Photo: AZCentral Sports
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals season opener ended just as everyone predicted, with Kevin Kolb taking a knee in victory formation.
“Let’s talk about how poetic that was,” safety Adrian Wilson said.
Arizona struggled in the second half under John Skelton, failing to pick up a first down in six straight drives. Skelton left the game on a cart with a right ankle injury after completing a 17-yard pass to Andre Roberts.
Kolb enter the game, to a chorus of boos, down 16-13 with 8:33 remaining. Eight plays later, the Cardinals scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Kolb to Roberts.
“It was pretty special, I’m not going to lie,” Kolb said. “Unfortunately it fell at the hands of John getting hurt, but the situation arose and we were lucky enough to get a score there and get the win.”
Kolb was 6-for-8 for 66 yard in his lone drive of the afternoon. Skelton, who’s status will be determined on Monday, finished 14-for-28 for 149 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The winning touchdown was almost prevented by head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
“I was trying to call timeout just because I wante to make sure with the call,” Whisenhunt said. “Just one of those days I guess I was lucky.”
The Cardinals were not out of the woods just yet. Arizona left 4:59 on the clock, leaving the Seahawks with a chance to win the game.
Rookie Russell Wilson drove Seattle inside the redzone, with the help of some questionable decisions by the replacement officials.
Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin suffered an injury with 42 seconds remaining. By rule, the Seahawks should have been charged their third and final timeout. 12 seconds later, Pete Carroll was granted a timeout, which lead to confusion.
“I will ask for clarification from the league about that rule,” said Whisenhunt. “I thought it says in the last two minutes of a half, if a player is injured and you have a timeout they would take that away.”
Instead, Seattle was given new life and was able to take three more shots at the endzone. Wilson was incomplete on all three attempts, which allowed Arizona to take over and kneel the ball.
Referee Bruce Hermansen admitted he made a mistake after the game.
“We gave Seattle the additional timeout because of the incomplete pass stopping the clock before the injury occurred,” Hermansen said. “The clock has no bearing on the play at all. We should not have given them the additional timeout.”
The defense, which was a strength of the Cardinals in 2011, kept Arizona in the game.
“They got the job done,” Whisenhunt said. “When we didn’t do very much in the third quarter, our defense was really mentally strong and stayed in there and played well.”
Arizona did well containing Wilson, hold the rookie to 18-of-34 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Paris Lenon was the breakout star defensively with nine combined tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 13 yards. Overall, Arizona got to Wilson three times on the day.
The Cardinals will enjoy their home opener for now, but face a tough task traveling to New England next week. Bob Kemp and I recap the football weekend in Arizona with another video blog. Tune into The SportsZone on Monday morning for more locker sound from the Cardinals, ASU and the UofA at 10 AM on The Fan AM 1060.