As we take a look back at the 2011 season game by game, we now reach Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, where the Cardinals struggled offensively and played pretty well defensively. In the end, it was a 13-10 loss in which Arizona played without Beanie Wells or LaRod Stephens-Howling, Jay Feely missed two field goals, Calais Campbell had a monster game statistically and Kevin Kolb was intercepted at the end of the game when it was hoped he would lead the team down to score.
Here is what happened:
Seattle started the game with a pair of first downs before punting the ball at midfield. Kevin Kolb's first pass attempt was intercepted but the play was negated by a penalty, but behind a 28-yard pass play to Larry Fitzgerald, they got into field goal range, only to have the drive end in a missed 51-yard kick. The weather was wet and moist, so missing that kick wasn't inexcusable, but it was deflating at the moment.
Seattle answered by getting into the red zone, most of the yardage coming on a 32-yard pass play to Sidney Rice, who had a huge game. Seattle hits a 30-yard FG to take a 3-0 lead.
Arizona starts their next drive but the quarter ends. The started with great field position as A.J. Jefferson, filling in returning kicks for the injured LSH, ripped off a 51-yard return to bring the ball to the 48.
Arizona finishes their drive after 26 totals yards and Feely hits a 44-yard FG to tie the game at three.
Seattle starts with bad field position as Leon Washington muffs the kickoff. Marshawn Lynch gains 23 yards on the first play of that drive, but a failed pitch play to receiver Doug Baldwin, a sack by Calais Campbell (his second of the game) and an incomplete pass ended the drive.
The next drive was the Cardinals' only touchdown. It was also a very effective drive. There were no incompletions and no plays for no gain. It ended in Larry Fitzgerald getting the franchise record for receiving touchdowns on a play that some say was Kolb just chucking the ball up blindly, but film showed that after Kolb had pressure and rolled away from it, Fitz broke off his route, headed for the back of the end zone and signaled for the ball. Kolb threw the ball as soon as Fitz signaled for it and underthrew it a tad, as he was unable to step into his throw completely. It was on of Fitz' best catches of the year as he took the ball away from two defenders at the highest point.
Seattle punted, Arizona went three-and-out inside their own 10 and then Seattle got the ball in Cardinals' territory with less than two minutes left in the half. They got into field goal range behind two throws to Rice and Steven Hauschka hit a 51-yarder with less than a minute left to make the score 10-6 before halftime.
The third quarter had the final score of the game. After Arizona punted in their first possession, Seattle put together their one good drive. They held the ball for 14 plays and six minutes, converting three time on third down, including a 20-yard play on third and 15. The drive ended with a Tarvaris Jackson TD run. The Cards had great coverage, but he scrambled, avoided David Carter and got hit at the goalline as he got in. 13-10 Seahawks, and that was the last of the scoring.
Arizona managed only one first down in the rest of the quarter.
Arizona and Seattle each went three-and-out, then the Cards put together a 49-yard drive, only to have Jay Feely come up short on a 49-yard kick that would have tied the score with a little over five minutes remaining. The Cards forced a punt to get the ball with 2:57 left.
After getting into what could have been field goal range and 1:15 left in the game, Kolb got intercepted trying tto hit Todd Heap. Heap was his first read, he never looked from him and Cam Chancellor read the play, undercutting the route and making the pick.
Arizona got a three-and-out with 35 seconds left, but they ran out of time.
Final score: 13-10 Seahawks.
What went well:
Offensively, not much. Defensively, except for the one TD drive, they did as good as could be expected. They held Marshawn Lynch to 73 yards. Tarvaris Jackson only threw for 171 yards. Only Sidney Rice was a problem, catching eight passes for 109 yards.
Calais Campbell filled the stat sheet -- 10 tackles (two for losses), 2.5 sacks and four hurries.
What didn't go so well:
The running game struggled without Beanie Wells and the coaching staff called plays like it. Alfonso Smith carried the ball 17 times for 54 yards, but short yardage plays were not good. Four times with third and one yard they failed to pick up the first down.
A.J. Jefferson was picked on by the Seahawks, as they targeted Rice. It was the first game after looking so promising in the preseason that the luster started wearing off. He had seven tackles, but did keep Rice from getting to the ball.
Feely's two misses ended up being the difference. Both of those kicks in that weather are 50/50 kicks, so the expectation would have been to hit one, but even that would have tied the game.
The drive late in the game in which Kolb was picked off was sort of the point in which I think Kolb lost some confidence and so did fans. The Washington game was not his fault, but this game was. Two consecutive weeks of failed comeback drives sort of set the tone for the season.
What we learned:
The team needed Beanie Wells or LaRod Stephens-Howling. They had to rely on a rookie and a vet that had barely been in the system for the running game.
It was the foreshadowing of how the defense would play late in the year.
They needed to convert on third down. They went 3-14 for the game.
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