Everybody hurts: Seahawks outlast Cardinals
GLENDALE, Ariz. — If last year’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks was a war of wills during a grueling 6-6 overtime tie, then the 22-16 victory by the Seahawks on Thursday can only be described as a battle of attrition and undisciplined play.
It almost seemed as if there were as many injuries on both sides of the field as there were penalties by each team. The biggest injury was sustained by Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who was seen on the sideline telling teammates that he tore his right Achilles and that he is done.
Coach Pete Carroll confirmed that after the game, saying, “He’s going to get checked, but the doctors are really clear about it that he ruptured the Achilles. ... There’s no coming back from that until you get surgery.”
In a fight for second place in the NFC West, Seattle (6-3) outlasted Arizona (4-5) thanks to two touchdown passes from Russell Wilson to tight end Jimmy Graham, a pair of field goals from Blair Walsh and a safety by Kam Chancellor.
Wilson was sacked five times but completed 22 of 32 passes for 238 yards. He came up with the highlight play of the game during a mad scramble in the fourth quarter. On second-and-21 from the Seattle 44, Wilson dodged a pass rush with multiple fakes and twists out of trouble, then connected with Doug Baldwin for a dramatic 54-yard completion.
Baldwin made the catch along the sideline as defender Antoine Bethea slipped and fell out of bounds. Baldwin then ran the ball down to the 2-yard line before getting pushed out.
On the next play, Wilson found Graham for a 2-yard score to make 22-10 with 12:49 remaining.
“The phenomenal play between Doug and Russ was ... I can’t wait to see it again,” Carroll said. “It seemed like it took forever. It was just fantastic execution and chemistry between those two guys to get that done.”
Baldwin, who finished with five caches for 95 yards, knew right away his play and the subsequent touchdown were a back-breaker for Arizona.
“It forced the Cardinals offense into hurry-up mode, which lends itself to our defense,” he said. “For us to get that far into the red zone and then cap it off with a score, obviously it sealed the game for us.”
Graham finished with six receptions for 27 yards. He has 65 career touchdowns, one shy of the Dallas Cowboys’ Jason Witten for the fourth-most all-time among tight ends.
The big story of the game, however, was all the injuries sustained by each team. The Seahawks had nine players leave the game for various reasons, including defensive tackle Jarran Reed (hamstring), running back C.J. Prosise (ankle) and linebacker Michael Wilhoite (calf), each of whom did not return. Left tackle Duane Brown sustained an ankle injury.
Chancellor also made an appearance inside the injury tent late in the game.
The Seahawks were also missing safety Earl Thomas, who didn’t play because of a nagging hamstring injury. He was replaced in the starting lineup by fifth-year pro Bradley McDougald.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, lost starting left tackle D.J. Humphries and safety Tyvon Branch in the first quarter because of what looked to be serious right knee injuries. They also lost tight end Ifeanyi Momah (ankle) in the second half.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians said all three players likely are headed for season-ending injured reserve, adding he felt particularly bad for Humphries, the third-year pro who was making huge strides this season.
“It’s just a shame,” he said. “Guy was playing fantastic.”
Overall, Arians thought his team played well enough to win. The Cardinals just didn’t make any big plays on offense and couldn’t stop the one big play on defense.
“I thought our guys fought their (tails) off,” he said. “Couldn’t ask for any more effort. A little better execution. We dropped way too many balls and put ourselves behind the chains way too many times in that game.”
As for the penalties, the Seahawks were flagged 12 times for 108 yards — giving them 53 accepted penalties in their last four games. The Cardinals were penalized nine times for 58 yards.
Arizona got a 43-yard field goal from Phil Dawson in the third quarter and a 1-yard TD plunge by running back Andre Ellington with 28 seconds left.
Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton was 24 of 47 for 273 yards and one touchdown, but running back Adrian Peterson was held to 29 yards on 21 carries.
“It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes in this league,” Stanton said of all the injuries the Cardinals have sustained this season. “It’s a battle of attrition and we lost some guys, but we need some guys to step up. We have guys that are capable in this locker room. We feel good about them and they just need to step in and fill a role.”
Graham made a 6-yard touchdown grab with 5:07 left in the first quarter, giving the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead. Branch was defending Graham and followed him into the end zone, but the safety’s foot appeared to get stuck in the turf while twisting, and his knee bent awkwardly as he went down trying to tackle Graham.
The Cardinals tied the score at 7 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Stanton to tight end Jermaine Gresham on the first play of the second quarter. Arizona drove 75 yards for the score with the aid of four Seattle penalties along the way.
After a holding penalty on Justin Bethel during a punt return, the Cardinals were forced to start at their own 1-yard line. Peterson was then brought down in the end zone by Chancellor for the safety.
Earlier in the game, Chancellor recovered a Peterson fumble on Arizona’s first offensive play, but the Seahawks couldn’t convert the turnover into points.
Seattle got field goals of 33 and 43 yards from Walsh to close out the scoring in the first half.
NOTES: RB Adrian Peterson’s 314 rushing yards in his first three games for the Cardinals already were 55 more than Arizona had as a team through its first five games this season. ... Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson and Seahawks CB Richard Sherman have made 204 consecutive starts between them, with Peterson making his 105th on Thursday and Sherman his 99th. Those are the third- and fourth-longest such active streaks by cornerbacks in the league, but Sherman’s streak will end when Seattle plays host to the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 20. ... Arizona travels to face the Houston Texans on Nov. 19. ... “Larry Fitzgerald: A Football Life” airs Friday night on NFL Network. The veteran wide receiver had 10 catches for 113 yards Thursday.