Kevin Kolb threw the go-ahead touchdown pass to Andre Roberts late in the fourth quarter as the Arizona Cardinals rallied for a 20-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener for both teams at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Kolb, taking over for an injured John Skelton mid-drive, went 6-for-8 for 66 yards and a score on the game-winning march.
Skelton, who beat Kolb out for the starting job in the preseason, threw for 149 yards and an interception on 14-of-28 passing before leaving the game due to a right ankle injury.
Roberts caught five passes for 54 yards and carried the ball once for 15 yards, while LaRod Stephens-Howling rushed for a touchdown for the Cardinals (1-0), who finished 8-8 in 2011.
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who was named the starter over Matt Flynn, threw for 153 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 18-of-34 passing.
"I played alright. I definitely feel I that can improve and get better in some areas," Wilson said about his debut. "That's the focus now, to just move on, learn, study the film and see where we can all get better."
Marshawn Lynch got the start after being limited in practice all week because of back spasms and ran for 85 yards on 21 carries, while Sidney Rice caught four passes for 36 yards and a score for Seattle, which finished 7-9 last season.
Trailing, 16-13, Arizona began the decisive drive at its own 20 with Skelton at the controls. On 2nd-and-15 from the 15, Skelton dropped back and completed a short pass to Roberts for 17 yards, but left the game after the play.
With Kolb under center for the remainder of the drive, he led the team down to the Seattle six before finding Roberts in the end zone for the score.
The Seahawks began their final possession on the 20 and efficiently moved the ball down the field. Facing a 3rd-and-5 from the Cardinals 26, Wilson was sacked, bringing up a 4th down situation.
On 4th-and-6 Wilson lofted a pass down the right sideline for Rice. The ball fell incomplete, but Patrick Peterson was flagged for pass interference, which set the Seahawks up with a fresh set of downs at the 13.
Wilson threw incomplete for Braylon Edwards on 3rd-and-13, but William Gay was called for another pass interference and Seattle was given yet another new set of downs.
However, Wilson threw incomplete intended for Edwards on 4th-and-4, sealing the victory for Arizona.
"If it came down to your team having to win a game, obviously you would want to have the ball in your hands the last time. That's the mentality everybody has, but if our defense is going to be out there, you have confidence they are going to get the job done," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
The Seahawks began their second possession of the game with excellent field position at the Arizona 42 following a fumble recovery by Brandon Mebane.
Faced with the short field, Wilson hit Rice for 11 yards on the first play of the drive down to the 31. Lynch then went off left tackle on 2nd-and-6 for 10 yards to the Cards' 17. The drive stalled at the nine and Steven Hauschka was good from 27 yards out to give Seattle the lead.
Arizona responded with a lengthy 13-play, 75-yard drive which culminated in a 21-yard field goal from Jay Feely to even the game at three,
Arizona started its next possession at its own 42 and Skelton connected with Early Doucet for 18 yards down the right sideline to move into Seattle territory at the 39.
Staring at a 3rd-and-9 on the Seattle 17, Kam Chancellor was flagged for a 15- yard face mask penalty, which moved the ball to the 2 and Stephens-Howling pounded it across the goal line for a 1-yard TD push, putting the Cardinals ahead 10-3 with 5:58 left in the second quarter.
Early in the third quarter, the Cardinals defense came up with a huge play deep in opposition territory.
With a first down at the Seattle 25, Wilson threw an incompletion intended for Lynch. Arizona challenged the play and it was overturned, resulting in a fumble recovery for Paris Lenon at the 18.
From there, the drive stalled and Feely connected on a 31-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 10-point lead.
The Seahawks responded on their next touch with a quick five-play, 24-yard scoring drive, capped by a 10-yard strike from Wilson to Rice to make it 13-10.
Richard Sherman picked off Skelton on the Cards next drive and Hauschka hit a 47-yard field goal to tie the game at 13 with 5:19 on the third quarter clock.
Hauschka was good again from 39 yards out with 9:25 to go in the fourth quarter, giving the Seahawks a 16-13 advantage.