Turnovers and a trip to Seattle

Posted by Darren Urban on November 9, 2015 – 9:30 am

It’s Seattle week. More specifically, at Seattle week, a game the Cardinals have been anxious to play for a long time now that Carson Palmer is healthy. It’s interesting that the Cardinals are coming off that four-turnover game in Cleveland, a game in which they won — because the last time they had turned the ball over four times in a road game, they had also won. That game was the 17-10 stunner in Seattle near the end of the 2013 season, the one in which Palmer threw four interceptions yet found Michael Floyd for a touchdown pass late in the game for the clinching points.

The Cardinals are now 2-1 in four-turnover road games under Bruce Arians. The one loss was a 32-20 defeat in San Francisco in 2013, a game that is remembered for a crucial Larry Fitzgerald fumble with the Cards driving for a go-ahead score — but what might be better remembered for the 18-play, smashmouth TD drive of the 49ers that took up 9:32 and 11 of the plays (including the final eight) were runs up the gut.

The point is that there are always ways to overcome even messy turnover days. The three-turnover games that led to the Cards’ two losses this season weren’t based on the turnovers alone — in both cases, the Cardinals still had chances to win the game late.

But turnovers make the job so much harder. The Cardinals have 14 turnovers total in eight games and 10 turnovers in the aformentioned three games — the win in Cleveland, the losses to the Rams and Steelers. Other than the Packers and Bengals, the Cardinals (while facing a much harder schedule) don’t see a lot of great offenses. None that match up to what the Cards can bring on that side of the ball. But turning it over can change those odds quickly.



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36 Responses to “Turnovers and a trip to Seattle”

  1. By Marcelof on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    If you be conservative, there’ll be no payback, that’s for sure.
    Being gutsy and taking shots on big plays on the the other hand are all full of both risks and rewards.

    What would be of a roller coaster or going rafting if it wasn’t the thrilling?

    And that’s what make the Cardinals an amazing team this year (paired up with a strong and talented personel), they pump the adrenaline up. It may turn out to be a fumble or an intecerption once in a while, but what’s the ratio with touchdown and big yardages?!

    The payback is there on the W column so far and hopefully will be higher when February comes.

  2. By j on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    HUGE week! Huge Game in Seattle!! It all starts here BIG Red!! No mercy no quarter from here on out!! Lets GO Cardinals!!

  3. By DTK on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Keen point re the Offenses we’ll face last 8 games, Urb. 3 division rivals, all below average, Vikings ok, Eagles ok, Bengals, Packers very good…notable, both of the really good Offenses have to play us in the Desert, big plus for Cards.

    Also, noticed Rams dirty hit on Vikes QB knocking him out. Guys on nfl network commented on Vikes HC refusal to shake hands with Fisher, and Fisher laughing on sidelines after it happened, not knowing if connected, but that hit was shoulder into head of QB who had slid and was already down, head hunting at its best = more proof Rams are dirty…

  4. By Catfish on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Focus, Focus, and Focus. The numbers will work out in our favor. How does 12-4 sound? Home field advantage throughout the NFC and a trip to Cal for a Super Bowl win.

  5. By joe 67 on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    I still remember 58-0. NEVER FORGET cards!!!! I know a lot of our guys are different now, but not all. And their a-hole coach is still the same!
    Get’em Cards!!!

  6. By Mike G on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! Monster game in Seattle this week. Card’s have a great opportunity to put Seattle in a deep hole to start the 2nd half of the season.
    Glad Okafor is returning–should boost the pass rush. I remember their last win in Seattle 17-10 overcoming the 4 turnovers– Cards D played great that day–it seemed Seattle started every drive around mid-field and the Cards rose up and stopped them each time. You make a great point in the blog above on turnovers and how important they are. I believe teams that are like +1 in the turnover battle win like 76% of the games each Sunday. I believe when you have more then 2 turnovers in a game it becomes very hard to put up a victory. I think the Card’s have a good team but are still trying to find their identity and need to play more physical(which they are improving) if they want to go where they want to go(deep playoff run). Darren–I think both Keim and Arians have done a really good job working together and developing this team—-At this point– do you think both are happy about the physical toughness of their team????

