Banged-up Seahawks can’t keep up with Cardinals in 27-13 loss
The Seahawks knew they had to worry about the running ability of Arizona’s quarterback. They just thought that quarterback was going to be Kyler Murray, not Brett Hundley.
In one of the uglier games in recent memory for the Seahawks, they couldn’t weather a significant storm of injuries nor bounce back from a two-score halftime deficit. And in the end, the difference was that they couldn’t stop Arizona’s backup QB on a key late drive as they lost 27-13 to the Cardinals on Sunday.
Hundley, who spent the 2018 season as Russell Wilson’s backup with the Seahawks, took over Arizona’s offense in the second half after Murray suffered a hamstring injury. And while he only led the Cardinals on one scoring drive, it was a crucial one.
Seattle had cut Arizona’s lead to just one score, 20-13, after a pair of Jason Myers field goals in the fourth quarter. Hundley responded by leading the Cardinals on a nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive in which he scrambled for first downs twice along the way. He also connected with Maxx Williams on a 28-yard pass early in the series. Running back Kenyan Drake, who had an 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, capped off the drive with a 3-yard plunge to paydirt.
The play that set up the score.
— Arizona Cardinals ⋈ (@AZCardinals) December 23, 2019
The big story coming out of this one are the injuries the Seahawks are dealing with. Not only were Shaquill Griffin, Jadeveon Clowney, Quandre Diggs and Duane Brown inactive for the game, but Seattle lost both starting running back Chris Carson and his top reserve, C.J. Prosise, during the game due to injury. That leaves the 11-4 Seahawks ailing going into a Week 17 regular season finale with the 12-3 San Francisco 49ers that will determine the NFC West championship.
With the loss, the Seahawks drop from the No. 1 seed in the NFC all the way to No. 5.
Russell Wilson was under constant pressure from the Cardinals, specifically Chandler Jones, who had four sacks to move into the league lead with 19 this season. Wilson was limited to 169 yards and a touchdown on 16 of 31 passing.
DK Metcalf was held without a reception and Tyler Lockett had just one for 12 yards. Tight end Jacob Hollister led Seattle with five catches for 64 yards.
Carson had 40 yards on eight rushes before suffering his injury. Rookie Travis Homer took over in the second half at tailback and rushed for 16 yards on five carries. Homer also caught six passes for 26 yards.
Drake led Arizona with 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald added four receptions for 48 yards and a score.
Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at Seattle’s loss.
Seahawks 7, Cardinals 7
Depth was the big question for the Seahawks going into Week 16 – mostly on defense. On offense, however, it looked like depth wasn’t much of a concern at all on its first series of the game. Obviously, that became much more of an issue by the second half.
After the defense forced the Cardinals into a three-and-out to open the game, Wilson hosted a showcase for five offensive weapons on a nine-play touchdown drive. Carson took three handoffs, two of which went for 10 yards or more. Wide receivers David Moore and Malik Turner each had long receptions (19 and 23 yards, respectively). Hollister added a 20-yard catch. And on the last play, fullback Nick Bellore hauled in a 3-yard TD catch to give Seattle a 7-0 lead.
Notable about that strong opening series is that the Seahawks didn’t target either Lockett or Metcalf, leaving Carson as the lone “star” weapon Wilson used to lead Seattle to a touchdown.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 22, 2019
While the Seahawks had a nice start through each team’s first possession, the Cardinals erased their lead almost as quickly as Seattle acquired it. Drake broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of Arizona’s second drive, tying things up at 7-7.
— Arizona Cardinals ⋈ (@AZCardinals) December 22, 2019
The Seahawks crossed into Cardinals territory on their second series, but Hollister never saw a third-and-1 pass intended for him, stalling Seattle at the 33. And while the Hawks lined up for a 52-yard field goal attempt, they instead took a delay of game penalty and Michael Dickson was called upon to punt. It was a curious decision, but the results were about as good as you can get on a punt – the ball was downed at the 1.
The Cardinals punted back to Seattle shortly before the end of the quarter, allowing the Seahawks to start a new drive at their own 40.
