It was a late one and boy was it a tense finish. The Cardinals’ Week 1 game against Seattle Seahawks had it all – great plays, mishaps and odd calls from the replacement officials…but, when all was said and done, it was an unlikely hero taking the plaudits.
After a less than impressive showing in their 5-game pre-season fans (myself included) feared the worst for the season ahead – quarterback issues with neither looking like they could take the reigns and be the starter heading into the season, an offensive line with both veteran tackles ruled out for the season and a general feeling that this season was bound to be a huge, uphill struggle right from the start.
It could still turn out to be the case, we all know how last season began after a win over Carolina in Week 1, but against all odds it was the Cardinals that have the 1-0 record. Much to my surprise, I thought it’d be a very close game but with the Seahawks coming out on top…I like being wrong at times like this.
But, had it not been for one big drive in the fourth quarter, it could have quite easily gone the other way.
Kevin Kolb, the much-maligned quarterback, was seemingly the hero in the fourth quarter. Coming into the game, this time due to an injury suffered by John Skelton, is usually a bad thing for Kolb as it takes him a while to get acclimatized to the game but he got a spluttering offence moving down the field as well as commanding the no-huddle offence with relative ease.
Capping off the drive with a touchdown to Andre Roberts to give the team a 20-16 that the Seahawks, no matter how they tried, couldn’t overturn to give the Cardinals a Week 1 victory over their divisional rivals.
The main talking points from the game;
Skelton’s injury – it was apparent that we were getting nowhere with Skelton as the quarterback in the second half which, given his decent showing in the first half, was bizarre to say the least. Before the injury he completed 1 pass in the second half for a total of 3 yards. Shocking.
There was some good news about his injury though in the hours following the game where it was announced that he had not broken his ankle but is suffering a high-ankle sprain. I’m not a doctor but surely that’s a good sign? Unless, of course, it’s a high-ankle sprain like Sam Bradford suffered last year – an injury which lingered and affected his performance.
Here’s hoping that’s not the case with John Skelton. Otherwise we’re back to Kevin Kolb as our starter…
Lack of a running game – this was a bit of a concern for me (and not just because I was hoping Ryan Williams would have a big game for fantasy football purposes) as neither Williams or Wells had a big impact on the running game. LaRod Stephens-Howling got a TD early in the game but that’s not the point, plus it was from 1 yard out.
Whether it was an offensive line issue like I like to think it was or a case of them being not good enough remains to be seen. The Seahawks defence was bound to be a factor as well, making sure there was no room for them to run into.
The fact that Andre Roberts was our leading rusher says it all. There was an issue with our running game – let’s hope it was just a blip
Daryl Washington – Daryl Washington was absolutely phenomenal throughout. Showing exactly why he got himself such a big extension – he was everywhere; leading the team with 10 tackles and chipping in with a sack as well.
Sure, he may not have the recognition of the league like Patrick Willis does, but damn is he a good player. If he carries on with this sort of production, he’ll finish with 160 tackles and 16 sacks. If he is able to finish with statistics like that, then maybe he will finally get some form of recognition.
We love him though.
The defence in general – The defence didn’t have a great pre-season but as soon as the games really mattered, boy did they show up in a big way! The constant blitzes, the ridiculous amount of pressure put on rookie Russell Wilson, the shutting-down of their running game and great coverage by the secondary – Ray Horton has an amazing scheme that allows the players to flourish.
It’s likely that, given the offensive shortcomings that are bound to plague the team this season, the defence will need to be able to hold teams to field goals for the most part and possibly win games for the team. Given the talent there, it’s definitely something that they are capable of doing.
Replacement officials – the sooner that we get the proper officials back, the better. These guys are awful and give the impression off that they don’t know what they are doing. Whether it’s not knowing what is and what isn’t pass interference or how many timeouts a team has remaining, it’s an absolute farce.
It’s destroying the enjoyment of what is an amazing league. I read there were issues in the prime-time game last night so, if that doesn’t force the NFL to get a deal sorted out with the normal referees, nothing will.
Roger Goodell. Get it sorted!
So, with Week 1 in the bag, it’s off to Foxborough for Week 2 as the Cardinals take on the New England Patriots!