The game got off to a good start for the Cardinals

first_imgThe game got off to a good start for the Cardinals when David Johnson took the opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown, but the Cardinals had trouble pulling away from the hosting Bears through the game’s first 20 minutes or so. However, Larry Fitzgerald caught a touchdown pass late in the second quarter, and on the ensuing Bears possession safety Tony Jefferson picked off Bears QB Jay Cutler and returned the ball 26 yards for a score. The Bears added a pair of field goals prior to the end of the half to pull within eight, but Fitzgerald and Johnson each reached the end zone in the third quarter (Johnson on a 13-yard run), and the receiver added his final score late in the fourth. In all, the veteran wideout caught eight passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns to lead Arizona to a comfortable road win. No. 9Oct. 26 – Cardinals 26, Ravens 18, Week 7The Cardinals welcomed the bright lights of Monday Night Football with a shaky performance that featured enough big moments to entertain a national TV audience. Arizona trailed 10-7 with 3:54 left in the second quarter, but Carson Palmer found Michael Floyd for a touchdown with just more than one minute remaining in the half, and the Cardinals led the rest of the way. Things got tense in the fourth quarter, however, as the home team nursed an eight-point lead only to see the Ravens reach the Arizona four. The Cardinals blitzed Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who threw high to tight end Crockett Gilmore, and safety Tony Jefferson sealed the win by picking off the pass in the end zone. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires In this piece, we try to rank the victories, albeit with the understanding that this is a very subjective list.No. 14Nov. 1 – Cardinals 34, Browns 20, Week 8In what was largely an uninspired performance against a team that would have been difficult to be inspired against, the Cardinals fell behind early only to to dominate the second half and earn a road win. Carson Palmer threw for 374 yards and four touchdowns — two of which went to tight end Troy Niklas, the first TDs of his career. Chris Johnson ran for 109 yards on 30 carries, while Michael Floyd led receivers with 106 yards and a touchdown on four catches.No. 13Sept. 27 – Cardinals 47, 49ers 7, Week 3Going into the game most figured the Cardinals were a better team than their NFC West rivals, and it did not take long for that belief to turn into verifiable fact. Arizona took a 14-0 first-quarter lead on pick-sixes from Justin Bethel and Tyrann Mathieu, while a pair of Chris Johnson touchdown runs in the second quarter combined with a Chandler Catanzaro field goal to give the home team a 31-7 lead. Larry Fitzgerald went on to catch a pair of touchdowns in the second half, putting the cherry on top of a nine-reception, 134-yard performance. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling No. 8Dec. 6 – Cardinals 27, Rams 3, Week 13The Rams had knocked off the Cardinals in Glendale earlier in the season, and no doubt Arizona went into this game looking for payback. Goal achieved. It was not always pretty, but the Cardinals dominated the Rams as Carson Palmer threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns while David Johnson ran for 99 yards on 22 carries. John Brown led Arizona receivers with 113 yards on six catches while the defense limited stud rookie Todd Gurley to just 41 rushing yards.No. 7Nov. 29 – Cardinals 19, 49ers 13, Week 12The Cardinals were heavy favorites going into this game after already trouncing the 49ers earlier in the season, but it was apparent early on this game would be much, much different. Arizona struggled for most of the afternoon and found itself in a 13-13 tie heading into the fourth quarter. The Cardinals were able to get one last scoring drive, however, as Carson Palmer rallied his team behind a clutch deep throw to J.J. Nelson and then showed surprising wheels on a seven-yard touchdown run. A missed PAT by Chandler Catanzaro left the door open for the 49ers, who reached the Arizona 30 before seeing their drive stall. While a win over the 49ers isn’t necessarily reason to celebrate, it was the Cardinals’ first road victory over San Francisco since 2008. No. 6Dec. 11 – Cardinals 23, Vikings 20, Week 14This Thursday night tilt was between two of the NFC’s better teams, though the Vikings came into the game shorthanded due to injury and fuming after being blown out at home by the Seattle Seahawks the previous Sunday. Instead of the blowout many predicted, the Cardinals found themselves in a 60-minute battle that came down to the wire. Carson Palmer threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns while David Johnson ran for 92 yards on 19 carries, and Chandler Catanzaro’s 47-yard field goal with 1:23 remaining gave the Cardinals the lead. The Vikings responded by reaching the Arizona 31, and with 13 seconds left decided to try one more play before attempting a game-tying field goal. It was on that play where Dwight Freeney sacked Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Calais Campbell. It preserved Arizona’s win and clinched a playoff spot.No. 5Dec. 27 – Cardinals 38, Packers 8, Week 16This game that had major playoff implications as both the Cardinals and Packers had eyes on the No. 2 seed in the NFC, and for 15 minutes it looked like it might be a classic slugfest. But then the second quarter happened. The Cardinals were up 10-0 and a Carson Palmer interception looked like it would give the Packers new life, but Justin Bethel picked off Aaron Rodgers in the end zone and Arizona went 80 yards in less than one minute to score a touchdown and extend the lead to 17-0. From there, the rout was on, with Arizona collecting nine sacks — including eight of Rodgers — while returning two of the QB’s fumbles for touchdowns. Dwight Freeney’s three sacks led the team, while Calais Campbell chipped in 2.5, and in the week that followed pretty much the entire NFL world felt like the Cardinals were the best team in the league. No. 3Dec. 20 – Cardinals 40, Eagles 17, Week 15On national TV once again, the Cardinals went into the game against playoff-hopeful Philadelphia knowing a win would clinch their first NFC West title since 2009. It did not take long for them to exert their dominance, with rookie David Johnson doing much of the damage. The rookie’s 47-yard touchdown run in the second quarter saw him break numerous tackles, and the score broke a 