Mike Holmgren; Larry Fitzgerald (Dunn/Getty)
The Cardinals played scrooge to the Seahawks, as they took away Mike Holmgren’s happy ending, in the Seahawks 34-21 loss. The first half was muddled, but the Cardinals were able to pull it together and take one last dig at their division rivals. Arizona wraps up its season with a 9-7 record. Now it’s all about preparation for a tough test in the playoffs. Here’s what worked and what didn’t.
--The Arizona Cardinals swung the credibility and confidence pendulum in their favor, as they head into the postseason to face the Atlanta Falcons. The Cardinals will need to diffuse the notion that they are not just a product of their division.
--The Seahawks were the first to get on the board on Sunday at the University of Phoenix Stadium, but Jerheme Urban gave the Cardinals the equalizing touchdown to tie up the game, 7-7, with less than six minutes to go in the first half.
--When given the chance, cornerback Ralph Brown can become a game changer. He picked off Seneca Wallace on Wallace’s second pass play of the game. The ball would be back in the Seahawks’ hands in no time, but Brown did his part. With less than five minutes in the first half, Brown recovered a fumble that Karlos Dansby forced.
The turnover would cost Seattle seven points, as Warner made a quick screen to Larry Fitzgerald for the touchdown, 14-7, but the Seahawks offense wasn’t finished quite yet. They would go on to tie the game prior to half time.
Lucky for the Cardinals, Fitzgerald wasn't finished yet either. In the third quarter, he caught a 38-yard pass from Kurt Warner to make it a 21-14 ball game. Early Doucet contributed on the touchdown drive, as he made a big first down.
--Edgerrin James proved he still belonged in the century club, as he posted a 100-yard rushing game, which included a 35-yarder.
--Dansby played a good game. He earned a force fumbled, which Brown recovered. He would later go on to bring down T.J. Duckett, which prevented Seattle from avoiding its punting team. Dansby produced a team-high five tackles.
--Steve Breaston was looking for the 1,000-yard mark on Sunday. He found what he was looking for when he scored on a 14-yard pass from Warner with just over a minute left in the third quarter, 28-14. Breaston will cap the regular season with 1,006 yards.
--Matt Leinart completed five out of eight passes, which was good for 83 yards.
--Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would continue to get his hands on the ball. He not only deflected a dangerous pass, but intercepted a pass intended for John Carlson.
--The Arizona Cardinals once again saw their opponents take an early lead. The Cardinals appeared to grab the momentum first when cornerback Brown intercepted Wallace on the Seahawks opening drive. But Seattle would sack Warner, who in turn lost the ball. Deuce Lutui had the opportunity to land on the ball, but lost it when he tried to scoop it up instead.
A Cardinals' turnover and a solid pass-rush ratio by the Seahawks, allowed the visiting team to march the ball down the field and dive in a 1-yard rushing touchdown for the opening points, 7-0.
--The Cardinals gave the Seahawks some extra life in the third quarter. Arizona’s defense gave up three big penalties for three automatic first downs that kept Seattle’s offense on the field. The Seahawks got up to third and goal, but Antrel Rolle read that Wallace was going to take it in himself, and prevented the score. On fourth and goal, Deion Branch, was left completely uncovered, 28-21.
The Cardinals will face Matt Ryan’s Falcons on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (ET).