Linebacker Daryl Washington and defensive end Calais Campbell combine to stuff Seattle running back Justin Forsett during Sunday's 22-10 loss.
SEATTLE – At one point Sunday, the grey skies opened up to some sun at Qwest Field, and the rain faded away.
At one point, the Cardinals felt they had hope too.
But by the end of the game, the clouds returned with a downpour, a fitting wrap on a generally dreary 22-10 loss to the Seahawks that cost the Cards – for now – first place in the NFC West.
Five turnovers cost the Cardinals, as did an offense that went nowhere behind rookie quarterback Max Hall before Hall left the game with a concussion. Backup Derek Anderson came in to lead the Cards to their first touchdown either rushing or passing in 11 quarters, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Hall will remain the Cards' starting quarterback assuming he is healthy, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, but the offensive problems can't continue for the Cardinals to survive.
"Certainly we are struggling offensively right now," Whisenhunt said. "Hopefully we will get it worked out."
The defense was the reason the Cards (3-3) were in the game at all. Hall was only 4-of-16 passing for 36 yards and an interception before he came out following a crushing blind-side sack by Chris Clemons on which he lost a fumble at the Arizona 11-yard line.
"Obviously, I was disappointed with how I played," Hall said.
The defense held for a field goal, just like they had held for a field goal on the first drive for the Seahawks (4-2) and like they did immediately after Hall's fumble, after Jason Wright muffed the kickoff and gave the ball back to the Seahawks on the Arizona 16.
Still, "I think we gave up 150 yards rushing," somber nose tackle Bryan Robinson said afterward (the number was actually 144). "That don't sound impressive to me.
"We can call that a moral victory but I feel just as bad as the offense does."
It will be difficult for the Cards to feel they couldn't have stolen one, even without the offensive woes. With the Cards trailing 3-0, running back Tim Hightower was off to a great start with 59 yards on only six carries – but he lost yet another fumble when the Cards had their first sustained drive.
"That hurt a lot," Hightower said. "We needed momentum. I've got to help there."
The defense held, but rookie Andre Roberts – who had just had an impressive 24-yard punt return – muffed the punt and when he tried to pick it up and run with one hand, he had it knocked loose and recovered by Seattle, leading to the Seahawks' lone touchdown.
Anderson's arrival let the Cards cut it to 16-7 when he engineered a 70-yard scoring drive with 5:43 left in the third quarter. But the Seahawks were able to continue to move the ball enough to kick two more field goals and grind the clock, and the Cards couldn't find the end zone again.
"I didn't have a great game," said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who had just three catches for 30 yards. "I know a lot of other guys that point to themselves offensively. Not all the blame goes on the quarterback.
"Coach said it after the game, the defense did their jobs. We're just not getting it done right now (offensively)."
Anderson finished 8-for-17 for 86 yards, but with the deficit, it made it harder to stick with the running game – not only was Hightower effective, but Beanie Wells ran 14 times for 54 yards – which didn't help.
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck didn't exactly shine, completing just 20-of-38 passes for 192 yards, but he kept going to reclamation project Mike Williams late, and the 6-foot-5 Williams made 11 receptions for 87 yards and several drive-extending first downs.
"When it really counted," cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said, "we couldn't get them off the field."
The Cardinals host the Buccaneers next week at home (wearing their black uniforms for the first time in the regular season) hoping to keep alive their streak of avoiding back-to-back losses, which hasn't happened since 2008.
Then again, as Robinson said, going back and forth only gets the Cards an 8-8 record by the end of the year.
"If we had done anything offensively," Whisenhunt said, "I'd like to think it would've been a different game."
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