10-10 tie and gave the Cardinals a lead they would not relinquish. Johnson ran for 187 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, while also adding 42 yards on four receptions. The Cardinals clinched the division that night but lost safety Tyrann Mathieu for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL intercepting a pass late in the game, while Carson Palmer dislocated his right index finger.No. 2Jan. 16 – Cardinals 26, Packers 20, Divisional PlayoffsMany were excited to see the Cardinals match up with the Packers again given how handily they beat them three weeks earlier, but this game was considerably different from the first meeting. The Cardinals took just a 7-6 lead into halftime before finding themselves trailing 13-10 heading into the fourth quarter. It seemed like Arizona might get bounced at home when Carson Palmer was intercepted by Green Bay’s Damarious Randall in the end zone with the Cardinals facing a first-and-goal from the Packers’ 10 early in the fourth quarter, but the defense was able to force a punt on the next Green Bay drive and Palmer engineered a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Michael Floyd touchdown that was originally thrown to Larry Fitzgerald, but bounced off Randall’s arm and fell right to Floyd in the end zone with 3:44 remaining. The Cardinals tacked on a Chandler Catanzaro field goal with 43 seconds remaining to give them a seven-point lead, and seemed to have the game locked up when they forced a 4th-and-20 from the Green Bay four. However, Aaron Rodgers scrambled and found receiver Jeff Janis for a 60-yard gain to the Arizona 36 and then, after a pair of incomplete passes, connected with Janis on a 41-yard Hail Mary as the clock expired. The PAT send the game into overtime, and a weird game got even stranger when referee Clete Blakeman’s coin toss went without the coin ever spinning. The Cardinals won the original version as well as the re-toss, and on the first play from scrimmage watched as Palmer scrambled away from pressure and found Larry Fitzgerald for a 75-yard catch-and-run to the Green Bay five. Two plays later Fitz punched the ball into the end zone on a shovel pass, and Arizona moved on to the NFC Championship Game. Top Stories No. 4Nov. 23 – Cardinals 34, Bengals 31, Week 11The Bengals came in as one of the best teams in the AFC, and their battle with the Cardinals proved to be everything NBC hoped it would when the networked flexed the game into Sunday Night Football. Arizona trailed early but bounced back behind three Carson Palmer touchdown passes to take a 28-14 lead into the fourth quarter. The Bengals scored a TD early in the fourth quarter to close the gap to seven, but Arizona responded with a field goal and with less than seven minutes remaining had what looked like a pretty comfortable 10-point edge. However, the Bengals scored a touchdown with 3:44 left and then added a field goal with 1:03 on the clock to tie the game. With overtime an option, the Cardinals opted to take their chances and try to end the game in regulation, and Palmer responded by completing passes to J.J. Nelson and Larry Fitzgerald (twice) to get to the Cincinnati 27. Following one kneel down to help position the ball and drain some clock, a controversial unsportsmanlike penalty was called on the Bengals’ Domata Peko for imitating the snap count, putting the ball at the Cincy 14 and setting Chandler Catanzaro up for a 32-yard field goal, which he made with just two seconds left on the clock. No. 1Nov. 15 – Cardinals 39, Seahawks 32, Week 10By this point in the season the Cardinals had established themselves as a legitimate NFC West contender, but the game in Seattle against the two-time defending NFC champs would serve as a test to see just how good they were. For a while it looked as if the Cardinals might blow out their rivals, opening up a 19-0 lead before taking a 22-7 advantage into halftime. However, a vicious pass rush led to a couple Carson Palmer fumbles, and with 13:00 remaining in the fourth quarter the Cardinals were trailing 29-25. From there Palmer and the offense went to work, with Arizona putting together a 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive to retake the lead with 8:41 remaining, and then, after forcing a punt, broke things open again with a 48-yard touchdown run by Andre Ellington. In the win, Palmer threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns, with Larry Fitzgerald (10 catches, 130 yards) and Micheal Floyd (7 catches, 113 yards) doing most of the damage. The victory gave Arizona a three-game lead on the Seahawks and served notice that there was a changing of the guard in one of the NFL’s premier divisions. Comments   Share   No. 12Oct. 11 – Cardinals 42, Lions 17, Week 5The Cardinals were starting to cement their status as one of the NFL’s better teams, whereas the Lions had yet to win a game up to that point in the season. It took just one quarter to see why each team was what we thought they were. After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, the Cardinals reached the end zone four times in the second to take a 28-7 lead into halftime. Larry Fitzgerald scored on a two-yard pass in the third quarter and Andre Ellington broke off a 63-yard touchdown run in the fourth to provide the offense, while Arizona’s defense intercepted Lions QB Matthew Stafford three times and led to the starter being benched.No. 11Sept. 13 – Cardinals 31, Saints 19, Week 1There was no shortage of optimism as Carson Palmer was back on the field leading a team many thought could compete for the NFC West title. The veteran had himself a day, throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns, as the Cardinals were able to pull away in the fourth quarter. The capper was a swing pass rookie running back David Johnson took 55-yards for a score with less than two minutes remaining.No. 10Sept. 21 – Cardinals 48, Bears 23, Week 2 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Many people will remember the Arizona Cardinals’ season for how it ended, and no doubt the 49-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.Still, the Cardinals experienced far more success than failure in the 2015 campaign, setting a franchise record for wins with 13 in the regular season and then a 14th in the postseason.Some of the wins were nail biters while others were complete blowouts. Some carried the weight of playoff implications while others were the kind that a good team is “supposed” to earn. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more