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Cardinals Tripped Up At Seattle In Battle For First Place

Penalties undo effort as offense can't convert late drive in 28-21 loss

Tight end Maxx Williams is upended after a catch during Thursday night's 28-21 loss in Seattle.
Tight end Maxx Williams is upended after a catch during Thursday night's 28-21 loss in Seattle.

SEATTLE – The Cardinals came to the Pacific Northwest hoping to make a statement about the NFC West.

By the time their showing on "Thursday Night Football" was over, they were not happy with what they ultimately had to say.

The play-by-play will show the Cardinals had a chance to tie the game on their final drive, but the 28-21 loss to the Seahawks at newly-named Lumen Field didn't feel great as it played out on national TV. The run game couldn't get started, the penalties came not only often but at great cost, and playing from behind caught up to the team that had been in first place when the day began.

"It wasn't a clean game by any means," quarterback Kyler Murray said. "We've got to be better."

Murray was shown wincing after a hit by Seattle's Carlos Dunlap early in the game jacked up his throwing shoulder. But Murray said after "I'm good" and it was his arm that allowed the Cardinals (6-4) to stay close.

The Seahawks have not lost three in a row during a season with Russell Wilson as quarterback, and they made sure that didn't happen Thursday – in large part of what Wilson didn't have to do. Attacking an injury-depleted Cardinals defensive line, the Seahawks ran for 165 yards, about what the NFL-best rushing attack of the Cardinals had been averaging coming into the game.

The Cardinals only managed 57 yards on the ground, with Murray gaining just 15 on five carries as the Seahawks looked like they had a good plan to slow him down when he carried the ball.

Murray finished 29-of-42 passing for 269 yards, touchdown passes to Chase Edmonds and Dan Arnold, and no turnovers. Yet the flow to the offense never got there. Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals with eight catches for 62 yards, as both DeAndre Hopkins (5-51) and Christian Kirk (4-50) never were big factors.

"We've got to be better," Murray said. "We will be better. It was just a tough night."

Especially when it came to penalties. There were 10 for 115 yards all told, but a number of them could be directly tied to scores.

"You're not going to win in this league doing that," coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson was flagged for a 46-yard pass interference call on DK Metcalf in the waning seconds of the first half, allowing a chip-shot field goal. A Dre Kirkpatrick taunting penalty extended a drive after the Cardinals had come up with a third-down stop, allowing the Seahawks to eventually score a touchdown.

"We have to be more composed," safety Budda Baker said.

And then, down just two points after getting a stop early in the fourth quarter, brutal back-to-back penalties. Murray was flagged for intentional grounding back at his own 2, and on the next play guard J.R. Sweezy was flagged for holding in his own end zone, giving the Seahawks a safety. That took the lead from 23-21 to 25-21, and the Cards had to punt back to the Seahawks (7-3).

Seattle then drove for a field goal, creating the final score.

Even with all that, the Cardinals did have a chance to tie the game and get to overtime for a second meeting with Seattle. Rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons had an outstanding game -- 10 tackles and a sack -- and the defense held just enough. On the final drive, however, three straight incompletions at the Seattle 27 – including goalline targets for Larry Fitzgerald and Andy Isabella that were broken up – led to a fourth-down sack of Murray to end Cardinals' hopes with 34 seconds left.

The Cardinals now have a mini-bye, and running back Kenyan Drake said the Cards must heal up and refocus. Their next game is in New England against the Patriots, who are trying to climb back into the playoff chase.

"We're still very positive," Baker said. "Even with all the penalties, we were still only down by seven.

"There are six more games left. Time to not look back."