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"Embarrassing" Night For Cardinals' D

Posted Dec 21, 2014

Seahawks able to pile up nearly 600 yards in runaway win

A dejected Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson walks off the field during the Cards' 35-6 loss to Seattle.

It only took a cursory glance at the scoreboard for Patrick Peterson to know the Cardinals’ defense didn’t put up the stellar effort needed to upset the Seahawks on Sunday night.

Once the fourth-year cornerback dove deeper into the box score, it got worse. Not only did Seattle score five touchdowns in what was expected to be a defensive slugfest, it also racked up 596 yards of total offense, a franchise record.

When Peterson heard that, “I almost passed out.’

“That’s just unacceptable for us,” Peterson said after the Cardinals’ 35-6 loss. “Especially for our standards, how we’ve been playing so well all year. To have that performance here tonight was just embarrassing.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson was again the catalyst. He was 20-of-31 for 339 yards and two touchdowns through the air and added six carries for 88 yards on the ground. Wilson scrambled for a 55-yard gain in the first quarter, a 22-yarder in the second and for a five-yard score to cap the scoring in the fourth.

When he wasn’t running, Wilson was moving around in the pocket to evade pressure, at worst throwing the ball away for incompletions and at best finding receivers for big gains. The Cardinals had a 3-0 lead in the second quarter until he rolled out on a bootleg and hit tight end Luke Willson for an 80-yard score.

Wilson was only sacked once, as the Cardinals missed him early and then seemed hesitant to run at him full speed because of his ability to escape.

“We knew going into the game we couldn’t let him keep plays alive with his feet,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “We let it happen too much.”

It wasn’t just Wilson. Running back Marshawn Lynch didn’t play in the first quarter because of reported stomach issues, but finished with 10 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He put the game away with the second score, breaking four tackles on a 79-yard rumble into the end zone for a 28-6 lead with 10:14 remaining.

“It reminded me of O.J. Simpson against Ohio State, I think, whatever the heck that was,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Cutting back and finishing and all that stuff. It was as good a run as I can ever remember seeing.”

Willson was the unlikeliest standout performer, catching three passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin finished with seven catches for 113 yards, giving Seattle a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers for the first time since 2003.

Coach Bruce Arians said the defense was on the field too long, which contributed to Seattle’s 21 fourth-quarter points, but Foote dismissed that notion.

“We were missing tackles in the first quarter, too,” Foote said. “Our spirit was down a little bit in the fourth. I don’t think guys gave up or anything, or were tired. We were just missing tackles.”

The Cardinals didn’t force a turnover. Their best shot came in the beginning of the third quarter, when Peterson stepped in front of a slant route by Seahawks wideout Paul Richardson and had a clear path to an interception. The ball bounced off his hands and fell harmlessly to the turf, and Peterson jumped around disgustedly.

“I caught the ball but I didn’t squeeze it,” Peterson said. “That’s kind of how the ball got away from me. I wish I could have that one back. I believe that could have definitely changed the game.”

Seattle had a slew of big gains on the night, as Willson had the 80-yard touchdown, Lynch the 79-yard score, Wilson the 55-yard scramble and Baldwin a 49-yard catch when cornerback Antonio Cromartie fell down in coverage.

“I think it’s just a lack of focus sometimes,” linebacker Alex Okafor said. “It was just splash plays, and that’s been the story every time we play them. That’s losing focus. We’ve just got to be more locked in and eliminate those big plays.”

The Cardinals have now allowed four teams – the Seahawks, Broncos, Eagles and Falcons – to hit 500 total yards of offense this season. They’re 1-3 in those games and 10-1 in the rest. The defense will look to get back on track in San Francisco next weekend.

“You play a long time in this league, you’re going to have some of those days,” Foote said. “We’re going to regroup. We’re going to lick our wounds. We’re going to try to win next week, finish this season on a high note and get ready for the playoffs.”

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