  7. By Darren Urban on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Physical

    Yes, I think they have shown they can hold up physically. It’s the mental lapses that have hurt.

  8. By Sally on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    I noticed the standings this morning 11-9-15 and I can’t understand why don’t the Cardinals have the second seed in the NFC? We have the same record as Minnesota, what differentiates us from the Vikings and the Packers?

  9. By Darren Urban on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Sally —

    RE: Tiebreak

    I’d have to look up why that is right now (not sure which tiebreak) but it is a moot point because the Cardinals will play both the Vikings and Packers and those head-to-head matchups will ultimately determine who is where. Current seedings mean nothing.

  10. By shane on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    as a die hard cards fan that has alot of faith in the cards i really don’t expect the cards to win this game tbh.. i understand the hype with palmer back healthy & the fact the the cards won the last time he was healthy in seattle.. but i just don’t like it.. the seahawks match up too good with the cards especially in seattle.. & they already lost once this year at home so i just don’t like the situation on prime time were seattle always seem to play really good .. i know im going to get alot of thumbs downs but im just saying what ive seen .. even tho you can argue the hawks are not the same this year but this team has been to the super bowl the last too years & have proven to no how to win big games..

  11. By shane on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    i also think this game will come down too the cards D .. not the O i have a feeling they will not be able to stop russel wilson from making tho’s crazy plays that make you throw your remote at your tv because its 3rd & 15 & he escapes a sack and throws to a wide open WR or TE. .. the cards can not let that happen as hard as it is & also have to not get worn down by marshawn late in the game if its close ..

  12. By DTL, aka DTK typo on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    joe -67:

    i remember 58-0 too, fortunately the 17-10 wins since will be fresher in Cards’ minds…

    … although Seattle defending div champs, truth is, we’re a better team now…so we can reasonably expect Cards to win…and i expect us to win in St. L for same reason…

  13. By red2616 on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Shane, if the refs call in the grass or forward progress on Wilson and Lynch correctly as well as intentional grounding. Wilson and Lunch would not be able to do what they do. I still don’t understand how Seattle is the only team that their O-line pushes Lynch another 10 yards (which is illegal) and the let it go. Also don’t know how Wilson is stopped and tackled by the ankles yet the ref gives him enough time to spin and spin until free to throw the ball away or to a receiver for a 1st some how? No other QB is allowed to do that. Seattle has an angel on their shoulder for some reason. The Lions should have beat them by rule yet no call for punching out the back of the endzone. Also not sure how the first half of the Cowboys ended? 13 men on the field and the refs not only don’t flag them but call a time out to tell Seattle they can not call a time out? Cowboys lose by 1. That field goal is a TD (which a 1st and 5 at the 5 could very well have happened) and they Seattle loses. Seattle is a 2-6 team at this ooint.
    That crap doesn’t happen and Cards win.

  14. By Richard S on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Just read Stl today Saint Louis Post Dispatch online edition. It was interesting reading the comments from the Rams own fans, about the hit to Bridgewater. Comments like after watching the Rams play with a defensive coordinator who was suspended for Bountygate (they feel so dirty) they need to take a shower. I’m not sure what game they showed in Phoenix as I watched the Ram game up in the SF area on Directv. I also watched some of the Niner’s upset of the Falcons. Their defense looked good confusing the Falcons, while their new QB and the tight end meshed for two TDs. Gabbert didn’t have all that luck throwing to the WR’s, although Boldin didn’t play due to injury. Their main Running back also sat out.

  15. By Richard S on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    One of the fans even noted that when the Ram QB got taken out at his knees, and I remember the hit, that the refs didn’t call anything as he called it Karma following the hit on Bridgewater. I was thinking that should draw a flag, but there wasn’t one. I think the refs decided if you take out the Viking QB, we should ignore that hit.

