It was a messy, slow, offensively-challenged Sunday night game between the Cardinals and Seahawks, and perhaps the biggest takeaway from the 6–6 tie was how many flaws both teams have.
A Sunday night game marked by negated first downs, not one but two blocked kicks (one punt and one field goal), and almost no offense to speak of would not end mercifully. It eventually did end—in not just a tie, but the lowest scoring OT tie in NFL history—but it took an extra 15 minutes and two missed field goals to get there.
The Cardinals led by three for 56 minutes, but the Seahawks, who could not get anything going offensively all game, answered with a field goal late in the fourth quarter following a blocked punt. Arizona then opened overtime with another made field goal, only to see the Seahawks match that as well. On the following drive, a conclusion finally seemed certain when a 40-yard-completion to J.J. Nelson put the Cardinals at the Seahawks' five. Yet, David Johnson was stopped inside the one on consecutive runs and Arizona kicker Chandler Catanzaro’s offering plunked off the left upright following a delay of game penalty. Coach Bruce Arians chucked his play sheet in response while corner Patrick Peterson collapsed to his knees. All Al Michaels could offer the viewers still watching was, “How in the world?”
But that was not all!
Russell Wilson finally seemed to take advantage of his unforeseen opportunity to respond on the ensuing drive with a pair completions—the first across midfield to Jermaine Kearse and the second down to the nine on a Doug Baldwin catch and run. Two plays later though, Stephen Hauschka missed a chip shot field goal with 11 seconds remaining. Kicker see, kicker do. Now it was Pete Carroll’s turn to stand on the sideline, perplexed, as the Cardinals hid their giddiness—Catanzaro most of all.
Finally, at 12:12 AM eastern time, the two teams walked off the field, grappling with the first tied game in Seahawks history and what it will mean for the NFC playoff race. “It sucks that it came out as a tie,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “I wish we could keep playing.”
For most of Sunday Night Football, the defenses glimmered in the spotlight. Arizona held Seattle to just five first downs and 130 total yards during regulation. Carson Palmer and Co. had more success statistically, yet were repeatedly stymied when it came time to capitalize. A second-quarter drive ended with a blocked field goal (by Wagner) before another promising possession came to end on a sack-fumble that concluded the half. The third quarter brought a redzone turnover on downs. In the fourth, the Seahawks got their crucial blocked punt, setting up a four-play, zero-yard scoring drive.
“Throughout the whole first half and then right before the half, to keep them off the board, and then again and again and again there were so many chances to let them bust it out and win it,” Carroll said after the game. “The guys just wouldn’t let them do it.
“Two hardfighting teams battled it out tonight and unfortunately nobody win.”
For his part, Arians had some PG-13 postgame comments in regards to the night’s officiating. Otherwise, he said, “two good defenses and two good football teams. Hopefully this one doesn’t come back to haunt us.”
The biggest takeaways could center around the flaws both teams showed repeatedly throughout the extended game. Neither offensive line could sustain competence, 16 penalties prevented anyone from getting into a rhythm, and both offenses came up short in big spots, finishing a combined 0-for-4 in the redzone and 13-for-35 on third downs.
At the end of it, Seattle maintained its 1.5 game lead over Arizona in the division but now faces tough matchups with the Bills, Patriots, and Eagles over the next month. The Cardinals meanwhile will have to try again next week to move above .500 for the first time this season after starting 1–3. They’ll travel to a desperate 1–5 Carolina team coming off a bye and then play the 49ers, Vikings, and Falcons.
Before jogging off the field, Wagner said, “It was a physical and emotional battle. Missed kicks, all types of stuff, man. That’s a great team we played over there and I’m pretty sure we are going to see them again.”
Yes, Bobby, on Christmas Eve. Oh, joy.