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Cards blow opportunities

The Arizona Republic


The Arizona Republic

SEATTLE – In framing their game with Seattle Sunday as a way to gauge their alleged progress, the Arizona Cardinals hoped they would need, at worst, a ruler.

Turns out it still takes an odometer to measure the distance between the Cardinals and the Seahawks, the defending NFC champions.

There was only one conclusion to reach after Seattle’s 21-10 victory at Qwest Field.

“Well, we are not as good as them,” Cardinals coach Dennis Green said. “I think that’s clear-cut. They are indeed the No. 1 team in the National Football Conference.

“And we are not.”

It was Seattle’s fourth straight victory over the Cardinals (1-1) and its seventh in the last eight meetings. Not that the Seahawks (2-0) looked especially sharp in their home opener in front of 67,470.

They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead, and their concentration seemed to disappear, as if it had caught one of the nearby ferries.

The Cardinals blew a prime scoring chance near the half, but entered the locker room thinking they had a chance.

“I came in at halftime, like, ‘This door is still open,’ ” said Cardinals fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo.

But the Cardinals did a nice job of closing that door themselves all afternoon with 11 penalties, five sacks allowed, an interception and five fumbles, only one of which was lost. Neil Rackers also missed two field goals, although they were from 51 and 53 yards.

It didn’t help that the starting offensive line was shuffled again, with left guard Reggie Wells switching positions with right tackle Chris Liwienski.

After their second straight sluggish start, the Cardinals defense put the clamps on the Seahawks, who gained more than half of their 341 total yards on their first two possessions.

Still, the Cardinals had chances. In the third quarter, they had the ball in Seahawks territory three times and came away with just a field goal.

The offense showed a flash of life in the fourth quarter, when Kurt Warner hit receiver Bryant Johnson with a 40-yard touchdown pass to make the score 21-10.

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