  16. By Crow on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Ya the refs were awefullllllllllllllllllllll last time we were in seatle

  17. By Scott H on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    Great blog here. So, the similarities are that we were on the road for both games, we committed 4 T/O’s in both, and we won both games. Got that. But here’s one more – both games were made SOOO much harder than they needed to be because of the T/O’s! Honestly, that game in Seattle in 2013 should have not been close at all. The Cardinals should have / could have had won that game by double digits. Our defense played Russell Wilson better than anyone ever has that day. The Seahawks couldn’t run. And they couldn’t pass. Their offense couldn’t do anything that day. Heck, if keep, say, TWO of those T/O’s and convert them into scores ( at least one of those being a TD ), we are on our way to a blow-out!

    Instead….we give it up FOUR times, and we end up trailing them late in the game. It never should have been.

    But here’s the obvious difference between the game in 2013 and the game last week – it was the Browns, and we knew from the start of the game we could move the ball / score at will against them. And we did. Even with the T/O’s, we over-powered the Browns. THEY couldn’t stop us. We limited ourselves with our own mistakes. That does NOT happen against the Seahawks. Points are always at a premium. We could have out-played Seattle in 2013 ( as we DID ) and still lost that game 10-9.

    We could very well find ourselves in a similar scenario Sunday night if we don’t protect the ball. As is / has been the case against Seattle in the Russell Wilson era, we have to keep their defense on the field. Period. Our offense needs to sustain drives and keep the ball away from Wilson. In baseball terms, I think the way to say it is that we need to play “small ball.” More so than we typically do. I love our ability to make the big plays and we are well-suited to make them. But I believe Sunday is not the time to attempt as many of them as we normally do. IMHO, the way to beat Seattle is to not score quickly and put their offense back on the field. We play more small ball and make a big time-of-possession advantage a priority. Which, BTW, I believe we did in that game in 2013.

    Russell Wilson has absolutely tortured the Cardinals with his big plays where he runs around for insanely long periods of time, buying time with his legs, and ALWAYS finding a ridiculously wide open WR or TE 30 yards down the field. That is how you wear your defense out and set them up to pound away at you with Lynch in the 2nd half. We’ve seen this often enough to know it’s what they do. Therefore, the best defense against it is to keep their offense OFF THE FIELD!

  18. By drummer-1 on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    @ Shane the Cards would be a 3rd seed if the season was to end today by virtue of records.. Panthers 8-0, Packers 7-1, Cardinals 6-2..

  19. By Darren Urban on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    drummer —

    RE: Records

    The Packers are 6-2, not 7-1.

