No one in Arizona had much use for Kevin Kolb during the preseason.
They’re loving him now. Kolb came off the bench when John Skelton was carted off with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals were trailing 16-13 at the time, but Kolb calmly led them down the field and hit Andre Roberts with a six-yard pass to make the score 20-16. It would hold up, but not without some drama.
Seattle drove the ball down inside the five thanks to two pass interference penalties on the Cardinals and a couple of nice plays by Russell Wilson. That’s when all hell threatened to break loose. The Seahawks called a timeout after a Marshawn Lynch run, which the officials granted even though it seemed to everyone else on the planet that they didn’t have any timeouts left. They had called two before Doug Baldwin was banged up while dropping what could have been the game-winning pass in the end zone.
The officials explained that the Seahawks had a timeout left because the clock stopped on the incompletion, which is an incorrect interpretation of the rules. When a player is injured in the last two minutes of the game, there is supposed to be a timeout charged to his team. That should have led to the referees ignoring their timeout requests, but it didn’t.
Luckily for the league, it became something of a moot point since the Cardinals held on the final three plays as Wilson fired incomplete three times to end the contest. The refs had a fine weekend overall, but it would have been a big story if the last game of the afternoon was decided in part by an officiating blunder.
Wilson had a few moments, but he struggled to move the ball most of the afternoon. Leon Washington had big returns on a kickoff and a punt to lead to 10 points and the Seahawks got another field goal on a short field after a Skelton interception. Their offense didn’t look good after a decent opening drive and there’s clearly still work to do for the rookie. But you already knew that, because he’s a rookie.
If Skelton proves to be fine, it will make for a tough decision for Ken Whisenhunt this week. Kolb was 6-of-8 for 66 yards coming off the bench cold in the fourth quarter to lead the team to victory after Skelton was abysmal as the Cardinals frittered away their led in the third. One drive isn’t enough of a guide to name a starter, but we’ve never really been certain what criteria the team is using to make its decisions.
Whatever choice they make, they’ll be doing it with a 1-0 record despite coming very close to losing the game in the final minutes.