The Arizona cardinals went out the same way they came in...with a loss.
However, it was a far more competitive one than the team had any reason to have heading into their season finale against the rival Seattle Seahawks.
Let’s take a look at the story of the game, via Twitter:
#AZCardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald runs out to the field at CenturyLink for what could be his last game ever. #BeRedSeeRed @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/dH3u0pKBkj— MJ Acosta (@MJAcostaTV) December 30, 2018
Josh Rosen got off to a rough start, but the Cardinals were playing well on defense and special teams, a nice change of pace for once.
Who thought that might happen with the Cards?
Not a good start for Rosen. Should have been intercepted on first play, has overthrown a couple of receivers.— scott bordow (@sbordow) December 30, 2018
Cardinals fans: "Just lose and be non-competitive in Seattle so we get the #1 pick."— Blake Allen Murphy (@blakemurphy7) December 30, 2018
Cardinals and Steve Wilks today showing heart for the first time in a while: pic.twitter.com/DzAsE55gNd
Seattle scored the first touchdown of the game, however, after the Cardinals’ offense stalled and kicked a field goal.
It came off of a Rosen fumble on a sack, something that has plagued the team in pass protection all year long.
Seahawks get a 7-yard TD run by Carson to cash in that fumble recovery. And it's moving sideways again on the #AZCardinals.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) December 30, 2018
The Cardinals managed to turn it around though with a blocked punt of Seahawks punter Michael Dickson. AZ special teams was getting it done!
Nice sequence for the #AZCardinals - Bethea with the SACK & Gardeck blocks punt. Excellent field position at Seattle 27.— Lisa Matthews (@LisaMatthewsAZ) December 30, 2018
They then turned it into points, and managed to keep up with a playoff team. What was happening in Seattle?
Rosen almost overthrows a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald -- but Fitz makes the left-handed, one-hand stab for the 15-yard TD.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) December 30, 2018
Fitz is still good.
Some Cards fans....who wanted the #1 pick...weren’t too thrilled, however. There were boos for how the team managed to take a sack with no timeouts on 3rd down and no timeouts left for a kick.
People weren’t impressed to say the least with how AZ was either competing....or struggling. At least pick a side!
And neither were Seahawks fans with how their team was playing.
The traditional definition of “mixed emotions” is watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your new car. At the moment, the definition for me is the @AZCardinals beating Seattle and losing the #1 draft pick and #1 position to make waiver claims.— Dan Barr (@DanCBarr) December 30, 2018
the seahawks— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) December 30, 2018
| _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
finishing the season w/ an easy win |
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ ________ |
playing down to a bad NFC West team
One of the game’s turning points came on a sack/fumble of Russell Wilson that Patrick Peterson scooped up and ran into the endzone....only to have it come back due to a holding call.
Seattle followed up that miscue with a long run, which has plagued the Cardinals all season long. Right up the gut.
That's the 'holding' call on Reddick.— Ben A (@Clude989) December 30, 2018
Cost the Cardinals 7 points and allowed Seattle to score 7 themselves.
A bit harsh, to say the least, @NFL?@BritishBirdgang pic.twitter.com/CtQhfnWEer
And on the next play, Chris Carson bursts through a giant hole with no one at the second level. A 61-yard run. Unfortunately, that's happened many times this season.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) December 30, 2018
RIGHT UP THE GUT.
December 30, 2018
Seattle turned that into points, with a terrible blown coverage.
#Cardinals used the no-cover defense and it worked as planned.pic.twitter.com/5E6nlzwroX— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 30, 2018
But man, did the Arizona Cardinals manage to bounce back...
They blocked a SECOND punt from Seattle, and this one rolled into the endzone for Arizona and rookie LB Dennis Gardeck to pounce on. We have a tie game, folks!
What in the ghost of Amos Jones is going on???— Vince Marotta (@Vincemarotta) December 30, 2018
In the end, Seattle scored a field goal, but Rosen got the ball back and in the hurry-up offense, drove the team down the field.
Only for Trent Sherfield to drop a first down and possibly game-winning throw, forcing AZ to kick to tie the game.
Which, was one of the biggest positives overall of the day.
That's a beautiful, potential game-winning throw by Josh Rosen — that's dropped. I'm gonna go ahead and not give up on Rosen after a season of playing in the worst circumstances imaginable for a rookie QB.— Robert Mays (@robertmays) December 31, 2018
Russell Wilson took over with under 2 minutes and two timeouts and...well. You knew what was coming.
This is such a bizarre situation. Thousands of Cardinals fans are currently cheering for Russell Wilson to guide the Seahawks on a game-winning drive.— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) December 31, 2018
Wilson and the Seahawks offense drove down for an easy field goal and Arizona got it’s 13th, and final, loss of the season.
And in the end...fans at least had something to be happy about in defeat:
The #1 overall pick.
#1 pick #AZCardinals #BeRedSeeRed pic.twitter.com/cnAClFyrev— Ronnie Laybold (@CoyotesGlendale) December 31, 2018
There’s a lot of questions to be answered still, but at least we got a fun, competitive game to end the season on.
And now, the mystery of how this team can try to improve....begins.