After the Cardinals offense was shut down and forced into a three-and-out, P
Scott Player's punt put the Seattle offense back at their own 23 yard line. As
expected, RB Shaun Alexander was the focus of the offensive attack and proved to
be a handful for the Cardinal's defense. On the first drive alone, Alexander ran
for 52 yards on 6 carries and converting 3 first downs, wearing down the
defense. On the 14th play of the drive, Hasselbeck connected with WR Nate Burleson for a 7 yard TD and an early 7-0 lead.
The Cardinals offense was unable to find their groove throughout the first
half, with QB Kurt Warner only completing 3 of 13 in the first half. This was
largely due to the offensive line's inability to provide any sort of protection
in either the passing or running game. Seattle's defensive front shifted,
stunted, and blitzed Arizona's front five in complete confusion throughout the
first half. Warner was hit nearly every time he dropped back to pass and was
sacked 3 times. RB Edgerrin James seemingly ran into a brick wall each time he
was handed the ball, as well, finishing the first half with 29 yards on 8
carries. As bad as the offensive production was for the Cards, they were quite
fortunate to only find themselves down 13-0 at the half.
From the outset of the second half, it was evident that the last half would
be a bit tougher for the Seahawks. The Cardinals defense came out roaring, DE
Bertrand Berry dropping Hasselbeck on the first play of the second half, causing
a fumble that miraculously ended up back in the quarterback's arms. After
Alexander was stopped for a minimal gain, the Seahawks went to the air again,
only to see Hasselbeck get dropped behind the line again, this time by MLB James Darling. After the play, the QB was shown favoring his throwing hand and was
briefly taken into the locker room. He would return for Seattle's next series,
but was rather unimpressive from that point on. The lack of a solid passing game
caused the Seahawks rushing production to stall, as well.
Fortunately for them, the Cardinals offense wasn't able to capitalize on
Seattle's inability to score during the final two quarters. They were able to
sustain a drive late in the 3rd quarter that saw Warner complete 6 of 6 passes
and Edgerrin James rush for 44 yards. The drive resulted in a TD when, from the
Seattle 13 yardline, Warner handed the ball to James, who made several nifty
moves to evade several defenders only to fumble the ball at the 2 yardline. An
alert Larry Fitzgerald was there, however to fall on the loose ball on the
goalline, giving the Cardinals their first score of the day. Unfortunately, it
was also their last. The offense didn't cross midfield again until late in the
4th, when RB Marcel Shipp took a 3rd-and-long from his own 39 and was finally
taken down at the Seattle 41. On the next play, Kurt Warner was hit from behind
by CB Kelly Herndon and fumbled the ball away, ending Arizona's chances. Warner
finished with 213 yards on 19-39 passing, while Edgerrin James eclipsed the
100-yard mark yet again with 102 yards on 22 carries.
Cardinals 7, Seahawks 13
The Cardinals will have completed one half of their divisional schedule after
next week's contest with the Rams. This could prove to be a pivotal game if
Arizona has any aspirations of winning the NFC West. St. Louis is coming off one
of the more embarrassing losses in franchise history. After upsetting the Denver Broncos 21-19 in Week 1, the Rams were blindsided by the lowly 49ers, 17-3.
It'll be hard to know which Rams team will show up to Cardinals Stadium on
Sunday, but it would probably be wise for the Cards to prepare for the one the
Broncos encountered. After dropping this game to the Seahawks, the Cardinals can
ill-afford to lose to another opponent within the division.