Highlights and lowlights of Cardinals' 10-6 seasonBy BOB BAUM , Associated Press
Dec. 31, 2013 12:26 AM ET
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Best Game: Beating the Seahawks 17-10 on Dec. 22, snapping the Seahawks' 14-game, home-winning streak. Arizona's defense forced Russell Wilson into his worst game as a pro and held the Seahawks to season lows of 192 yards and 10 first downs. Arizona lost at Seattle 58-0 last season.
Worst Game: While the 31-7 loss at New Orleans was the Cardinals' most one-sided defeat, the season-opening 27-24 loss was the most costly. The Cardinals led by 11 points entering the fourth quarter, and that blown lead ultimately cost Arizona a spot in the postseason.
Best Play: Rookie Tyrann Mathieu chasing down St. Louis tight end Jared Cook on what looked to be a long TD pass in the season opener, then knocking the ball loose an instant before Cook crossed the goal line. It was the first glimpse of the outstanding abilities Mathieu displayed before his season was ended by a knee injury.
Worst Play: Plagued by interceptions early in the season, Palmer had one pass picked off and returned 66 yards for a touchdown by Detroit's DeAndre Levy in Week 2. Arizona still won the game 25-21.
Biggest Surprise: Rookie running back Andre Ellington, a sixth-round draft pick from Clemson, emerged as a dynamic big-play threat. He caught a 36-yard TD pass against Detroit, and ran 80 yards for a score against Atlanta. Ellington rushed for 652 yards on 118 carries, an average of 5.5 per attempt, and caught 39 passes for 371 yards. Carson Palmer said Ellington has "just scratched the surface" of his ability.
Biggest Disappointment: Failure to pull out any of four close games against St. Louis, Philadelphia and twice against San Francisco. If the Cardinals won two of them, they would still be playing.
What's Next: The Cardinals missed the playoffs but still had an outstanding turnaround season in their first year under coach Bruce Arians. With a stout defense, a couple of crucial re-signings, and a couple of additions, Arizona expects to be a contender next season.
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