When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Record: 4-8 after Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Jets
Where they rank: No. 32 on offense (31st rushing, 27th passing); No. 7 on defense (24th rushing, 3rd passing)
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Series: Cardinals lead 15-12, including a 20-16 victory in the season opener in Arizona; but the Seahawks have won the past two games played in Seattle
Star power: Larry Fitzgerald. Some things never change. His numbers are down, but Fitzgerald remains a big play waiting to happen. Because of the Cardinals’ ongoing quarterback problems, Fitzgerald has only 56 receptions for 650 yards and four touchdowns. That’s a relative snail’s pace that will produce a 75-catch, 867-yard, five-TD season. While most receivers in the league would grab those totals and run, Fitzgerald is not most receivers. In the past five seasons, he has averaged 93 receptions for 1,296 yards and 10 TDs. And no one knows any better than the Seahawks just good Fitzgerald can be on any given play. In his past two games against them, he has caught nine passes for 149 yards (in last year’s season finale) and four passes for 63 yards (in this year’s season opener). Fitzgerald has had six 100-yard receiving games against the Seahawks and two games in which he caught at least 10 passes. But one other number is very telling, as well. During his nine-season stay with the Cardinals, Fitzgerald has played with 13 different QBs – from Kurt Warner, to Matt Leinart, to Kevin Kolb, to Ryan Lindley.
Unsung hero: Make it plural, and make it the Cardinals’ defense. As bad as the Cardinals’ offense has been, their defense has been almost that good. It starts with the scheme that has been installed by second-year coordinator Ray Horton, who played his football at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School and the University of Washington and learned his football while working for Dick LeBeau with the Steelers. But it’s the players making the stops in Horton’s scheme that makes the defense go – linemen Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell; linebackers Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington; and defensive backs Patrick Peterson, Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. The Cardinals have forced 27 turnovers, fourth-highest in the league; and intercepted 18 passes, which ties for second most in the league.
On the spot: Lindley. The Seahawks faced John Skelton and Kolb in their season-opening loss to the Cardinals. But with Kolb out with a rib injury and Skelton playing his way onto Ken Whisenhunt’s won’t-play list, the Cardinals’ coach is going with the rookie out of San Diego State. Lindley completed eight of his first 25 passes in Sunday’s loss to the Jets and finished 10 of 31 for 72 yards. The Cardinals produced five first downs, which tied for the fewest in franchise history. They were 0 for 15 on third downs. They had 11 possessions where they failed to produce a first down. Their six points came on field goals by Jay Feely. One was setup by a 40-yard gain on a fake punt, the other by a fumble recovery at the Jets’ 35-yard line. That didn’t cut it in a one-point loss to the Jets. That won’t cut it against the Seahawks’ improving-by-the-week offense.
Burning question: What happened to this team? After starting 4-0, the Cardinals have lost their last eight games. See the above contrasts between the defense and the offense. The last time the Cardinals scored more than 20 points in a game was in Week 4 against the Dolphins, which also was the last time they won – and that game went into overtime. The defense has held six opponents to fewer than 20 points, and the Cardinals are 3-3 in those games. The Cardinals have allowed 48 sacks, nine more than the next-highest team (the Packers). They are averaging 3.6 yards running the ball. Their three QBs have combined to throw 10 TD passes and 13 interceptions.
Numbers to know: Plus-7, the Cardinals’ turnover differential. … 80, points allowed by the Cardinals in the second quarter. … 9, sacks by Washington. … 9, combined interceptions by Peterson (five) and Rhodes (four). … 313, rushing yards by LaRod Stephens-Howling, which leads the team. … 40.4, Lindley’s passer rating.
Familiar faces: In addition to Horton, rookie guard Senio Kelemete also played for the Huskies. Tackle Pat McQuistan is the twin brother of Seahawks’ guard Paul McQuistan.
The last word: “I have no words. I have to laugh to keep from crying.” – Fitzgerald, after the one-point loss to the Jets
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