Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson evades pressure from safety Tyrann Mathieu (left) and outside linebacker Chandler Jones on a play where he later found Doug Baldwin for a 54-yard completion.
Coach Bruce Arians thought the Cardinals’ defense played “lights-out” in Thursday’s night’s 22-16 loss to the Seahawks, except for one play.
A follow-up question wasn’t needed, because everyone watching the game knew exactly what play it was.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson changed the complexion of the contest with a magical escape from pressure and a subsequent completion to Doug Baldwin in the fourth quarter. Instead of a sack that likely would have led to a punt on the possession, the pass resulted in a 54-yard gain. On the next play, Wilson found tight end Jimmy Graham for a 2-yard touchdown and a 22-10 lead that effectively iced the win.
“He made a play that will probably go down in history,” Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby said.
Players from both teams referred to Wilson as “Houdini” after he circled away from outside linebacker Chandler Jones and safety Tyrann Mathieu before finding Baldwin near the sideline. Baldwin evaded safety Antoine Bethea, who slipped on the play, and dashed down the sideline until Budda Baker finally caught him at the 2-yard-line.
“I saw Chandler Jones, and whenever you see him right there it is never a good thing,” Wilson said. “I was trying to find a way to get some space and get away from him. I think I spun back twice or whatever and gave Doug a chance to make a play when he was one-on-one.”
Arians believed Wilson may have been trying to throw the ball out of bounds, and thought Bethea would have picked the ball off if he didn’t lose his footing on the play.
“Maybe,” Bethea said. “(But) I slipped.”
The score prove to be critical, as the Cardinals found the end zone with 20 seconds remaining in the game but ran out of time when their onside kick attempt failed.
“It was an igniter,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We needed to get separated on the score. They were hanging on to that 15-10 thing. We needed to get out, and it became a two-score deal.”
The play helped erase an impressive defensive effort from the Cardinals.
They had five sacks on Wilson and had a chance at a pair of interceptions, but Baker and Tramon Williams couldn’t corral them. While there were some promising signs for the future, it was hard to appreciate those with Wilson’s dagger still lingering freshly in their minds.
“We played solid,” Bethea said, “but solid doesn’t get the win.”
The Cardinals hung around for most of the contest, but the unlikely chunk play helped seal the loss.
“It hurt,” defensive lineman Olsen Pierre said. “It’s like a game-winning three in basketball. When it happens, it just takes the energy out of everybody.”