Cardinals struggle to score, fall in Seattle

BY foxsports • November 23, 2014

SEATTLE -- For all the praise the Arizona Cardinals received in winning nine of their first 10 games, Bruce Arians was quick to offer blunt criticism why their six-game win streak got snapped Sunday.

"If you don't catch, tackle, kick, you can't win," Arians said. "We didn't do any of the four."

Arizona could get nothing going on offense, saw Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson escape trouble to move the Seahawks' offense in the second half and hand the Cardinals their second loss of the season, 19-3 on Sunday.

Wilson was sacked a season-high seven times by Arizona's ultra-aggressive defense and the assortment of blitzes they called to confuse and fluster the Seahawks quarterback. But when Seattle (7-4) needed a scoring drive in the second half, after squandering advantageous field position throughout the game, Wilson delivered.

Wilson found backup tight end Cooper Helfet on a 20-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the third quarter in a victory that was a must for Seattle if it had any hopes of getting back into the division race.

"I think we let Russell Wilson be Russell Wilson on too many occasions," Arizona safety Tyrann Mathieu said.

Drew Stanton struggled in his second start since Carson Palmer was lost for the season. A week after throwing for a career-high 306 yards, Stanton was 14 of 26 for 149 and one interception. Arizona was held to a season-low 204 total yards and got only 64 yards rushing.

Stanton didn't get much help. He was minus a weapon with Larry Fitzgerald inactive due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Fitzgerald sat for the first time in 110 games and for just the fifth time in his career due to the knee injury suffered last week against Detroit.

John Brown continued his stellar rookie season with three catches for 61 yards, but Michael Floyd was shut out, defended much of the game by Richard Sherman.

And Jaron Brown, dropped a touchdown late in the second quarter that could have brought the Cardinals within 9-7 at halftime.

"I left my feet and I think I tried to body-catch it," Brown said. "That's just something you never want to do, especially on touchdowns. Just disappointed in myself and we didn't win either."

Seattle's defense was helped by the return of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner after missing five games with a toe injury. Arizona had only two drives of more than five plays. It was also a season-low in yards allowed by the Seahawks.

"Offensively, we didn't play well enough to win," Stanton said. "Any time you score three points and come in here and only put up that number, you're not going to be successful. We're aware of that and we have to find a way to correct it."

Wilson finished 17 of 22 for 211 yards and added 73 yards rushing. Wilson was 6 of 6 for 70 yards on the lone touchdown drive as Seattle moved the pocket and made him less vulnerable to the Arizona rush. He escaped the arms of Lorenzo Alexander for a possible sack and found Marshawn Lynch open for 23 yards. Wilson also ran for 15 yards on third-and-11 to get Seattle inside the Arizona 20.

"Any way you look at it, it's a big opportunity for us in the division and a really nice performance," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "I loved the way the guys rallied to play together."

Steven Hauschka hit on field goals of 27, 32, 52 in the first half and a 40-yarder in the third quarter after DeShawn Shead blocked Drew Butler's punt. While it only led to a field goal, the punt block was a critical turning point in the game. Seattle did not call for a block on the play, but Shead noticed the Cardinals had only 10 players on the field. He decided to rush and smothered Butler's kick attempt.

"The blocked kick was the turning point of the game," Arians said.

NOTES: Arizona DE Calais Campbell had a career-high three sacks. His previous best was 2 in 2011 against Seattle. ... Lynch spoke at his locker after the game following his $100,000 fine by the league earlier this week for violating its media policy. Lynch gave mostly one-word answers. ... Recently signed TE Tony Moeaki led Seattle with four receptions.