Seahawks and Cardinals: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Arizona

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel #99 of the Seattle Seahawks sacks quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter during a game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals found a way to hang with the division-leading Seattle Seahawks for much of Thursday night's contest.

However, the Cardinals couldn't overcome Seattle's balanced offense and stifling defense, and ultimately fell to their division rivals.

Final Score: Seattle 34, Arizona 22

Arizona Cardinals Game Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseB-C-
Run OffenseDF
Pass DefenseC-D+
Run DefenseD+D-
Special TeamsCC-
vs. Seahawks Week 7

Game Analysis for Arizona

Pass Offense: Protecting quarterback Carson Palmer was an issue for the offensive line throughout Thursday’s game. The Cardinals quarterback certainly suffered because of it.

Wideout Larry Fitzgerald’s hamstring injury didn’t help matters, as the longtime standout never appeared capable of bursting off the line or away from coverage. Palmer found him just twice for 17 yards.

In all, Palmer completed 30 of 45 pass attempts for 258 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked seven times and picked off twice.

Run Offense: The Cardinals had virtually no success running the football in this game.

Rashard Mendenhall led the team with just 22 yards on 13 carries.

Pass Defense: The Cardinals defense managed to make a few big plays against Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. However, the second-year signal-caller got the best of the exchange over the course of the game.

Wilson fumbled twice, which led directly to 10 points for the Cardinals. However, Wilson never appeared shaken and consistently responded with clutch plays. He finished the game with 235 yards and three touchdowns while completing 62 percent of his passes.

Run Defense: The Cardinals had trouble containing Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch in the first half, and the struggles continued into the second.

Lynch finished the game with 91 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, and he helped close things out in the second half.

Special Teams: A big special teams play may have changed the course of this game, but the Cardinals never found a way to deliver.

Kicker Jay Feely connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, and was one of the few bright spots in the game.

Coaching: Head coach Bruce Arians called a fairly conservative game for the majority of the contest.

While stout defense kept the Cardinals within striking distance for much of the game, the Cardinals were unable to dial up big plays when it mattered.

Relying solely on the pass isn’t exactly the best way to attack an opportunistic Seahawks defense, but Arians stuck with the running game far too long.

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a reception ahead of cornerback Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October
Christian Petersen/Getty Images


First-Half Analysis for Arizona

Pass Offense: The Arizona offensive line certainly didn’t do quarterback Carson Palmer any favors in the first half. The 11th-year signal-caller consistently found himself under pressure.

Palmer was sacked three times and was forced into an interception in the first half. However, he did manage to complete eight of 12 pass attempts for 70 yards.

Run Offense: Considering the Seahawks boast the league’s 11th-ranked run defense (101.8 yards allowed per game), the Cardinals could have fared worse.

The team didn’t fare well, however. Starting back Rashard Mendenhall gained just 16 yards on 10 carries, though he did manage to score on a six-yard run.

Pass Defense: The Cardinals made a big mistake early. With quarterback Russell Wilson scrambling, the secondary allowed Sidney Rice to break free for a 31-yard touchdown on Seattle’s opening possession.  

Otherwise, the Cardinals were fairly average against the pass. Wilson did complete 12 of his 18 pass attempts for 152 yards and a score, but he wasn’t without his mistakes.

While Wilson frequently found ways to escape pressure, a strip-sack by Cardinals linebacker Matt Shaughnessy late in the second quarter led to an easy touchdown.

Run Defense: Trying to contain Marshawn Lynch is never an easy task. In the first half, he rumbled for 46 yards on 10 carries, while Wilson added 13 more on three attempts.

The Cardinals did hold Wilson for no gain on a 4th-and-inches run in the second quarter, which helped swing momentum in Arizona’s favor.

Special Teams: A penalty prevented Seattle from returning a second-quarter punt for a touchdown. Otherwise, the Cardinals would deserve a failing grade here.

However, the touchdown was taken away, and Arizona didn’t make any other noticeable special-teams mistakes.

Coaching: Bruce Arians deserves to be questioned for continuing to dial up runs on first down after it became clear that yards would be hard to come by on the ground.

The Cardinals have struggled all year in 3rd-and-long situations and consistently found themselves in them during the first half.

However, the conservative game plan has paid off thus far. Arians has minimized his team’s mistakes and trusted his defense, which is why the Cardinals are still within striking distance.




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