  20. By Richard S on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    The Cards dropped to number 4 in the rating system as Cincy passed them. Carolina climbed from #10 to #8. After week 9, the team that advanced the most in the ratings from the beginning of the season is Cincy up 10 spots, followed by Carolina and Az up 9 spots. On the other side of the coin, Detroit dropped 12 spots and Miami dropped 10, while Dallas, Indy, NO, and Balt dropped 8 spots.
    RANK TEAM* RATING Win margin on neutral field Homefield 3 point advantage
    1 NE(5) 102.48 11.17 8.17
    2 DENVER(4) 97.77 3.23 6.23
    3 CINCY(14) 97.6 10.41 13.41
    4 ARIZ.(13) 97.46 1.07 -1.93
    5 SEATTLE(2) 96.39 -1.07 1.93
    6 GBAY(1) 96.26 13.43 16.43
    7 PHIL(7) 95.81 6.99 9.99
    8 CAROLINA(17) 94.72 11.35 8.35
    9 KC(10) 94.54 -3.23 -6.23
    10 PITT(9) 93.45 10.21 13.21
    11 INDY(3) 92.48
    12 BUFF(15) 91.43 1.57 -1.43
    13 GIANTS(19) 91.31 -11.17 -8.17
    14 DALLAS(6) 90.79 8.08 5.08
    15 RAMS(22) 90.71 5.92 8.92
    16 BALT(8) 90.67 8.01 11.01
    17 MINN(23) 90.27 2.8 -0.2
    18 JETS(24) 89.86 -1.57 1.43
    19 ATL(21) 89.46
    20 NO(12) 89.24 3.97 0.97
    21 MIA(11) 88.82 -6.99 -9.99
    22 OAK(32) 87.47 -2.8 0.2
    23 HOUSTON(16) 87.19 -10.41 -13.41
    24 SD(20) 85.78
    25 WASH(28) 85.27 -3.97 -0.97
    26 CHICAGO(26) 84.79 -5.92 -8.92
    27 TENNESEE(31) 83.37 -11.35 -8.35
    28 CLEVELAND(27) 83.24 -10.21 -13.21
    29 SANFRAN(25) 83.04
    30 DETROIT(18) 82.83 -13.43 -16.43
    31 TAMPA(29) 82.71 -8.08 -5.08
    32 JAX(30) 82.66 -8.01 -11.01
    Week 10 byes Atl, Indy, SD, SF 14 games in Week 10
    8/13 correct picks in week 9.
    After week 8, 90/132 68.18%
    Initial ESPN power rank in parenthesis after team name.

  21. By AZ Cardinals OP on Nov 9, 2015 | Reply

    This game is so important to the Cardinals, it’s good that the Rams lost to VIkings last week. If Cardinals lost this game at Seattle, that means that the Cardinals is 6-3, and Seattle is 5-4, one game away from the leader in NFC division. Hopefully nothing bad would happen, lets beat the Seachickens 47-7. GO Cardinals!!!!!!!!!!!>_<

  22. By cards62 on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    We contain Seattle’s running game including Wilson and not turn the ball over I really like our chances. Hope to see Floyd have a game like last game, and us using our RBs and TEs against Seattle’s secondary. Time for us to use all of our weapons against an excellent defense. Massie worries me against Seattle’s speed rushers. We have to give him help as he can not handle it one on one.

    Believe based upon current records and remaining schedule that the Super Bowl will go through Charlotte this year. Of course we want to be at home, but would much rather play in Charlotte than Green Bay in January.

    Do not like when we play the Rams. I always worry about Carson. Like others I think they play dirty ball now, and they do not need to as they have a lot of talent on defense. NFL seems to be toothless now. You would think with Williams as their defensive coordinator that league would have a nice little chat with them.

    I think we need to contact the police and FBI and report D. Washington as a missing child. Believe they should start their search in Colorado. Unbelievable how you can just disappear from your teammates and even more so when your teammates can make a Super Bowl run and you could be there with them. Just unbelievable.

    Cardinals 27 Seattle 16 Go Cards!

  23. By dynosoar on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, anyone,

    is there a list anywhere of how many QBs have been injured in a game against the Rams vs. other teams.

    There is a perception that the Rams injure more QBs than any other team and I’m curious what the data shows. And I fall victim to this as well, I have the impression along with most that the Rams injure, on average, one QB per week.

    I also know Roethlisberger has been injured twice this season and I don’t think either was to the Rams. Or was the first one to them? I do not remember.

    That might be the “important number” for the Around the NFC West article for the Rams, how many QBs have been injured this season playing against the Rams OR the differential of QBs injured during their games vs other teams.

    It would be interesting to note if any other team(s) have injured opponents QBs the same or more than the Rams.

    I also do not see Palmer’s injury as a result of a “dirty” hit, it was non-contact. Stanton’s injury???

    After all, this is football and a full contact sport.

  24. By Darren Urban on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    Dyno —

    RE: Injuries

    I’d have to look. But yes, Big Ben’s first injury was against the Rams. Palmer’s injury was most certainly not dirty because it was non-contact.

