SEATTLE -- At some point, Kyler Murray will return to playing quarterback for the Cardinals.
Joshua Dobbs has done what he could at the position while filling in during Murray's absence, and his electric running has helped the Cardinals numerous times since the season started. But a team needs to pass the ball to win in today's NFL, and the Cardinals struggled doing that Sunday -- and it made the task too great in a 20-10 loss to the Seahawks at Lumen Field.
"We had spurts but we couldn't consistently put together a good drive," wide receiver Michael Wilson said. "We couldn't get the chemistry going between the receivers, tight ends and quarterback."
The Cardinals (1-6) played well defensively most of the game. The Cardinals won the turnover battle, 3-0. In the second half, the defense held the Seahawks (4-2) to three points over two straight red zone trips.
But the pass protection had a rough day trying to keep the Seahawks' pass rush from pressuring Dobbs, and Dobbs couldn't generate passes down the field when he did have time. He didn't cross the 100-yard passing mark until late in the third quarter.
"I started slow personally," Dobbs said, before noting that the Cardinals didn't finish enough drives.
"There were opportunities. We converted a couple of big third downs. A couple times it was on me I need to get the ball out quicker. Keep the chains moving."
Dobbs finished with 146 yards passing on 19-of-33 throws. He also was sacked right before halftime, costing the team a field-goal try. The Cardinals had their lowest net passing yards (122) and total yards (249) since the Week 1 loss in Washington.
But that game was with Dobbs starting after just two weeks with the team. With the Cardinals seven weeks into the schedule, frustration is going to emerge.
"As an offense we need to execute better," center Hjalte Froholdt said. "I can only speak what we are doing up front, and we need to lock in more.
"We have to reset every week. We are fortunate to be out here on this field and fortunate to be out here for the Cardinals. We have to bite the bullet on this one, go in (Monday), lick our wounds, take the coaching and do that every week. If you start looking ahead or too far behind or at your record, you kind of get lost in it a little bit."
There were positives, especially on defense. Cardinals rookie cornerback Garrett Williams did have his first NFL interception.
The rushing game was also solid -- thanks in part to Dobbs, who had a 25-yard rushing touchdown. The Cardinals gained 127 yards on the ground, compared to 115 to the Seahawks.
The game was one score until midway through the fourth quarter. Rookie quarterback Clayton Tune got his first NFL appearance and pass in the game -- but it was on a fake punt.
On fourth-and-9 in the fourth quarter, Tune jumped out of punt formation to fire a quick out to fellow rookie Michael Wilson. It only gained four yards when the Seahawks weren't surprised. In a seven-point game, it was what turned out to be a last gasp, with the Seahawks moving into a game-sealing field goal.
"The call was made and credit to them, they made the play," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "You've got to live with those decisions, but I like the call."
The Cardinals lost starting left tackle D.J. Humphries in the first half when he was ejected for making contact with an official, with Kelvin Beachum coming in to replace him, Beachum's first action of the season.
Murray's first action, meanwhile, is coming – probably not next week, at home against the Ravens – but it's coming. Dobbs will continue to be a caretaker at the spot, as the Cardinals try find rhythm through the air.
"We're improving," Gannon said. "Like I said, I like their fight – we've just got to fight a little bit better."