Wow. What a game.
Let’s get into it quick, while the game is still fresh...Arizona had their biggest win in what feels like a LONG time and a number of seasons, and as such there will be winners and losers coming out of the game.
Who were they? Let’s take a look:
Winner: Isaiah Simmons’ making the most of his snaps
The rookie had zero snaps in the first half and two snaps in the second half.
I’d say he made the most of them.
I’m reminded by Brett Kollmann’s video in which he detailed (at the 11:43 time below) how Joseph would be able to utilize athletic linebackers to baffle quarterbacks and sure enough, Wilson threw a ball that not only was a baited throw but also had no one around.
Simmons is a feisty player who’s always been the top dog wherever he went and has had a rough start to his career, spending a lot of time on the sideline.
He certainly made the most of his playing time when he got the chance, and Arizona could use a guy in coverage like him. We’ll see if he gets a confidence boost from this to see his snaps increase but for now, he certainly seems to be on the right path.
Loser: Kliff Kingsbury’s cowardice
Let’s call it like it is, because Kyler Murray did the same:
Kyler Murray to Kliff Kingsbury after the second-down field goal missed in OT: "Don't ever be conservative again. I got you."— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) October 26, 2020
How Arizona managed to win this game is plain crazy.
Like...seriously weird cause they shouldn’t have won it...
Me looking at how the Cardinals, down by 10 and running a lot of time off the clock by running the ball and taking time at the line so much managed to tie the game AND stop Russell Wilson 2x in overtime: pic.twitter.com/91wcLbsLQw— boo-da blaker (murphy) (@blakemurphy7) October 26, 2020
The defense gave the offense multiple chances and Chase Edmonds and Kyler Murray ran and then some, with Seattle giving Arizona a gift on a field goal try with Benson Mayowa pulling a Bobby Wagner in leaping over a lineman...just not gracefully enough to avoid a penalty.
It was probably called for by Seattle’s special teams players but it was a dumb penalty...at first, I should say.
The Cards managed to score a touchdown, kept their timeouts and the 2 minute warning and took over and scored, but even WITH all of that, they nearly self-destructed.
Kliff was running the ball like crazy and when they got within 40 yards, he had Kyler run to the spot to kick a field goal for Zane on...second down.
Thinking back, there was no reason why Arizona shouldn’t just have kept going for the end zone. Seattle looked gassed, unable to stop Kyler and Chase on the ground and there was a solid chance that Hopkins would have been able to give them at least a few more yards to make it a much easier kick with time left on the clock.
The head coach nearly blew it, being told by an assistant (nice one, dude) that the clock was about to expire so he could call timeout in the nick of time...as Gonzalez nailed the kick.
The followup went wide left (perhaps pulled by fear that the Seahawks would try something like Mayowa did again), and Kingsbury was looking less like a GOAT and more like the scapegoat for suddenly handing Russell Wilson the ball back with a timeout and over a minute left in the game.
You could argue that if Zane kicks it a second sooner, we aren’t talking about it, or mention how his call saved a 5 yard penalty but man oh man it felt like Kliff just wanted to get out of there versus go for the endzone despite stopping Wilson.
And it’s a good thing that Kyler corrected him and, even better...it means...
Winner: Kliff Kingsbury accomplishing something Bruce Arians never did
That humility won out in the end.
Ultimately, Kliff’s just around 40 years old and one of the youngest NFL head coaches in the history of the game, much less the current NFL. He’s had a lot of growing pains (remember the timeout before the Niners game last year where he iced his team on a clutch 4th down stop?) but has always owned up to it, each and every time:
Kliff Kingsbury described that OT missed FG sequence as a "complete debacle." Called it conservative and said it was about as bad of a coaching job as he could possibly do.— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) October 26, 2020
I’ll always remember former HC Steve Wilks taking 30 seconds talking about the players missing assignments on the field in his first game being blown out by Washington 24-6, and when asked “what would you have done differently or taken into your next job?” later in the season...didn’t answer the question.
Essentially he didn’t think that he did anything wrong or, if he did, he didn’t want to show weakness or take the blame in front of his players.
Kingsbury has never had that issue, and has improved in leaps and bounds in that arena as far as his coaching is concerned. Last year I was bemoaning how PITIFUL Arizona’s two minute drills looked and how they just were unable to take advantage of late game situations.
They’ve had games against a loaded Niners defense (before the injuries) and another TWO TIMES last night against Seattle getting into position to win the game.
Kliff also trusted his kicker with a longer field goal to go out and win it again, and was rewarded with a kick that may have doinked, but it doinked in for a win. And made sure that postgame he rewarded the kicker that delivered when he put his faith in him after a previous miss. A good coaching moment.
Maybe Kliff ends up as a member of the Andy Reid Clock Management tree (seriously, though) but when you look at how he’s turned Arizona’s offense around into what is finally looking like a top 5 unit that can play with anyone, it’s not hard to imagine that the best might still be yet to come.
(Oh and for what it’s worth...that 4th down that Kliff went for he had the perfect play call with open guys, so I don’t think that needs to be questioned much at all)
Loser: Prime Time Russ takes a rare loss
The Seahawks had won 59 straight games when they led by 10 points going into the half.
They are now 59-1.
Kyler and the Cards took them down....with help from Vance Joseph scheming his butt off despite guys dropping left and right
(Seriously, that last play had no Chandler Jones, no Jordan Hicks, no Jordan Phillips, a beat up Dre Kirkpatrick splitting time with Kevin Peterson on most snaps and Kylie Fitts dropping back into coverage...wow)
Wilson made some terrible decisions that essentially floated the ball out there at least two times to be picked, with one seeming to be a miscommunication with Metcalf that Patrick Peterson snagged in the endzone, and the other being a quick floater to the running back that Budda Baker instantly recognized and closed on before Wilson realized that, you know, he’s the highest paid safety for a reason.
It was very reminiscent of the New England play by Malcolm Butler in which Wilson throws the ball to a spot and the DB sniffed out the play tendency ahead of time and if not for D.K. Metcalf making an insane run, Baker takes it for 6. Speaking of Budda Baker...
Winner: Budda Baker’s Defensive Player of the Year campaign
Baker had in this game, 14 tackles, one interception, and should have had a sack of Russell Wilson as well and made several game-changing tackles all over the field.
He’s blossomed into the elite safeties and playmakers in the entire league, and NOW he’s starting to get takeaways?
Look out, NFL.
Loser: David Moore ensuring this wasn’t the “Isabella Over Metcalf” game
Dre Kirkpatrick could have been mentioned here given how Tyler Lockett went off for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns, but there were some solid plays he made as well in coverage. No, this is a totally different game if David Moore doesn’t hold on that game-winning touchdown Metcalf had that wasn’t.
Imagine waking up and the main storyline being:
-Kyler threw an interception targeting Andy Isabella and had a critical down dropped on a low throw
-D.K. Metcalf scored the game winning touchdown in overtime for Seattle
People’d be wanting Steve Keim’s head, injury and 3-cone questions for D.K. aside...not to mentions Hopkins having 100 yards and a TD.
No, what this game did was ultimately show how the Seahawks, like Arizona, blew multiple chances to walk away with a victory and let the other team get back in the game. And in the end the costlier mistakes fell on the part of Seattle.
Christian Kirk has been a touchdown magnet the past few games but only had 37 yards receiving and Larry Fitzgerald was the guy against his old foe. I’m still not too concerned until we get a chance to see Isabella in the slot full-time, but it’s hard not to look at Tyler Lockett across the way and bemoan how Isabella with his speed feels so close, and yet, so far away from becoming that sort of threat.