  25. By erik on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Any word on the punters the Cards have been trying out? Butler is the worst I have ever seen.

  26. By Darren Urban on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    Erik —

    RE: Moves

    I do not expect any transactions this week.

  27. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    Yes, turnovers can occasionally be overcome.

    But the stats are heavily against you. A +3 or more turnover margin in a game means you win more than 90% of the time. So it’s not surprising we lost to the Rams and Steelers despite otherwise outplaying both teams. It’s a rarity to overcome such a margin.

    And yet both games were within our grasp despite the turnovers. This team is sooooo close to being one of four 8-0 teams instead of 6-2. The division race would be all but over with a 4-game lead.

    Instead, we face the tough half of our schedule and many doubters think the Cards will not only not with the division, but not make the playoffs.

    Should be a fun ride. Seattle is sitting there thinking, they still control their own destiny, with two games against us. We need to put them away this week so that we don’t have to worry about beating them the last week of the season.

  28. By D on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    College players and kids being used for political purposes..

  29. By LJ Horner on Nov 10, 2015 | Reply

    Go Cardinals…

    Not to make excuses, but the 58-0 blowout was on the heals of the Cardinals DC Horton’s splitting the Defense in the locker room the week before.

    First lost in 2013, offense was still a bit new. The win in late December, with four turnovers, showed the ability of an Arian’s team to rise up against adversity, and Seattle is not all that, for which they get the hype.

    2014, well, injuries on both sides took its toll.

    I think this Cardinals 2015 team’s two losses came when the Defense failed to rise up in an adverse situation. They seemed to have solved that in the last two games.

    This Sunday’s game, if the Cardinals jump out with a 10-14 point lead, will change what Seattle can do. We could easily win the turn-over battle in that scenario.

    With Palmer, and assuming the team can continue to face adversity, we should be able to win a -4 turnover game in Seattle again. Seattle does not have a high power offense to come from behind. If the Cardinals put them on their heals at any point (less Ed Hochuli’s present on the field), The Cardinals should be victorious.

  30. By Big Ken on Nov 11, 2015 | Reply

    No better place to come away with a win.

  31. By mitchaz on Nov 11, 2015 | Reply

    It will be interesting to see whether DC James Bettcher can solve what Todd Bowles was unable to versus Seattle last year, as Russell Wilson always knew exactly when he could throw up the seam to the TE and when he could run his read option with Marshawn Lynch to the weak side for chunk yards versusf the Cardinals’ defense.

    Wilson’s success on those two plays absolutely demoralized the Cardinals’ defense. When a team can run their bread and butter plays so effectively—that is tough to overcome.

    As for the TE seam pass—Wilson will audible into it if the defense doesn’t cover up the TE with a SS or OLB—thus when Wilson sees that the closest cover man to the TE is the ILB, Wilson knows the seam pass is wide open because Luke Wilson and/or Jimmy Graham is too fast up the chute for the ILB at such a poor angle to defend.

    So what can Bettcher do?

    For one, he can have the OLB and SS set the edge on the TE by jamming him at the line of scrimmage. This serves a dual purpose because of having added defenders in the box to stop the run. But where this leaves the defense vulnerable is in playing contain—which Wilson will try to exploit with his feet or his skill players’ on sweeps, bootlegs, waggles and reverses to Lockett or Baldwin.

    Seeing as the Cardinals will want to do everything they can to funnel every play into the box, it will behoove the OLBers to play contain—but occasionally to throw a different look at Wilson they can have the OLB jam the TE and stay with him if he releases and flip the SS foutside to contain.

    Butcher can disguise coverage and blitz a CB for contain—while the FS picks up the coverage on the vacated WR.

    The other wrinkle Bettcher can throw at Wilson is to bait Wilson into thinking the seam pass will be wide open, by not having a man over the TE—and then jump the route with the FS. Now—if Wilson sees that the Cardinals are committing the FS, if he has time in the pocket he can exploit the deep middle or sideline.

