Here is some of the reaction from national and Arizona media after the Seahawks’ 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. It ranged from the Cardinals players making fun of Marshawn Lynch’s craving for Skittles by eating them on the sidelines and raising questions about Russell Wilson’s play to praising the Cardinals’ game plan, coach and executives.
In Arizona’s 17-10 win over Seattle at CenturyLink Field, the Cardinals were able to play Seattle-style defense better than the Seahawks from start to finish. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles put together a masterful plan that had his defensive backs covering Seattle’s receivers so well, his linemen and linebackers could go after Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with impunity. Wilson was harassed perhaps more than he’s ever been in two NFL seasons, and the result was Seattle’s first loss at home with Wilson at quarterback. Wilson finished with just 11 completions in 27 attempts for a career-low 108 yards, one touchdown and an interception near the end of the game that was the subject of some debate. What was not open for debate was the extent to which Arizona’s defense affected what Wilson wanted to do.
No one loves skittles more than Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and apparently the Arizona Cardinals are well aware of that fact. After beating the Seahawks, a few Cardinals players decided to celebrate by eating skittles and it doesn’t look like they shared any with Lynch.
The victory snack might have been Arizona’s way of getting back at Lynch for something he did in Week 7. In a Thursday night game between Seattle and Arizona, Lynch was caught on camera eating Skittles on the sideline during the game.
I ran into (Cardinals coach Bruce) Arians as he was leaving the hotel lobby on Saturday night. I jokingly recommended that he order room service for dinner, and spend his time trying to figure out how to beat the best team in football.
“I already have the plan,” he said, smiling.
Indeed. Five days earlier, he said the key was containing Wilson, and the Cardinals did that to near perfection. In the process, they may have pierced Seattle’s impenetrable reputation at home.
HOME SWEET HOME? The Seahawks were believed to be impenetrable at home. They had won 14 straight by an average margin of more than 18 points. The home dominance was why so many were already penciling Seattle in for a trip to the Super Bowl if it got home-field advantage in the postseason.
That still may happen, but some of the sheen has been taken off Seattle’s home aura.
After weeks of having calls go against them, the Cardinals were the beneficiaries of some good luck Sunday.
There were a handful of calls that could have gone the other way but were ruled in Arizona’s favor, including one that sealed the win. With 2:06 left in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson’s pass bounced off the arm of tight end Doug Baldwin and into the hands of Karlos Dansby. But the play was challenged, alleging that it hit the ground first. Although replays leaned toward this, the video was inconclusive enough to overturn the call, and Arizona kept possession. Seattle also challenged whether Mendenhall was down before he fumbled, and the replay showed he was, which allowed Arizona to keep the ball and eventually led to a field goal.
The Arizona Cardinals lost 58-0 to the Seattle Seahawks late last season, sealing the fate of coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves. One of those in the organization at the time who said that game gnawed on him, a feeling he never wanted to feel again, was Steve Keim, now the team’s general manager.
Keim, a no-nonsense personnel man at the time, was elevated to general manager after Graves was let go. All he has done is turn the Cardinals into a contender, one capable of going to Seattle and beating up the Seahawks like they did Sunday in a 17-10 victory that keeps them alive in the NFC playoff race.
If you are considering candidates for NFL Executive of the Year, Keim should be on that list, even atop it. Keim has made 191 transactions since last January and 11 of his 22 starters are new, including making the deal to trade for quarterback Carson Palmer.
Not only has he made a bunch of really good personnel moves, but he also hired coach Bruce Arians, who sure seems like the right guy for the job.
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