Another NFL regular season has come and gone, but it was nice to know that instead of going into the offseason with defeat crowding their minds, the Arizona Cardinals have something to look forward to in the new year. After defeating the Seattle Seahawks by a final score of 23-20 in overtime, the only thing Cardinals fans have to look forward to is seeing some of their favorite team's players represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl later this month.
As for the game, it came down to the wire -- a common theme for this year's Cardiac Cards. Arizona did just enough to get the victory, but there were a few plays/aspects to this game that almost had this game slip between their fingers. Let's take a look at five of them after the jump.
Getting Burnt Deep:
The Seahawks tested the secondary of the Cardinals throughout the day. Tarvaris Jackson threw the ball deep time and time again, often overthrowing his receivers by a few yards. All it took was one time, though.
During the Seahawks second half comeback, Jackson hit receiver Ricardo Lockette with a 61 yard touchdown pass. Of course, the player that was burnt was Marshay Green, who was just elevated from the practice squad this past week. If the Cardinals had been facing a higher caliber QB with more accuracy, this game would have been quite different.
Personal Foul Penalties:
It was great to see a bit of chippy play between the Cards and the Seahawks on Sunday, but sometimes it can get taken too far and it can hurt your team. Such was the case when four different Cardinals players collected personal foul penalties. Levi Brown, Paris Lenon, Vonnie Holliday and Early Doucet each received 15-yard infractions, one of which was declined. Those three flags accounted for 45 of the 76 yards that were basically given to Seattle.
The Cards had numerous opportunities during this game to either put points on the board or keep them off, but weren't always able to capitalize. During the second half, Daryl Washington dropped a surefire interception and possible pick six thrown by Tarvaris Jackson. That right there was a 10 point swing, as Seattle was able to get a field goal out of it.
Another example of this was when Patrick Peterson, what seemed like, his fifth punt return for a touchdown on the season. Unfortunately, PP was tripped up by his ankle by the opposing punter, John Ryan. If that one tackle would have been broken, Peterson would have been standing alone in the record books.
Two big time players sustained injuries during the Cardinals' victory. Calais Campbell was forced to leave the game after injuring his right ankle. Vonnie Holliday replaced him and played quite well, but getting injured in the final game of your contract year is never a good thing. He should be all right and this injury should have little to no affect on his negotiations.
You may not have noticed it due to his spectacular play, but Larry Fitzgerald was also injured sometime in the second half. After the game, Fitzgerald's father Tweeted this:
Fitzgerald is expected to be OK after x-rays came up negative. Get well soon, Larry.
After starting 1-6, many (including myself) felt that the Cardinals stood no chance at recovering and finishing the season with a decent record. And here we are now, with the Cards sitting at 8-8, narrowly missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
We will have posts within the next few days giving season recaps and what not, but with the season being over already, I get a bittersweet feeling. It was a great win against Seattle and there were some dynamic plays being made by dynamic players all season long, but I am sorry we won't get to watch this team battle for at least one more week. Hopefully they can ride this wave of momentum into next season and some of the key injured players can come back healthy.
I am feeling optimistic about 2012 already, how about you, Cardinals fans?