Cardinals Overtime Win Over Seattle One for the Ages

Howard Balzer

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Wow!

We could list many words to describe what transpired at State Farm Stadium in a game for the ages that lasted nearly four hours Sunday night —three hours and 52 minutes, to be exact — but wow seems to encapsulate the Cardinals 37-34 overtime victory the best.

That the Cardinals were even in the game, given the way Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson carved up the defense in the first half, was remarkable.

It was a game of two halves with Seattle winning the first 30 minutes 27-17 and the Cardinals winning the final 39:45 20-7 after trailing 34-24 with 6:44 to play in regulation.

It was a game of redemption for Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez, who missed a 41-yard field goal in overtime that would have won the game before nailing the game-winning, 48-yarder with 15 seconds remaining.

It also might have been a coming-out party for inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who hasn’t played much in his rookie season, but had the interception on Wilson’s final play of the night that led to the winning points.

“That was clutch,” said safety Budda Baker of the “smoke pressure” defensive call designed on that play. “He showed he was blitzing, but then used his length to make the play.”

Added head coach Kliff Kingsbury: “We’ve tried to put him in positions to be successful. I couldn’t be happier for Isaiah.”

In the first half, the Cardinals defense allowed big play after big play, especially on first down. Seattle had 12 plays of 16 yards or more in the first two quarters and those plays totaled 291 of their 377 yards. Six of the plays were for 22 yards or more, including two gains of 34 yards, plus one for 47 yards.

The Seahawks had 36 plays in the first half, averaging over 10 yards per play, and reached third down only three times. On first down, they had 21 plays for 250 yards.

Things changed drastically in the second half. Kingsbury said, “[Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph] had a great plan at halftime, made some adjustments and to hold that offense to seven points is pretty incredible.

“Everybody pulled together in overtime and found a way.”

In the final two quarters and overtime, the longest play was 18 yards and there were only two of 16 yards or more. On  first down, the Seahawks were 7-for-57 in the third quarter, but just 7-for-23 in the fourth quarter and 5-for-9 in overtime for a total of 19-for-89 after halftime

Meanwhile, the game within the game was the epic duel between Wilson and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. The duo became the first quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and rush for at least 50 in the same game. The two offenses combined for 1,091 yards and had 982 after four quarters.

Wilson was 33-for-50 for 388 yards and three touchdowns, but also had three interceptions. It was the first time this season he threw multiple picks in a game. He also rushed for 84 yards on six attempts. 

Murray, meanwhile, went 34-for-48 for 360 yards and three touchdowns, with just one interception and had a 104.5 passer rating to Wilson’s 84.4. Murray rushed 14 times for 67 yards and kept his streak alive with at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season.

The two players accounted for 899 yards passing and running, Wilson accumulating 472 and Murray 427.

“It was a fight,” said Baker, who had an interception for the second consecutive game but was caught from behind on his 90-yard play at the 8-yard line by Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf.

Added Murray: “These are the games you dream about. I’m super proud of the team after the way we started. They never gave up."

Of course, neither did Murray. He led the team on a drive from their own 25-yard-line with 43 seconds left in the half that resulted in a field goal. Then, down 34-24, there was a 14-play, 75-yard drive helped by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Seahawks defensive end Benson Mayowa, who was guilty of illegal leveraging on a 52-yard field-goal attempt by Gonzalez that he made, but the ball moved from the 34-yard line to the 19 after the penalty. Two plays later, Murray connected with wide receiver Christian Kirk on an eight-yard touchdown pass.

After the defense stopped the Seahawks, Murray led a drive that began with 52 seconds remaining from the 20 to the Seahawks' 26 and Gonzalez tied the game with a 44-yard field goal as time expired.

Oh, did we almost forget to mention this was the first home win for the Cardinals over Seattle since 2012? Well, we just did.

Meanwhile, referencing the overtime where outside linebacker Haason Reddick achieved his career-high fifth sack of the season followed by cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. blitzing and sacking Wilson for a 10-yard loss on third-and-11, Gonzalez missed the first field-goal attempt and then the Simmons interception.

“I don’t think I’ve been a part of anything like that,” Murray said.

Perhaps no one has, which is why this will end the way it started.

Wow!

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