It was a refreshing change of pace this season when the Arizona Cardinals upset the New Orleans Saints 42-34 in a “Thursday Night Football” game that included some scoring. The Saints went to 2-5 while the Cardinals improved to 3-4 and ended an eight-game home losing run.
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The game was tied with fewer than three minutes remaining in the second quarter after being evenly matched for the whole of the first half. The Cardinals scored three touchdowns during that period, tipping the scales dramatically in their favour.
Following an offensive touchdown from Arizona, the visiting defence stunned quarterback Andy Dalton and his offence with back-to-back interception returns.
The Cardinals had a 28-14 lead at the half after scoring 22 unanswered points, which was more than a good foundation to build on in the second half.
The Saints scored a field goal to end the half, which was undoubtedly important, but they needed to score seven points rather than just three to catch up.
The Cardinals added another touchdown in the third quarter, increasing their lead to 35-17, thanks to a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kyler Murray to Greg Dortch. This made things worse for the Saints.
Juwan Johnson’s 17-yard touchdown run for the Saints in the fourth quarter gave them the lead.
The Cardinals scored another touchdown midway in the fourth quarter thanks to Eno Benjamin’s five-yard rush. Tonight was a touchdown celebration.
Think again if you believe that’s where the touchdowns ended. Another Saints touchdown helped this high-scoring contest reach 42-31 after Dalton’s toss to Juwan Johnson.
With less than a minute remaining, a Saints field goal brought the score to eight points, and Arizona’s failed onside kick attempt secured the victory.
Why the Cardinals won
Simply speaking, they were the superior squad. They were more complete on every side of the ball, and they identified and took advantage of the flaws of the opposition.
DeAndre Hopkins’ return from suspension gave the Cardinals offence a fresh boost. Hopkins has 10 receptions for 103 yards in total on the evening.
With three interceptions of Andy Dalton, the defence deserves a lot of praise for the victory. All of the players participated, and Marco Williams, Isaiah Simmons, and Antonio Hamilton all had interceptions.
Why the Saints lost
The offence simply could not recover from the Cardinals’ spectacular end to the second quarter, when they scored three touchdowns. Two interceptions returned for touchdowns is never going to put you up for a win.
Even though the Saints offence struggles with consistency, they were unable to create a consistent rhythm during the game.
With Jameis Winston sidelined, Andy Dalton was given the reins. When he was effective, he threw for 4 touchdowns and 361 yards, but when he wasn’t, he gave the opposing team touchdowns.
The Cardinals gained momentum after the first pick six of the first half truly made a statement. The Cardinals took the lead for the rest of the game after Marco Wilson returned an interception 38 yards for a score.
Play of the game
It only seems fair to discuss the second selection six since I previously identified the first pick six as the pivotal moment.
Andy Dalton’s third interception of the half came from Isaiah Simmons with less than a minute remaining in the half. Simmons gained 56 yards by running it home, increasing the margin to 28-14.
On October 30, the Saints will play host to the 1-4 Las Vegas Raiders, who are coming off a defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs.
In Week 8, the Cardinals will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The Vikings are quietly off to a tremendous start to their season, and as of now, going into the weekend, they are in first position in their division.