They're unbeaten in exhibition play and their defense has demonstrated it can control a game and score points. How important has the preseason been for the Arizona Cardinals?
"Well, it doesn't get you in the Super Bowl," says defensive tackle Eric Swann, who made four sacks Sunday night as the Cards beat the Chicago Bears 17-16 for a 3-0 exhibition record."But for the most part it does mean something. It felt good to break the ice and play the whole ball game."
The Cardinals' defense didn't rest Sunday, playing the entire game. In addition to six sacks, there was a game-winning interception by Aeneas Williams in the final quarter and then a late fumble recovery by Terry Irving to kill a Bears' drive.
Chicago still had a chance to win with 18 seconds to go, but Kevin Butler went wide left on a 37-yard field goal attempt.
Now it's time to pare rosters to 60. And for the Bears, it could be time to figure out who will be the starting quarterback.
Erik Kramer was sacked five times in the first half and came out in the second to throw two touchdown passes and get the Bears a 16-10 lead. He completed 17-of-26 for 189 yards before Steve Walsh entered the game midway through the final quarter.
"I feel a little bit of relief. I knew I had it in me," said Kramer, who lost the job to Walsh last year and was booed in the exhibition opener two weeks ago. "As the game went on, I was seeing things properly."
Walsh's second pass was intercepted by Williams and returned 37 yards for a touchdown. With the extra point, the Cards had their margin of victory.
Walsh led the Bears downfield twice. One drive was stopped at the Cards 13 with two minutes left when Rashaan Salaam fumbled. Walsh later passed 43 yards to Kenny Shedd to set up Butler's field goal attempt. Walsh was 4-of-9 for 101 yards.
Veteran Dave Krieg completed 25 of 42 passes for 266 yards while playing the whole game for Arizona.
Greg Davis kicked a 23-yard field goal and Krieg floated a 14-yard TD to Rob Moore, who outjumped James Burton with 1:45 left in the second quarter. Moore finished with 10 catches for 99 yards.
Trailing 10-2 at the half, the Bears got a break when Barry Minter intercepted Krieg's pass at the 13 in the third quarter, leading to a 9-yard touchdown pass from Kramer to Raymont Harris. The 2-point pass failed.
Kramer's 14-yard pass to Curtis Conway with 13:32 left put Chicago up 14-10 and Kramer then hit Michael Timpson with a 2-point pass.
Seahawks 24, Saints 19
Rick Mirer threw a deflected 56-yard touchdown pass to Joey Galloway with 11 seconds left in the first half and Lamar Smith ran 10 yards for the clinching score for Seattle (2-1).
The connection between Mirer and Galloway gave Seattle a 17-13 lead.
Smith's touchdown with 5:45 remaining in the game put the Seahawks ahead 24-13.
Chip Lohmiller, the former Washington Redskins kicker signed by the Saints (0-3) late in training camp, missed an extra point, a 50-yard field goal and a 28-yard field goal.