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Arizona vs. Seattle: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Arizona

Andrew NordmeierContributor IIIDecember 23, 2013

Arizona vs. Seattle: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Arizona

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    Michael Floyd makes the game-wining touchdown catch.
    Michael Floyd makes the game-wining touchdown catch.Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    The Arizona Cardinals picked up a huge road win on Sunday by stunning the Seattle Seahawks 17-10 at CenturyLink Field. Wide receiver Michael Floyd scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes left, and the Arizona defense came up with a controversial interception to seal the win.

    The interception came with two minutes left in the game, as Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tried to connect with wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Wilson’s pass was low and appeared to hit the turf, but the ball popped up and was caught by Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby. The ruling on the field of interception was upheld after review, and the Cardinals had their 10th win of the season.

    And this was even with a poor performance from Carson Palmer, who threw four interceptions on the day. Despite that, Arizona is 7-1 in its last eight games and still in contention for a wild-card spot.

    Read on to see how the team grades out after this shocking win.

Quarterback

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Carson Palmer

    Palmer had a horrible day. He threw four interceptions and completed just 13-of-25 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown. No receiver had more than three receptions on the day, so the distribution was there to the receivers, but the yardage was not.

    Palmer seemingly did everything he could to make this win as difficult as possible but saved the best for last. Outside of the Floyd 31-yard touchdown pass, his longest completion of the day was a first-quarter strike to Brittan Golden for 63 yards.

    If you take those two completions out, though, his numbers look horrible. The defense bailed him out in this game.

    Grade: D

Running Backs

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Rashard Mendenhall, Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor

    The Arizona running backs got the job done in this win.

    Mendenhall had 21 carries for 63 yards, while Ellington added 64 yards on 15 carries. Stepfan Taylor had 15 yards on two carries. Arizona out-gained Seattle on the ground 139-103, thanks to the effort from the backs.

    The other thing that really drives their grade up is how they impacted the time of possession. Arizona held the ball for 37:24 in this game, and it really limited the Seattle offense. The running backs were key in this area and played a big part in the team's win.

    Grade: B+

Wide Receivers

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and Brittan Golden

    The wide receivers suffered due to the fact that Palmer had issues with pressure and poor throws. Floyd scored the winning touchdown, and Golden had a big play, but the rest of the wide receivers didn’t do anything.

    To put it in perspective, Roberts (25 yards) out-gained Fitzgerald (18 yards), and Roberts has been practically invisible all season.

    Floyd got it done with a highlight-reel catch, but this was still a down day for this unit.

    Grade: C-

Tight Ends

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Jim Dray, Jake Ballard, Rob Housler

    The tight ends didn’t do much in the passing attack, with 33 combined yards on four catches.

    Housler had two targets on the day. One hit him in the face mask, and the other deflected off of his hands and right to Seattle safety Kam Chancellor for an interception.

    The positive was that they were able to help out in the run game and give the running backs open lanes as part of the clock-grinding strategy.

    It wasn’t a spectacular effort from this unit, but they still contributed to the win.

    Grade: C-

Offensive Line

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Bradley Sowell, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Paul Faniaka, Eric Winston

    The offensive line was strong in two of three phases of the game.

    They were effective in run-blocking, and they were pretty good at keeping Palmer upright by only allowing one sack. The area they failed in was picking up the proper man on the rush, which led to several quarterback pressures. The pressures led to poor throws, some of which were intercepted.

    With a huge game against the San Francisco 49ers coming up next week, they need to get all three phases of the game down.

    Grade: B

Defensive Line

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Dan Williams, Alameda Ta’Amu and Frostee Rucker

    Campbell anchored the effort in this game. He finished the day with four tackles and two sacks. Rucker was able to get a shot on Wilson. Dockett, Williams and Ta’Amu were all key in limiting Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch to 71 yards on 18 carries.

    The defensive line needs to have another solid game like this against Frank Gore next week if Arizona wants to go to the playoffs.

    Grade: B

Linebackers

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    Dansby (bottom center) is tackled after the interception.
    Dansby (bottom center) is tackled after the interception.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Karlos Dansby, Daryl Washington, Matt Shaughnessy, Kevin Minter, John Abraham and Marcus Benard

    The linebackers had a solid game.

    Dansby made the key interception to seal the win. Washington led the way with seven tackles, three quarterback hits and a sack. Shaughnessy recorded a tackle for loss. Overall, the linebackers were aggressive and made plays, both against the run and the pass.

    This unit looks like it's coming together at the right time and needs one more game like this to hopefully make the playoffs. 

    Grade: A-

Defensive Backs

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Patrick Peterson, Yeremiah Bell, Antoine Cason, Rashad Johnson, Tony Jefferson, Javier Arenas, Justin Bethel and Jerraud Powers

    Powers had a strong game in coverage and was credited with three passes defensed on the day. Peterson put forth his usual shutdown effort.

    Bethel continues his hustle on special teams and recovered a fumble on a Seattle kickoff return in the third quarter when Arizona was up 6-3. Unfortunately, a Palmer interception prevented the Cardinals from cashing in on the turnover.

    Even without Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals showed they can defend against a top-notch running back. They also were able to shut down Wilson and the passing game. The only downside was a touchdown to tight end Zach Miller that gave Seattle its only lead in the fourth quarter.

    Grade: B+

Special Teams

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    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    Kicker Jay Feely, punter Dave Zastudil, long-snapper Mike Leach

    The special teams unit continued to be a rock for this team.

    Feely hit all three of his field goals on the day, and Zastudil averaged 48.8 yards per punt and dropped three of them inside the 20-yard line to help win the field-position battle.

    Grade: A

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