Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer scans for an open receiver in the Cardinals' 39-32 victory on Sunday night.
SEATTLE – Coach Bruce Arians watched his quarterback fumble on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter Sunday night, flipping a game which had been going the Cardinals' way.
He didn't care. As long as Carson Palmer kept going back to the huddle, Arians liked his chances.
The Cardinals improved to 2-0 at CenturyLink Field with the Arians-Palmer duo, as the veteran signal-caller made a grand re-entrance after missing last year's game with a torn ACL.
"Like I've said, I always wanted to come back with Carson," Arians said. "I don't mind coming here with Carson any day of the week."
Palmer finished 29-of-48 for 363 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in the 39-32 victory. He led the team on consecutive 80-yard touchdown drives in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals scored the most points on Seattle since the 49ers put up 40 on Dec. 12, 2010.
Palmer was on pace for the best season of his career through the season's first half, but there were still doubts because the offense had yet to face an elite defense. The Seahawks are one of the stingiest in the NFL, but had trouble slowing Palmer.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 passes for 130 yards, while Michael Floyd added seven catches for 113 yards and two scores. Floyd beat the Seahawks over the top for each touchdown, no easy feat against a top-notch secondary, and Palmer laid the ball in perfectly.
"When he has time back there, he's the most accurate guy in the game," Fitzgerald said. "He can make any throw on the field. We all understand that Carson is playing at an extremely high level and can make all the throws and get us where we're trying to go this year."
Palmer had an interception early and then the two fumbles late, but his confidence wasn't shaken. After the Seahawks took a 29-25 lead on linebacker Bobby Wagner's 22-yard fumble return touchdown with 13:00 remaining, Palmer grabbed it right back on a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham with 8:41 to go.
"He was fine," Arians said. "He came off and wanted to know where the guy came from and how we're going to get it picked up and fixed. We got it fixed."
Palmer had been through something like this the last time he played in Seattle. Palmer threw four interceptions in that 2013 contest but found Floyd for the late game-winning touchdown in a 17-10 slugfest. While this one was a shootout, the fumbles still dealt him some adversity.
"Forget about them and move on," Palmer said. "It's the only thing you can do playing this game, playing this position. We're a gutsy team. We're a tough team, and tough teams overcome one player's mistakes and move on."
The Cardinals were a joyous group postgame, but Palmer doesn't want this to be a signature win because of what that would portend for the rest of the season.
"I hope not," Palmer said. "I hope there's another signature win, and a bunch of them, in our future. But it's just a good win. It's good to get this far up in this division (three games), especially this division. But we've got to move on. We've got a huge challenge coming in next week (against the Bengals) and a number of tough games after that. So we'll continue to work, continue to grind and move on."
The future is looking bright, with the Cardinals sitting at 7-2 and looking like one of the best teams in the NFL. For that, they owe a lot to their veteran signal-caller.
"He is definitely an elite quarterback in this league," Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said. "We challenged him at times, but overall we didn't get the job done. … It gets under my skin a little bit when he gets the best of us like that."