Down and Distance with Bruce Arians: Win in Seattle “speaks volumes” about team’s character

TEMPE, Ariz. – Sunday night’s game between the Cardinals and Seahawks had more twists and turns than a Tom Clancy movie.

Arizona went up 19-0 and seemed in complete command in the first half. Seattle came strong in the second half, and showed why they’re the defending NFC champions, by rallying the way they did and taking the lead, before quarterback Carson Palmer and the Cardinals snatched the lead back for good with two crucial scoring drives in the fourth quarter.

It was that kind of night in the Pacific Northwest for the Cardinals and Seahawks. Fortunately for Arizona, they weathered the storm the Seahawks brewed up, got the 39-32 win, and jumped on the charter flight with a 7-2 record, and a three-game lead over Seattle.

“I don’t think I’ve been more proud of a bunch guys to start a game so fast, then have it go downhill so fast, and then regain it, especially in a venue like that,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “I think it speaks volumes about the character of the group of guys we have, especially our leader, our quarterback (Carson Palmer), and our defense.”

The Cardinals got a major scare midway through the second quarter, when left guard Mike Iupati suffered a neck injury, which required him to be taken off the field in an ambulance. Thankfully, Iupati was released before the game concluded, and he was able to travel back on the team charter with his teammates.

Arians says Iupati’s going through the concussion protocol, and will be day-to-day this week.

“We’ll put him (Iupati) through the protocol for precautionary measures and he’s a little stiff, but it was a very scary moment and we’re very happy to see him in the locker room smiling,” Arians said.

As far as other injuries go, the team came out relatively unscathed. Wide receiver Michael Floyd injured his hamstring, and defensive tackle Cory Redding came up with a low ankle sprain. Like Iupati, Floyd and Redding will be day-to-day.

Back to the game: The play Arians drew up for running back Andre Ellington – the one Ellington broke for a 48-yard game clinching touchdown run – was in Arians’ arsenal for the last 18 years. Arians tried to run it a few times this season, but it wasn’t very successful, until Sunday night.

Arians had a feeling that Ellington was due for another breakout run, like the 63-yard touchdown run he had against the Lions at Ford Field a few weeks back, so he decided to call #38’s number, and Ellington was more than prepared to shut the door on the Seahawks with that scoring strike.

“They (Seahawks defense) had been double blitzing us up the middle pretty much the whole fourth quarter,” Arians said. “It was going to be a hit or miss play. It was either going to hit big, or they were going probably get us for a three yard loss, and we’d use their last timeout, punt it down, and play for the field goal. You know, play to stop them. But if we could crack it, then you knew you were going to get at least the first down. Andre (Ellington) makes Kam (Chancellor) miss and then Britt(an Golden) gets a great block and he takes it to the house. You never call that play thinking you’re going to get a touchdown. You just want to get those five yards. As soon as I saw him slip under the end, we were in good shape. We were in real good shape. But, watching him go down the sideline and make Kam miss, that was big.”

What was shown more on television wasn’t Ellington’s actual run, instead quarterback Drew Stanton got more airtime because of his emotional explosion on the sideline as Ellington shot past him for the score. His dance rivaled, if not surpassed, anything wide receiver John Brown could do dance move wise after a score.

Arians wasn’t impressed. He actually said he could get down even more with his moves than Stanton ever could.

“I’m better than that,” Arians said. “I really wouldn’t like to see them (Stanton’s moves) again. They weren’t really pretty.”

Arizona’s locker room is full of men who believe in one another. It’s a group of men that believe they can beat any team, on any given day, in any given place. Arians believes that the win at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night, and the way in which they went about getting the win, only “reassures” and strengthens the team’s belief in one another.

“We don’t lack any confidence, for sure, but it reassures it when you go there and win,” Arians said. “It just helps to build it. A win like that could lead to a really good week of practice, which leads to better weeks.”

“If it had been a coaster all the way, who knows if we could handle adversity down the road? Now that you’ve done it on the road, it proves to you that you can,” Arians said. “I think there’s a lot of growth from that win more so than had it been 19-to-nothing the whole way.”

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