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Cool Carson Palmer Shocks Seattle

Posted Dec 22, 2013

Cardinals quarterback bounces back from four interceptions to toss game-winning TD

Wide receiver Michael Floyd celebrates his game-winning touchdown catch with teammates Larry Fitzgerald and Stepfan Taylor during the Cardinals' 17-10 win in Seattle Sunday.

SEATTLE -- As each interception was thrown, the crowd got louder and coach Bruce Arians got madder.

Carson Palmer, though, never lost his California cool. The Cardinals’ quarterback equaled his career high with four interceptions on Sunday against the Seahawks, but with time running out, he was more interested in winning a game than feeling dejected.

Palmer shrugged off a poor showing to lead a 10-play, 80-yard drive -- capped by a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter – for the 17-10 victory. Palmer also scrambled on a bum ankle and found tight end Jake Ballard for 17 yards on 3rd-and-3 to keep the drive alive.

“He’s so resilient it’s scary, sometimes,” Arians said. “I’m the one that goes crazy. He’s calm and he knows why he did things. If they’re good, bad or ugly, he forgets about it and goes to the next one. He’s really a corner playing quarterback.”

Palmer, who was born in Fresno and played at USC, finished the game 13-of-25 passing for 178 yards with the one touchdown and four picks.

“Carson’s so laid back,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “You couldn’t tell if it was a 50-0 (deficit) or we were up 50-0. He’s always got the same disposition: Cool, calm and relaxed. It’s a California thing.”

True to his nature, there was no grand speech before the winning drive. The Seahawks had just moved ahead, 10-9, on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Zach Miller, and Palmer was destined to go down as the goat if the Cardinals lost. Instead, he found Floyd and kept the team’s playoff hopes alive.

“To be honest, it was business as usual,” Palmer said. “There weren’t any speeches. Just, ‘This is the drive. Let’s go down and win the game.’ Nothing special about it. No stories to tell your grandkids. We knew what it was going to take after they scored and we just methodically went down the field.”

Two of Palmer’s interceptions were in the end zone, the first on the opening drive as he tried to find Rob Housler on a 3rd-and-2 from the 5. The ball was tipped by his tight end and then caught by Kam Chancellor. The other was grabbed by Richard Sherman when Palmer was hit by heavy pressure and tried to loft a pass to Floyd early in the fourth quarter.

Sherman grabbed his first interception in the opening quarter when Palmer tried to fit a pass in to Fitzgerald. Malcolm Smith got his when he corralled a tipped pass right before halftime. All of those interceptions may have rattled a different signal-caller, but Palmer felt more than ready to lead the final drive.

“You play the position long enough and you have to deal with the ebbs and flows, the positives and the negatives,” he said. “You can never get too high and too low.”

Center Lyle Sendlein has seen plenty of quarterbacks come and go in his career with the Cardinals. He said Palmer’s composure rubs off on everyone in the huddle.

“That’s a sign of a true leader and someone you want at that position,” Sendlein said. “Someone who doesn’t get rattled by the crowd. Winning games on the road, especially at a place like this, it’s about riding the waves because those are going to happen. When you’re going on the down part of those waves, you need someone calm and collected.”

And who better than the Cali kid to lead the way?


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