Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald was the best player on the field today, and he just took over the game in overtime.
Fitzgerald had two catches for 38 yards in the final drive, including a diving, one-handed catch over the middle that put the Cardinals in field goal range at Seattle’s 24-yard line.
Three plays later, Arizona kicker Jay Feely split the uprights on a 28-yard field goal to give the Cardinals their first victory over the Seahawks in four games.
Fitzgerald finished with nine catches for 149 yards, including a long of 41 yards. Second-year quarterback John Skelton targeted him 18 times.
“He’s just an incredible football player, and he’s as good as you can get in this game,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said about Fitzgerald. “I just marvel at the things that he does. And he’s done it before, and he did it again.”
Once again, Seattle’s offense struggled to execute in critical moments of the game. The Seahawks finished 3 of 16 (19 percent) on third downs, and 0 of 4 in the red zone.
Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson bears the brunt of that poor effort. Jackson finished 21 of 35 for 222 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also threw a pass in the red zone that should have been picked off by Arizona linebacker Daryl Washington.
Jackson didn’t get a lot of help from his young receivers, who dropped balls that would have resulted in first downs.
But overall, he needs to play better for this team to have a chance to make the playoffs next season.
“We just have to execute,” Jackson said. “Regardless of whatever the coach calls, we got to be able to put the bal in the end zone. … Touchdown or check down is our motto as far as getting into the red zone, but we've got to do a better job of scoring touchdowns.”
Even though the Seahawks finished with their fourth straight losing season at 7-9, and an identical record as last season, Carroll feels much better about where this team is at compared to last year’s playoff team.
“Without question we’re different,” Carroll said. “We’re way different than we were last time. We had a couple games in the end of the year that got us a lot of excitement, and a lot of fun. And we’re proud of all that.
“But the way we’re playing right now, and the margins that we’re dealing with right now are so much closer, and we’re so much more effective. And I mean double-digit losses last year were silly and embarrassing, and that’s not the kind of team we are. When we get beat, we’re getting beat close, and we’re right in it with a chance to win – with opportunities on both sides of the football to finish games in four, five or six games this year.
“You don’t think of it that way, but if that turns, and we were more effective at the end – stopping them that last time on defense or making the drive that wins the football game – this season is a really good football season, and we would have done really well.”
Draft order: Props to Danny O’Neil of the Seattle times for figuring this out. The Seattle Seahawks will select No. 11 or No. 12 in the upcoming draft, based on a coin flip with the Kansas City Chiefs, who also finished at 7-9. The two teams finished with the same opponent’s winning percentage of .512, which is used as a tiebreaker in slotting teams for the draft. 2012 Season opponents: With the completion of the regular season, Seattle’s schedule is set for 2012. Along with playing NFC West divisional games at home and on the road against Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis, the Seahawks will travel to Detroit, Chicago, Miami, Buffalo and Carolina. The Seahawks will host Minnesota, Green Bay, the New York Jets, New England and
Philadelphia Dallas. Lockette takes off, Part 2: Rookie Ricardo Lockette made another big play in his second straight game. His 61-yard, one-handed grab against Arizona cornerback Marshay Green was just as spectacular, tying the game at 20-all, and would have went down as the turning point of the game if Seattle had managed to get into field goal range in the final two drives of regulation.
Lockette, who had a 44-yard reception against San Francisco last week, said his play the last two games has given him confidence he can be a regular contributor in his second season.
Lockette is averaging 52.5 yards a catch, which may be tough to live up to next season.
“I plan on blowing that out of the water,” Lockette said of his performance that last, two weeks. “I have high expectations. I think I have greatness in the future.”