Photo by Associated Press.
GLENDALE — The Arizona Cardinals beat NFC West rival San Francisco last week with a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson.
When the Cardinals were unable to spring Peterson against another NFC West opponent, they turned to the air.
Forty-seven passes from Drew Stanton was not enough, particularly with all the dropped passes by his receivers.
Arizona struggled to run effectively, fumbled twice and its defense gave up one crucial big play late, leading to a 22-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.
"We knew it would come down to a game of big plays and we didn't make enough," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.
The Cardinals (4-5) bounced back from an ugly loss to the Los Angeles Rams by riding Peterson heavily in a 20-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week.
Peterson ran a career-high 37 times for 159 yards against the 49ers, but was ineffective against Seattle's imposing defense.
He fumbled on Arizona's first play from scrimmage and was tackled in the end zone for a safety — both plays made by Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. Peterson finished with 29 yards on 21 carries.
It wasn't all his fault.
Arizona's offensive line was outmatched by Seattle's front in the run game most of the night, unable to give Peterson many lanes to run through. The Cardinals also lost starting left tackle D.J. Humphries to a right knee injury in the first quarter, exacerbating their ineffectiveness.
"We just weren't able to get much going," Cardinals right tackle Jared Veldheer said.
Drew Stanton, making his second start in place of injured Carson Palmer, played well at times, but got little help. He threw for 273 yards and a touchdown on 24-of-47 passing, a night that would have been better had the Cardinals not dropped at least five passes. Larry Fitzgerald had 10 catches for 113 yards for the Cardinals.
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight, it's like that all the time," Stanton said. "There's no surprises in this game and unfortunately we didn't get the ball rolling. I didn't do a good enough job of keeping in third downs, converting those, and keeping us rolling."
Andre Ellington also lost a fumble without being hit — the ground caused it — on a catch that would have put the Cardinals in field-goal range just before halftime. Russell Wilson hit Paul Richardson on a 43-yard pass on the next play and Blair Walsh kicked his second field goal in the closing seconds, a 43-yarder that put Seattle up 15-7 at halftime.
Arizona's defense shut down Seattle's run game and pressured Wilson all night, sacking him five times. The Cardinals had a hard time corralling him on one play with the game close in the fourth quarter, when Wilson weaved his way around two rushers twice, threw up a ball up for grabs and completed a 54-yard pass to Doug Baldwin.
"Obviously, Russell made a great play when he was trying to throw it out of bounds and that was probably the deciding factor in the game," Arians said.
Wilson's scramble and completion set the Seattle up for his second touchdown pass, 2 yards to tight end Jimmy Graham to put the Seahawks (6-3) up 22-10. Wilson also threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Graham in the first quarter, finishing the night with 238 yards on 22-of-32 passing.