SEATTLE - The final answer to which running back was going to start Sunday against the Seahawks was . . . both of them.
In a move that explained coach Dennis Green’s intentionally vague answers last week, both Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington were in the backfield on the game’s first play. Arrington went in motion, and Shipp carried for nine yards.
As expected, Shipp played more and did well — 41 yards on 10 carries — as the Cards seemed to once again stay away from a steady running game. Arrington carried five times for nine yards.
"I just wanted to play my role," Shipp said. "It’s definitely a double threat when we are both in the game. It’s just another dimension we add to the offense."
The Cards were shut out from sacking Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, something that last happened Nov. 21 last season against Carolina.
Defensive end Bertrand Berry was all but shut down by Seattle left tackle Walter Jones. But even fellow defensive end Chike Okeafor couldn’t get past right tackle Sean Locklear.
"I don’t think they were holding the ball very long," Okeafor said. "It doesn’t matter how good a pass rush you have if you don’t have time to get there. Still, we have to find a way to get off blocks and get there anyway."
Perhaps a turning point in the game was Anquan Boldin’s 45-yard reception in the second quarter that might have gone for a 78-yard touchdown. Boldin was running free behind the defense but jumped for the catch and came down awkwardly, allowing Seattle defenders to catch him.
"When I jumped I lost my balance," Boldin said. "I thought somebody was behind me, so I was securing the catch. I came down, twisted my ankle. Just one of those plays."
The Cardinals suffered injuries Sunday besides quarterback Kurt Warner’s groin, including both starting cornerbacks and starting defensive tackle Russell Davis.
Davis hurt his left biceps, but said it didn’t feel that bad and he was optimistic it wasn’t serious. Cornerback David Macklin pulled a hamstring, while fellow corner Antrel Rolle — picked on all day by Seattle — was hampered by his already sore knee.
"I’m definitely a better corner than that," said Rolle, who had skipped a day of practice last week because of the injury. "I should have rested it this week."
After having an animated discussion last week on the sideline with special teams coach Kevin O’Dea and then two more Sunday, kickoff and punt return man Reggie Swinton was finally stripped of the kickoff return duties because of ineffectiveness. "He is better on the punt than the kickoff, that is becoming clear," Green said. . . .
Rolle said there was "no magic" to how the Cards must stop teams from scoring touchdowns on the opening drives of halves, which opponents are now 6-of-6 doing this season.
"It’s up to us to stop it," Rolle said. "Of course every team sees that so that will be their mantra, ‘We can get 14 points.’ "