The Arizona Cardinals fought their way back into the win column Sunday, as they downed Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, 23-13. While the Cardinals didn't have Kyler Murray for a third straight game, Colt McCoy and the Cardinals offense established their dominance early and didn't look back. McCoy completed 35 of 44 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns, while Wilson completed just 14 of 26 passes for 207 yards.
The Cardinals defense held the Seahawks to just 266 yards of total offense and 2 of 10 on third downs. The 12th man in Seattle released a flock of boo birds as early as the Seahawks' second offensive possession, and they were heard frequently throughout the entire game. While DeeJay Dallas scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to just three points, McCoy and the Cards answered with a touchdown of their own to put the game away.
This win moves the Cardinals up to 9-2, as they retake the No. 1 seed in the NFC from the Green Bay Packers. This loss drops the Seahawks to 3-7 and adds further doubt to their playoff hopes. Eight of the last 10 meetings between these teams before this game were decided by one score. Not this matchup.
So, what went down in Seattle on Sunday? Let's take a look.
Why the Cardinals won
Last year in Week 13, McCoy stepped in for Daniel Jones and led the New York Giants to a 17-12 win over the Seahawks in Seattle. Sunday, he did the same for the Cardinals. The Seahawks came into this matchup with the second-worst defense in the league, and while they were facing McCoy and not Murray, they made the Texas legend look like a legitimate starting signal-caller. On the opening drive for the Cardinals, McCoy led Arizona 82 yards down the field on 16 plays -- picking up seven first downs on the way to Zach Ertz's first touchdown. On their third drive of the game, McCoy led a 13-play, 92-yard drive which was capped by Ertz's second touchdown grab of the game. The backup quarterback had a day, as he threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns.
You have to credit McCoy for taking care of the ball and leading several long drives which resulted in points in a hostile environment. He showed trust in his receivers as well, and they came through for him more often than not. Ertz caught eight passes for 88 yards, and A.J. Green caught four passes for 78 yards. The defense supported the offense by putting pressure on Wilson, as they got to him a total of four times. Chandler Jones accounted for half of the quarterback takedowns.
Why the Seahawks lost
Seattle's corners made it easy for McCoy to move the ball via the air, and the defense allowed a grand total of 413 yards of total offense. The defense's performance is the easy scapegoat, but Wilson still doesn't look right. We saw that last week against the Green Bay Packers, but expected him to look a bit better after another week and with him being at home. That did not happen. In the past, he has been able to make up for the defense's deficiencies by scoring points, but the Seahawks went just 1 of 3 in the red zone.
McCoy looked like one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL on Sunday. After the Seahawks scored their first touchdown of the game with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to three points, McCoy cooly and calmly took the offense down the field 67 yards on 10 plays. He kept a read option for six yards, dodged blitzers on third-and-7 to find Ertz for a gain of 20 and then on the very next play kept it himself for a gain of 11 yards. McCoy marched this offense down the field like there was nothing to it, and James Conner punched it in from one-yard out to extend the lead to double digits -- putting the game away for good.
Play of the game
While Wilson didn't have an outing to remember, he still threw some nice balls to Tyler Lockett, who caught four passes for 115 yards. Check out this play, where Wilson just put his trust in his best deep-ball wideout, and it paid off.
Stat of the game
His 2nd sack of the day gives Chandler Jones 12.5 career sacks at Lumen Field.— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) November 21, 2021
It puts him in the top 10 for sacks in the stadium’s history. He’s the only one not to play for the Seahawks.
He’s played just 6 games here. The others in the top 10 played between 20 and 72. pic.twitter.com/UaEqZZLtVn
The Cardinals get to take a week off, as their bye is scheduled for Week 12. As for the Seahawks, they travel to Maryland for a date with the Washington Football Team on "Monday Night Football." Taylor Heinicke and Co. have won two straight games now, defeating Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday and then ruining Cam Newton's homecoming in Charlotte this Sunday.