Arizona Cardinals: Defense gifts ‘goose egg’ for holidays
After shutting out the New York Giants this past Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals’ defense will look to play spoiler this New Year’s Eve against the rival Seattle Seahawks
Dec. 12, 1992. That was the last time a Cardinals’ defense shutout an opposing team. Strangely enough, it was also against the New York Giants.
After holding the Giants to just 293 total yards, and only 43 on the ground, the Cardinals pitched their first shutout in 25 years. “You want to see that goose egg,” money linebacker Deone Bucannon said. “I was glad we were able to get it.”
On a holiday weekend, the Cardinals received contributions from just about everyone on defense. Safety Antoine Bethea collected 2 picks; linebacker Deone Bucannon recorded a sack and a forced fumble; and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche returned a fumble for his first career touchdown.
The benevolent Giants were certainly in the giving mood on offense on Christmas Eve in Glendale. “It feels good,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Merry Christmas.”
It’s been an amazing second half of the season for James Bettcher and his defense. A unit that struggled mightily during the first eight games of the season.
Since the bye week, the Cardinals’ defense is allowing just 18.25 points per game and giving up an average of 276.3 total yards in that span, as well. They’ve also accumulated 20 sacks and 14 takeaways since the break.
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Championship-caliber defense. It’s a shame they haven’t had an offense to complement them, as this would be a scary defense to face in the playoffs.
The Cardinals will take their 6th-ranked defense into Seattle and hope to crash their playoff party on New Year’s Eve. The Seahawks need a win and a Falcons loss to punch their ticket to the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. The Seahawks have not missed the playoffs since 2011.
And if any team is capable of beating the Seahawks inside CenturyLink Field, it’s the Cardinals. During the Bruce Arians era, the Cardinals are 3-1 playing in Seattle.
The Cardinals would love nothing more than to spoil the season of a division rival. Especially since it is one they don’t particularly care for.
With nothing but the hopes of an 8-8 season and a strong finish, I would imagine the Cardinals will throw everything but the holiday ham at Russell Wilson this Sunday. “There’s our playoff game,” defensive captain Frostee Rucker said.
Another strong performance from the defense this Sunday and the Cardinals will certainly have something to build on going into the 2018 season. Then the real work begins.