SEA – Nick Bellore 3 pass from Russell Wilson (Jason Myers kick, 7-0 SEA), 8:50
ARI – Kenyan Drake 80 run (Zane Gonzalez kick, 7-7), 8:33
Cardinals 17, Seahawks 7
The Seahawks have certainly seen better quarters than this one.
Without Mike Iupati on the offensive line, who was questionable to return with a neck injury suffered in the first quarter, attention from the Arizona defense turned to Jamarco Jones, who was filling in for the inactive Duane Brown. Chandler Jones took advantage of Jamarco Jones multiple times, including a sack of Wilson on third-and-15 to force a punt early in the quarter. Chandler Jones continued to pressure Wilson, resulting in another sack before halftime.
That was just the tip of the iceberg.
Prosise went to the locker room due to injury, which was bad news that became even worse when Carson joined him there later in the quarter. Prosise was ruled out for the rest of the game with an arm injury while Carson was deemed questionable at the time with a hip injury, leaving Seattle with just rookie Travis Homer as its lone healthy tailback.
Arizona’s offense made the most of an advantageous situation, as an odd-looking shovel pass from Murray to Fitzgerald resulted in a 21-yard touchdown to put the Cardinals ahead 14-7.
Kyler making magic happen.
— NFL (@NFL) December 22, 2019
That capped off a five-play, 54-yard drive for Arizona, but it wasn’t done adding to its lead.
After a fifth straight punt by Seattle’s offense (the only Seahawks series not to end in a punt to that point was their first), the Cardinals put together a second consecutive scoring drive. While Arizona appeared to score on another pass to Fitzgerald, a replay review resulted in the play being ruled an incomplete pass, and the Cardinals had to settle for a short Zane Gonzalez field goal with 22 seconds left before halftime. That’s where things were left, as Seattle didn’t make any headway on a few plays before packing it in knowing it would start the second half with the ball.
ARI – Larry Fitzgerald 21 pass from Kyler Murray (Gonzalez kick, 14-7 ARI), 4:16
ARI – Gonzalez 22 FG (17-7 ARI), :22
Cardinals 20, Seahawks 7
The Seahawks’ deficit didn’t get smaller in the third quarter. In fact, it went the opposite direction. But Seattle went into the fourth quarter with much more hope than it had for the majority of the third quarter.
Though Gonzalez hit a 46-yard field goal to push Arizona’s lead to 20-7, the Cardinals ended up without their franchise quarterback on the field. Murray suffered a hamstring injury, giving way to backup (and onetime Seahawk) Hundley.
Arizona didn’t score after the change at QB, though it had an opportunity. It was also where Seattle had its biggest play since it scored a touchdown on its opening drive.
Gonzalez attempted another field goal late in the third quarter, but Rasheem Green blocked it and Marquise Blair picked it up, returning the ball 46 yards to the Cardinals’ 16. The Seahawks’ offense continued to struggle, though, and faced fourth down in the red zone as the quarter ended.
More good news for the Seahawks was that Iupati returned. There was very bad news, however. The hip injury that Carson suffered in the second quarter was severe enough that he was ruled out for the rest of the game, leaving Seattle to rely on Homer at tailback.
ARI – Gonzalez 46 FG (20-7 ARI), 11:36
Cardinals 27, Seahawks 13
The Seahawks had to settle for a field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter after the blocked field goal, but a second from Myers with 10:02 left brought Seattle back within a score as the defense had been able to keep Arizona from adding to its score.
The dam burst, however.
Hundley orchestrated a nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive, using both his arm and his legs to keep Arizona’s offense on the field long enough for Drake to score a back-breaking 3-yard TD with 4:18 left that pushed Arizona ahead by 14 points, which is where the score stood until the final kneel.
SEA – Myers 30 FG (20-10 ARI), 14:56
SEA – Myers 51 FG (20-13 ARI), 10:02
ARI – Drake 3 run (Gonzalez kick, 27-13 ARI), 4:18