In a season-ending game that had no postseason implications, the Arizona Cardinals played as if they had everything to gain
If you didn’t know any better, you would’ve thought it was the Arizona Cardinals that were fighting to get into the playoffs this past Sunday. For the second campaign in a row, there would be no postseason appearance for head coach Bruce Arians’ squad. None of that seemed to matter to the Cards during their season finale, however.
For their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, the matchup meant alot. Heading into the contest, Pete Carroll’s bunch needed a win over Arizona and an Atlanta Falcons’ loss to the Carolina Panthers to keep their five-year playoff streak alive. And the Cardinals wanted nothing more than to make sure that streak came to an end right there on CenturyLink Field.
When all was said and done, the Cards had prevailed by a 26-24 score. Seattle, as it turned out, would’ve been out of luck anyway, due to the fact that the Falcons had won. But that did nothing to diminish Arizona’s effort, which resulted in them turning in one of their most impressive performances of the year.
The Cardinals’ injured-reserve list this season was chock-full of many of their best players. Beating the Seahawks with such a watered-down version of the club is a testament to Arians and his staff. Shelved were vital pieces like David Johnson, Carson Palmer, Markus Golden, Mike Iupati, Tyvon Branch, Jared Veldheer, Antoine Bethea and D.J. Humphries.
Perhaps the reports of the Seattle contest being the last game for Arians was a motivating factor for their spirited showing. Actually, if it wasn’t, it certainly should’ve been. Giving their beloved leader a victory that would make him the all-time winningest coach in franchise history would be an excellent parting gift.
Defeating the Seahawks on New Year’s Eve was a superb way to end the year. Giving that type of effort in a game that essentially meant nothing shows the character that exists in the Arizona locker room. Hopefully that character among the players carries over for the next head coach, whoever that turns out to be.