    As for the read option—Bettcher has to stress assignment discipline—the OLB must never bite inside and must keep on Wilson’s outside shoulder and make the tackle or at least funnel him into the inside pursuit. The ILB to the play side has to play Lynch—and commit to Lynch, but the other ILB can chase horizontally and be there to punish Wilson is the OLB has done his job of keeping contain. The FS has to run the alley and get to Wilson asap, if the OLB and ILB miss.

    Matchups are going to be a key—based on how ell Justin Bethel covered TE Gary Barnidge in Cleveland—Bethel might be the best matchup against Jimmy Graham. Powers on Lockett, their best slot speed threat. Peterson on Baldwin. Mathieu on Kearse. Jefferson on Luke Wilson. Minter on Lynch. Bucannon on Russell Wilson as much as the defense will allow.

    Bethel is such a good tackler—he could be a very important player in this game—not just in helping to cover Graham or Kearse, but in tackling Russell Wilson in the open field if and when Wilson escapes the pocket.

    Blitzing Bethel could be huge in this game.

    On the pass rush, the edge rushers must keep contain and the inside rusher MUST stay in their rushing lanes—which is how Todd Bowles managed to stifle Wilson when the Cardinals last beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

    The real key is for the front seven to exploit the Seahawks’ young o-line—which is one of the reasons why BA has been riding Calais Campbell like he’s Red Pollard straddling Seabisquit. War Admiral is a tough champion to beat—but with the right jockey on the right horse—with the right patience, discipline and chemistry—a once, long-shot underdog can make quite a stunning run for the roses.

  32. By Cardinalsfan21 on Nov 11, 2015 | Reply

    This weeks matchup is huge. I found this interesting link that some of you guys might like that shows Palmer’s success in the passing game with intermediate throws. it also explains that the Seahawks are likely to be vulnerable against it. I think that’s important considering the hawks just had their bye week as well and will be looking to come back more dominant like the Cardinals will be. It also has so much to do with slowing the pass rush. I believe that they can come out with a win this week if they play solid defense and limit the turnovers. (here is the link if anyone is interested: ( )

  33. By Scott H on Nov 11, 2015 | Reply

    Mitchaz –

    Blitzing Wilson can be a little like blitzing Warner. If you get there, it can be very effective. If you don’t….you stand to be torched. Wilson tends to do his torching in a different manner, but when you’re on the receiving end…what’s the difference?

    Wilson can / does ( and in the case of the Cardinals, HAS ) kill you tucking it down and running. He does it in every game I’ve seen him play. The concept of staying in your rush lanes up the field SOUNDS so simple. But it must not BE that simple because he always seems to find an opening and once he does, forget it. Keeping a wall in front of him is critical. But it is not easily done.

    The blitz is a double-edge sword with Wilson. AND with Lynch, the Seahawks can burn you against the blitz that way as well.

    Honestly? I think the way to defend the Seahawks is to first, stop the run. Then, make Wilson try to beat you by playing QB from the pocket. In other words, ease up on blitzing him. Because he is less effective that way than when he has to make plays on the run. He is a tremendous QB. He is not a great pocket passer, nor are the Seahawks built to be that kind of team.

    Wilson is lethal when he moves out of the pocket. So? Keep him IN the pocket. Don’t play to THEIR strengths. Play to what compromises them.

  34. By krehbieo14 on Nov 11, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H-
    I agree that the Cards need to be selective and careful about blitz packages. If we blitz, we better disguise it and get there! We must play smart defense by minimizing the Seattle run game and keeping Wilson boxed in the pocket by maintaining lane integrity. Wilson can’t beat us as a pocket passer. We can’t let him throw on the run. With Seattle’s porous OLine, let’s just keep pressure up the middle and protect the edges.

  35. By Scott H on Nov 12, 2015 | Reply

    kreihbieo14 –

    Very well said! Pressure up the middle and protect the edges. Keep him behind the line of scrimmage!

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