Anquan Boldin (Getty)
With a convincing 27-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals moved back into a tie for the NFC West division lead. The Cardinals’ offense performed as usual on Sunday, featuring an efficient passing game and a rather pedestrian rushing attack. However, Arizona’s defense was the real story of the game, limiting Seattle’s offensive attack to a mere 128 yards of total offense.
After exploding in a 41-0 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Seattle Seahawks were on the opposite end of the spectrum at the conclusion of Sunday’s divisional battle. The Cardinals dominated all phases of the game and cruised to a 27-3 win. Arizona held the ball for over 42 minutes of the game and held a decisive 344-128 edge in total yardage.
On offense, the re-emergence of WR Larry Fitzgerald was a breath of fresh air for the Cardinal faithful. Fitzgerald’s targets had been limited through the first four games of the year but the three-time Pro Bowler tied a career high by hauling in 13 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time Fitzgerald cracked the 100-yard plateau this season after accomplishing the feat on seven occasions a year ago.
QB Kurt Warner continues to add to his Hall of Fame resume and finished with a QB rating of over 100 for the third time in five games this season. Warner looked sharp completing 32-of-41 for 276 yards and two scores. In addition to Fitzgerald, WR Steve Breaston had a big day with seven receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, WR Anquan Boldin made six grabs for 54 yards before leaving with an apparent ankle injury.
While head coach Ken Whisenhunt was true to is word of calling more running plays, Arizona rushed for only 62 yards on 26 carries. Tim Hightower and Chris Wells opportunities were nearly split down the middle with Hightower accumulating 32 yards on 13 caries while Wells carried the ball 12 times for 29 yards. Hightower did manage to score his third touchdown of the year. Including the playoffs, Hightower has played in 25 career games and has reached the end zone 16 times.
The Cardinals’ defense maintained its aggressive nature and sacked Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck five times on the afternoon. Hasselbeck was under constant duress and completed only 10-of-29 passes for 112 yards along with an interception. In addition, he failed to throw a touchdown pass after tossing four in the previous week against Jacksonville. Five Arizona defenders had a sack and safety Antrel Rolle picked off his second pass of the year.
With a difficult road matchup against the New York Giants up next, the Cardinals successfully navigated a seemingly must win two-game stretch against the Seahawks and Houston Texans. Arizona has assured itself at least a 3-3 record following the cross-country trip to New York and the Cardinals’ fate in the NFC West is back in their own hands after an inauspicious 1-2 start to the 2009 campaign.
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