawks were only 5-16 on third down conversions, and most of those missed conversions came on errant passes.
5) When Adrian Wilson intercepted that pass at the end of the first half, and handed the ball to Patrick Peterson, did anyone think for a second that he just might break free and score a touchdown? (I did!)
6) Darryl Washington proved why the Cardinals just paid him the big bucks to lock him up for the next six years. He had ten tackles and a sack, and wherever the ball carrier was, Washington seemed to be right there with him.
7) The Cardinals committed too many penalties. Granted, a couple of the pass interference calls were questionable at best (especially that first penalty against Peterson on the Seahawks first drive). However, there were several offsides calls against a too eager defense, and Reggie Walker was flagged for a silly roughing the passer penalty. Fortunately, the Seahawks were called for even more penalties, so the flags evened out.
8) How good was the Cardinals defense? When you consider that 10 of the Seahawks 16 points were scored because Leon Washington set the table for the scores with two long kick returns, and the other two field goals were scored when the Cardinals clamped down on the Seahawks and prevented the Seahawks from scoring a touchdown, I think you can say that there wasn’t even one sustained offensive drive by the Seahawks all game that led to a big score.
9) If the Cardinals could have converted the two first half red zone drives into touchdowns instead of field goals, this game would not have come down to its frantic, emotional finish. That’s something the Cardinals need to work on — better red zone conversions. Also, they did not play very well with a 10-point lead (maybe because it has been a long time since they have had a 10-point lead after the first half).
10) When Kevin Kolb threw that first pass five yards over the head of Larry Fitzgerald, I’m sure that all Cardinals fans were thinking, “Oh no, not again!” Fortunately, he made all of the doubters into believers – and went on to complete six passes for 66 yards, leading the Cardinals to the winning score.
11) It’s much too early to even think of the playoffs. However, if the Cardinals somehow manage to qualify for the post-season, it will be wins like this one (a close, ugly win against a division rival) that will propel them to such a finish.