Last year’s win in Seattle set things in motion for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. – There was a lot at stake for the Arizona Cardinals when they went up to Seattle, Wash., last December to take on the Seattle Seahawks. A loss at CenturyLink Field would’ve knocked them out of the playoff hunt. There was added pressure put on by the fact that the Seahawks were on a 14-game home winning streak at the time.

It wasn’t the prettiest display of football for Arizona, as the four interceptions quarterback Carson Palmer threw would back up that claim. Somehow, some way, the Cardinals were able to come away from that game victorious. Palmer redeemed himself late in the fourth quarter, hooking up with wide receiver Michael Floyd on a 31-yard scoring strike, giving Arizona a 17-10 win, keeping their playoff hopes intact.

Head coach Bruce Arians pointed to that game in particular as the one that set the team’s belief system in motion.

“To go up there and do it, we had been so close a number of times, especially in our division last year, in San Francisco especially,” Arians said. “The belief system that everything we’re doing is working solidified itself up there last year.”

Arians learned a lot about his team that Sunday afternoon and how they were able to battle through all the adversity and still come out victorious in a place no one had won in in almost two years.

“You don’t have to play perfectly,” Arians said. “You don’t have to go there and play perfect. We obviously were not perfect. We turned two over inside the 20. But if you play hard for 60 minutes, you’ll have a chance.”

Safety Rashad Johnson didn’t participate in the game. He suffered a high ankle sprain against the Tennessee Titans the week prior, so he was out. Even though Johnson didn’t play, the enormity of that win didn’t escape him.

“I think it was really huge, I think it was a big confidence boost for us all,” Johnson said. “We all believed that we could do it, but it’s a difference when you believe and you actually go up and do it.”

“We could’ve believed all we wanted to, and if we would’ve went up and lost, then it could’ve changed our mindsets,” Johnson said. “It only rolled over into this season [and] the beginning of this year and I’m excited about going back up there and possibly getting another win as well.”

With Seattle winning 14 straight at CenturyLink Field coming into that game, there weren’t many experts out there giving the Cardinals a shot of snapping that streak. Arizona was nine point underdogs heading into the contest, which was absolutely fine with them.

“A lot of people didn’t believe you could go into Seattle, that you could stop the run and you could turn the ball over four times and still get a victory,” Johnson said. “We didn’t give them [any] excuses throughout that entire game, we just continued to fight and we continued to keep our heads down because we went in there with a goal in mind.”

“It’s not gonna be any different this week, we know we can go in and get a victory, we believe we can go in and get a victory, but at the end of the day it’s gonna come down to how we practice this week,” Johnson said.

The Cardinals are used to playing in front of energetic fans at University of Phoenix Stadium, but it’s a whole different beast those Seahawks fans are at CenturyLink Field.

Cornerback Jerraud Powers believes the Cardinals will have to match the Seahawks’ intensity and their fans’ intensity on Sunday, as they face Seattle for the first time in 2014.

“We know it’s going to be an intense environment, we know what type of fans they have and the joy and excitement they bring to the game,” Powers said. “We definitely have to come out fast and match their intensity.”

Along with the matching of intensities, Arians sees the key to victory as coming down to proper tackling, especially against a Mack truck in Marshawn Lynch coming out of Seattle’s backfield.

“Oh, there’s no doubt, Marshawn [Lynch] is rolling, and you have to tackle him, and it’s not just one guy,” Arians said. “You have to get a lot of hats on him, and Russell [Wilson], you cannot let him out because he’s going to hurt you with his legs.”

“It’s a dual threat back there, and their receivers are really good running after the catch,” Arians said. “That’s why I say tackling is going to be the biggest part of the game for us.”

“There are no excuses,” Arians said. “Go up there and play as hard and fast as we can, and play good fundamentally.”

 

 

 

 

 

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