The Arizona Cardinals could not handle the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. After a 19-3 loss on the road in Seattle, Arizona falls to 9-2 and sees their division lead shrink to two games. What did we learn in the loss?
The pass rush is still there
Arizona sacked Russell Wilson seven times. Calais Campbell picked up three sacks and four other players got in on the fun -- Deone Bucannon, Alex Okafor, Kevin Minter and Tommy Kelly.
That makes 17 sacks in the last three games after collecting only eight in the first eight contests.
There is a reason why people like Russell Wilson
He is good. Yes, he was sacked seven times, but his elusiveness killed Arizona. He rushed 10 times for 73 yards and that includes a few negative plays in the read option. He made some plays to elude other potential sacks to make plays. In the end, he rushed for 73 yards and threw for 211 more. He accounted for all but 51 yards of the Seattle offense.
Arizona can't overcome too many mistakes on the road
They had a punt blocked because they were missing a player. They missed a field goal. There was a dropped pass in the end zone. Drew Stanton threw an interception. They didn't force any turnovers. They had two big plays erased by penalties. Despite great play by the defense, it was too much to overcome.
You can see the talent dropoff with the backups
A season ago, Carson Palmer threw four interceptions and the Cardinals still won in Seattle. He made a big time throw late in the game. Drew Stanton was never able to do that. Without Larry Fitzgerald, no one stepped up. Jaron dropped a touchdown throw and also fumbled. Michael Floyd managed to get only one catch. With a backup quarterback throwing to the second, third and fourth guys on the depth chart, this isn't a surprising to see. Stanton isn't Palmer and Jaron isn't Fitz.
Josh Mauro made an impact
It was a surprise when Alameda Ta'amu was left inactive and recently signed Josh Mauro was not. Playing the role that Ed Stinson had been playing, he was impactful. He blew up multiple plays and had a pair of tackles. After one game, he looks like he was a brilliant pickup.
You couldn't have asked for more from the defense
They sacked Russell Wilson seven times. They held Marshawn Lynch to 39 yards on the ground. Despite consistently getting the ball with fantastic field position, Seattle was not able to crack the end zone until late in the third quarter. Yes, they allowed over 120 yards on the ground, but it was only 293 total yards.
The Cardinals missed Dave Zastudil
Drew Butler has been more than okay for most of the season, but on six punts, he averaged 27.6 yards and was blocked. The block wasn't his fault, as there were only 10 players on the field, but he had a rough game. His kicks were low and returnable.
There is reason for concern for the offense
They picked up two first quarter touchdowns against Detroit at home, but have now gone seven quarters without finding the end zone. Stanton has thrown three picks in those seven quarters and the team has gained only 88 yards on the ground in that time. 19 of those yards belong to Stanton himself. They have 299 yards passing in seven quarters. It's not great.
Arizona is still in control of their destiny
All is not lost. They are 9-2 with a two-game lead in the division. They are tied with the Patriots for the best record in the NFL. All is not lost. There is no reason to panic. The season is not over. Is there concern? Yes. But Arizona is still in the driver's seat.
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