In a season with as many ups and downs as the Cardinals have had, it’s only fitting that it would end in the fashion it did: in overtime.
Kicker Jay Feely capped off a 13-play drive in the extra frame by hitting a 28-yard field goal, lifting the Cardinals over the Seahawks 23-20.
The Cardinals won seven of their last nine games to finish 8-8. Not too shabby considering their horrendous 1-6 start to the season.
“It’s just exciting to see the fight in this football team and to get that win was big for us,” head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “To go 8-8, to go 7-2 over our last nine games is really a pretty strong statement.”
Quarterback John Skelton shook off an apparent fainting spell before the game, and a quiet first half, to have another solid performance in place of Kevin Kolb, who was deactivated before the game.
Skelton was 22-of-40 for 271 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Cardinals won their fourth overtime game this season, which is an NFL record. All of the wins came at home. Skelton had no fear when they lost the coin toss in overtime.
“No one blinked an eye on the sideline,” Skelton said. “Everyone knew the defense was going to get a stop and sure enough they did.”
“It’s fun knowing that no matter what the situation, you’re not out of the game.”
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was held in check for the entire first half, but he more than made up for it in the second half and in overtime. He ended up with nine catches for 149 yards.
“To be able to win it in OT again, in dramatic fashion, I don’t know what it is about this ball club,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s been a fun second half of the season.”
From a statistical standpoint, it was even in a lot of areas.
The Cardinals had 388 total yards to the Seahawks 369.
Seattle ran the ball extremely well for the most part, ending up with 178 yards as a team. Marshawn Lynch led Seattle with 86 yards on 19 carries.
Beanie Wells was held out of the game, per Whisenhunt. LaRod Stephens-Howling played very well in Wells’ place, rushing for 93 yards on 21 carries.
“I feel like I did a great job,” Stephens-Howling said. “The lineman did a great job. We just kept pounding the ball.”
The Cardinals defense was especially stingy on third down and in the red zone. Seattle was 3-of-16 on third down and 0-4 inside the red zone.
The Cardinals sure made it an interesting and fun season for their fans, and by virtue of their strong second half finish, gives them hope for the 2012-2013 season.
“Going into next year, we just need to use this momentum to try to be Super Bowl contenders,” defensive end Calais Campbell said.