Seahawks come up just short in 20-16 loss to Cards

Seahawks come up just short in 20-16 loss to Cards
Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton (19) is pressured by Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright during the second half of Sunday's game.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The Seattle Seahawks got two extra chances on pass interference calls, and threw one pass after another into the end zone in the closing seconds.

They just couldn't take advantage.

Running 13 plays on Arizona's end of the field in the final two minutes, the Seahawks came up just short when quarterback Russell Wilson threw three straight incomplete passes, leading to a 20-16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

"Hopefully, we will grow and find that way to make that last catch, throw, make that last throw, make that last block, stop," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "It is a very difficult game to go home with a loss because we had a chance to win this football game."

Wilson, a third-round draft pick, had a decent game after beating out Matt Flynn in the preseason, hitting 18 of 34 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown in his debut. He had one interception.

Marshawn Lynch, questionable for the game due to a sore back, had 85 hard-fought yards on 21 carries.

And, after laboring through the first half, the Seahawks shut down Arizona's offense in the second while scoring 13 straight points to go up 16-13 on Steven Hauschka's 39-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

They just couldn't finish it off.

Kevin Kolb hit 6 of 8 passes for 68 yards after starter John Skelton had to be carted off with a right ankle injury, capping the drive by hitting Andre Roberts on a 6-yard touchdown to put the Cardinals up 20-16 with just under 5 minutes left.

The Seahawks had plenty of chances after that and were awarded an extra timeout due to confusion by the replacement officials, but failed to score on four plays inside Arizona's 6-yard line for a tough-to-take loss.

"I felt great about the opportunities we had," Wilson said. "We put ourselves in a good position. We just fell short. That is going to happen a few times."

Skelton won a tight battle as Arizona's starting quarterback despite the team signing Kolb to a five-year, $63 million contract extension, with $21 million of that guaranteed.

He earned the job in part because of his pocket presence was steady in the opener until an off-balance throw was intercepted by Seattle's Richard Sherman at the Cardinals' 34-yard line in the third quarter. Hauschka followed with a 47-yard field goal that tied the game at 13-all.

Skelton labored after that and was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter, crumpling to the ground after two Seattle players collided into him. He was carted off the field and replaced by Kolb, who completed six straight passes, the final one to Roberts, who stretched the ball over the left pylon to put Arizona up four.

Skelton threw for 149 yards on 14-of-28 passing.

"I don't think there was ever any lack of confidence in our locker room with either one of our quarterbacks," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "They were very disappointed for John when he was injured, you could see that on the field, but they're very excited for Kevin. You could see that. They're both good guys, they've handled it very professional and worked very hard, and you see it reflected in our team."

The Seahawks still had a chance after Kolb came to the rescue.

Wilson completed his first four passes before Seattle had a fourth-and-6 at the Cardinals 27. Patrick Peterson was called for pass interference against Sidney Rice to keep the Seahawks alive at the Arizona 13.

Another pass interference penalty, against William Gay, moved it to the 6. Lynch carried to the 4 and Carroll called timeout. But two plays earlier, the replacement officials had announced the Seahawks used their final timeout.

Considerable discussion followed field before referee Bruce Hermansen announced that the previous timeout should not have counted against Seattle because it was for an injury and came after an incomplete pass.

Under NFL rules, a team must be charged for a timeout if a player is injured with under two minutes left, regardless of whether the clock is running or not. The mistake didn't have an impact on the game because the Seahawks failed to score on their final three plays after the call.

"It was my error," Hermansen said in a statement. "We gave them (Seattle) the additional timeout because of the incomplete pass stopping the clock before the injury occurred. When in effect, the clock has no bearing on the play at all, whether it's stopped or running, we should not have given them the additional timeout."

Leon Washington had two of the biggest plays in what was mostly a penalty-laced defensive struggle, returning a kickoff 83 yards and a punt 52 yards to set up 10 points for Seattle.

One of Arizona's biggest plays came in the third quarter, when Russell tossed the ball to Lynch, who was hit hard by linebacker Sam Acho and lost the ball. Initially ruled an incomplete pass, the officials changed it to a fumble - recovered by Arizona's Paris Lenon - after a video review. Jay Feely followed with a 31-yard field goal to put Arizona up 13-3.

Seattle managed to fight back after that, but came up just short after Kolb's heroics and some missed opportunities in those crucial final seconds.

"The margin is really so slight," Carroll said.

And the Seahawks came up on the wrong side of it, just barely.