4:05 PM ET, December 22, 2013
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
SEATTLE -- Carson Palmer felt confident in where he needed to go with the throw.
He also knew he was throwing to a wide receiver who hadn't made a reception in the previous 57 minutes.
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A perfectly placed throw by Palmer and a juggling catch by Michael Floyd kept the Arizona Cardinals in the playoff hunt for another week with a surprising 17-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Palmer overcame four interceptions to find Floyd on a 31-yard touchdown with 2:13 left, and Arizona won for the seventh time in eight games and snapped the Seahawks' 14-game home win streak.
"It's tough not to get the ball thrown your way until the last play of the game essentially," Palmer said.
The Cardinals were nasty on defense, frustrating Russell Wilson into the first home loss of his professional career and gave Palmer a chance to come through late. Palmer did, and now Week 17 has meaning for Arizona.
"An ugly win is a win regardless of how it comes out," Palmer said. "There was a handful of times where the ball really bounced their way today and we were resilient, kept fighting, kept believing and came out and got a win."
Palmer was mistake prone early, throwing three of his four interceptions in the first half. He was twice intercepted in the end zone, including Richard Sherman's second pick of the game early in the fourth quarter.
Marshawn Lynch continued his struggles Sunday, averaging fewer than 4.0 yards per rush for the fifth straight week. He entered the game ranked 44th among 49 qualified rushers.
|Wks 1-10||Wks 11-16|
|Yds per rush||4.6||3.3|
|YAC per rush||2.0||1.6|
|1st downs PG||4.8||2.8|
|-- ESPN Stats & Info|
His winning drive made up for the earlier errors. Palmer led Arizona 75 yards in 10 plays. Floyd had been targeted four times previous without a reception, but beat Byron Maxwell down the sideline and Palmer's throw was on the mark.
The 58-0 beating the Seahawks put on Arizona last season in Seattle is history. The memory now is Arizona handing Seattle its first home loss since Dec. 24, 2011, against San Francisco.
"Any time you come on the road and the team beats you 58-0 and you have to come back to their place, it lingers to the back of your head," Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "If you got any pride in any game of football, when a team beats you by 58, you know you think about it and it's stuck on you."
Palmer finished 13-of-25 for 178 yards. Floyd's TD reception was his only catch and Larry Fitzgerald was held to three catches for 18 yards. Arizona didn't need to be explosive offensively because of its defense.
Wilson was 11-of-27 for 108 yards, taking his first home loss since he was at North Carolina State. Seattle went three-and-out seven times. They had only 22:36 of possession.
Who's in? Who's on the verge of clinching? We break down the playoff possibilities for each team still alive heading into Week 17. Scenarios
The final pass was another moment of debate for the Seahawks, who earlier thought they had recovered a fumble only to have replay side with Arizona.
The pass appeared to hit the ground before deflecting off Baldwin and to Dansby. It was ruled an interception on the field and referee Scott Green told a pool reporter there was not indisputable evidence to overturn that call.
Baldwin was emphatic the ball hit the turf.
"I would have loved to get that call," Baldwin said. "I believe the ball hit the ground. But that's not why we didn't win the game."
Until the winning scoring drive, Palmer's day was defined by poor decisions and unlucky bounces. He was intercepted in the end zone by Kam Chancellor on Arizona's opening drive when his pass deflected off Rob Hausler. He was picked off by Malcolm Smith in Seattle territory in the second quarter on a tipped pass, and twice threw interceptions to Sherman, the second a poor decision.
But Palmer was fantastic on Arizona's decisive drive after Seattle took a 10-9 lead on Wilson's 11-yard TD pass to Zach Miller. Palmer started with a third-down completion as he was about to get sandwiched by Clinton McDonald, flipping a pass to Jake Ballard for 17 yards. The drive was kept going when Smith was flagged for defensive holding on a third-down incompletion.
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On third-and-6, Palmer dropped a perfect throw beyond Maxwell and into Floyd's hands. He juggled it at first, but controlled the ball as he hit the turf.
Rashard Mendenhall scored easily on the 2-point conversion with 2:13 left.
"Whether we make the playoffs or not, we beat one of the best," Arizona coach Bruce Arians said.
Arizona won in Seattle for the first time since 2009. ... According to STATS, Inc., it was the third regular season game Palmer threw four INTs and first that he won. ... Seattle K Steven Hauschka missed a 24-yard FG in the second quarter off the left upright. It snapped a streak of 22 straight makes.
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 22: Kicker Steven Hauschka #4 of the Seattle Seahawks watches the flight of a missed field...(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||4.4||3.8|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-4||1-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|FG||13:45||Steven Hauschka 27 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 13 plays, 70 yds, 6:02
|FG||2:19||Jay Feely 39 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 16 plays, 75 yds, 8:21
|FG||0:33||Jay Feely 46 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 6 plays, 27 yds, 3:03
|FG||10:43||Jay Feely 26 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 5 plays, 45 yds, 2:34
|TD||7:32||Zach Miller 11 Yard Pass From Russell Wilson (Steven Hauschka Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 61 yds, 3:13
|TD||2:20||Michael Floyd 31 Yard Pass From Carson Palmer (Rashard Mendenhall Run For Two-Point Conversion is Good)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:13
The Cardinals defense has been significantly better since Week 8.[+]
Cardinals Defense - This Season
The Cardinals send 5 or more pass rushers more than any other team in the league (48.4 pct of dropbacks). But what has really keyed their improvement on defense has been the performance of their standard pass rush (4 or fewer pass rushers). They have been blitzing much less during their last 8 games, and their standard rush has been much better.[+]
Cardinals Defense With 4 or Fewer Pass Rushers
Russell Wilson posted an 11.5 Total QBR against the Cardinals, the worst rating in any of his 31 career starts. Wilson was 0-8 passing with a 0.1 Total QBR when under duress or hit while throwing. Wilson entered the game with a 78.7 Total QBR under such pressure, the 2nd-best rating in the league.
Marshawn Lynch continued his recent struggles on Sunday, averaging fewer than 4.0 yards per rush for the fifth straight week. Lynch entered Week 16 with a 3.2 yards per rush average that ranked 44th among 49 qualified rushers, and his performance offered only slight improvement. - Seattle's rushing problems really hurt Russell Wilson's play-action game. Wilson completed 2-of-10 for 36 yards and an interception on play-action passes. Wilson finished the game 11-of-27 for a career-low 108 yards, a touchdown and an interception overall.[+]
Marshawn Lynch Rushing by Week
They have also been getting much more consistent QB play. In the 1st 7 games this season, Carson Palmer posted a 32.3 Total QBR, which ranked 32nd out of 36 qualified QBs. He threw 5 more interceptions than touchdowns and went 3-4 in that span. In his last 8 games, Palmer has posted a 68.8 Total QBR (6th best in the league), and has thrown 6 more touchdowns than interceptions. He is 7-1 in that time.
ESPN Stats & Information
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