SEATTLE — If this was Bruce Arians’ final game with the Arizona Cardinals, he went out in perfect fashion with a win in the place he called “our home field.”
“Thanks y’all for coming to my house,” Arians cracked on Sunday.
Phil Dawson kicked four field goals, the last from 42 yards with 2:21 left, Blair Walsh missed a 48-yard attempt with 32 seconds left and the Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks 26-24 on Sunday to close the season.
Speculation has swirled in recent days about Arians stepping away at the end of the season. He declined to announce a decision after the victory, but was emotional and spoke with pride about the Cardinals performance and winning a third straight game on the Seahawks home field.
“We’ll think about it. I’m not going to drag it out because it’s not fair to people if I do decide,” Arians said.
Seattle started the day with playoff hopes that were dashed when Atlanta beat Carolina to earn the final wild-card spot in the NFC. Walsh’s missed field goal was the final — and poetic — blow to an underwhelming season by the Seahawks that started with Super Bowl hopes dashed by injuries and inconsistency.
Arizona’s game-winning drive was helped by a careless third down roughing penalty on Seattle’s Bobby Wagner when it appeared the Seahawks would get off the field. Arizona (8-8) later converted third-and-2 with a 17-yard pass to D.J. Foster and Dawson connected after hitting earlier in the game from 46, 49 and 53 yards.
Wagner was coming around the corner on the pass rush and said he did not see Drew Stanton had already released the pass.
“I was trying to turn the corner and I was trying to get out of the way and I hit him,” Wagner said. “No matter what I still shouldn’t have hit him.”
Seattle (9-7) got into position for a game-winning attempt from Walsh, but his kick stayed out to the right and the Seahawks were left to lament missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 season. It was also the first time Seattle failed to win 10 games since Russell Wilson’s arrival in 2012.
“I had prepared myself for the worst-case scenario, but when it actually came to fruition I didn’t realize how painful it was going to be emotionally,” Seattle’s Doug Baldwin said.
Stanton threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown on Arizona’s opening drive and Elijhaa Penny had a 4-yard TD run as the Cardinals jumped to a big early lead but stumbled offensively in the second half. Stanton finished 15 of 34 for 145 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The goal among Arizona’s players was to get Arians his 50th victory with the club and get back to .500 even though it was eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago.
“We had a great win today and hopefully he’ll want to come back and coach another three or four years,” Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald said.