SEATTLE – They bent and bent some more.
Despite giving up more than 100 rushing yards to a team for just the second time this season, the Arizona Cardinals’ defense didn’t break in Sunday’s 19-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
If the Cardinals’ defense had actually broken, their second loss of the season would’ve been closer to 2012’s blowout at Seattle than Sunday’s defeat .Time and time again, the defense bailed out the offense, only to give them the ball back, only to have to bail them out again.
“It’s OK, there’ll be games like that,” defensive tackle Frostee Rucker. “Maybe some games they carry us when we have a tough outing, and that makes up a team. We’ll be alright. We’ll bounce back. We just got beat today.”
But it wasn’t because of the defense.
Arizona had a season-high seven sacks, five of which came in the first half. Through the first 11 weeks of the season, the Cardinals had seven total first-half sacks.
“This is a different type of offense to get sacks on,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “You know you got a quarterback [who] runs a lot of bootlegs, more so than dropping straight back. We had our chances to get four or five more negative plays, and we just could not tackle him.”
Leading the charge was defensive end Calais Campbell, who had a career- high three sacks Sunday, all coming in the first half.
“I feel like I did a lot better,” Campbell said. “There’s some plays I left out there, that’s just part of the game. For the most part, just went hard and left it all on the field.”
The first half was a continuous cycle of bad field position for the Cardinals leading to good field position for the Seahawks. It started on the opening kick, which Arizona’s Ted Ginn ran out to the Cardinals 10. A three-and-out forced Arizona to punt, giving Seattle possession at the Arizona 49. That drive ended with the Cards forcing a field goal with the first of two red-zone stops by Arizona’s defense. From there, the Cardinals’ defense continued to hold, either forcing the Seahawks to punt or settle for a field goal.
Arizona’s average first-half starting field position was the 18-yard-line, whereas the Seahawks’ was the 43.
The Cardinals held the Seahawks to four field goals -- two of which came on red-zone stands -- and blocked a fifth attempt when Tommy Kelly got his hand on a Steven Hauschka kick late in the second quarter.
But, while the defense was impressive in stopping another top-tier running back, it struggled to slow down Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. He ran for 73 yards -- 39 in the second quarter, alone.
"We did not tackle well early," Arians said. "We obviously didn’t tackle Russell Wilson late very well. We lost on a lot of broken plays. We had the regular play defended extremely well. We just missed tackles."
But the Cardinals held Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch to 39 yards – his lowest total of the season when he’s rushed at least 10 times.
However, for the third time this season, Arizona didn’t cause a turnover.
“We was playing against a great defense and, on the road, you got to outplay their defense,” linebacker Larry Foote said. “You got to create more turnovers, you got to give your offense a short field, and we made plays, but when you play against a good defense, you can’t give up nothing.”