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Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons

Game over

Cardinals win this one by a score of 27-13. It was an effort complete with good QB play, an excellent running game and outstanding defense.

Cards head into the bye week with a 4-4 record.

:20 left in fourth quarter

Cards punt, and Zastudil blasts it a whole 14 yards. Falcons at their 28.

2:00 minute warning

A completion to Rob Housler gets us to the two minute warning, and it’s from here where the Cardinals will work to run out the clock.

2:58 left in fourth quarter

Facing a 4th and 20, Ryan throws another floater that is picked off by Rashad Johnson. It’s his second interception of the game, and this one is all but over as the Cards take over at their 41.

4:03 left in fourth quarter

It was a catch, good for 11, and Falcons are at the Arizona 42. And just as I type that, Calais Campbell gets to Ryan for a sack.

4:03 left in fourth quarter

Refs reviewing to see if an incomplete pass was, in fact, completed.

4:37 left in fourth quarter

Well things just got a bit more interesting as the Falcons recovered an onside kick. So, let’s see what happens here…

4:38 left in fourth quarter

Tyrann Mathieu was flagged for pass interference while trying to break up a fourth-down pass, and two plays later Ryan finds a wide open Drew Davis for a four-yard touchdown.

The drive lasted 4:02 and went a full 80 yards. Cards still in good shape up two scores, but it’s a little closer now at 27-13.

5:37 left in fourth quarter

Timeout on the field as the Falcons face a 3rd and 2 at the Arizona five. With the Cards up 27-6 this sequence doesn’t seem to carry the same amount of weight it might otherwise have, but no doubt Arizona would like to keep the Falcons out of the end zone.

8:40 left in fourth quarter

Cards turn another turnover into three points, as Feely’s field goal is good and Arizona leads 27-6. The defense, which has had its way with Ryan this half, will get to tee off on the QB.

This could be fun.

Oh, and John Abraham is questionable to return after taking a “blow to the head.” Ouch.

12:00 left in fourth quarter

Ryan’s third down pass is picked off by Tyrann Mathieu, and wow do the Cardinals own the Atlanta QB. The return goes for seven and the offense takes over at the Atlanta 40.

12:45 left in fourth quarter

With the help of some good throws as well as penalties on the Cardinals, the Falcons are out of their end zone and up to the 23.

13:26 left in fourth quarter

Cards are forced to punt, and Zastudil’s kick is downed at the one. Neat.

End of third quarter

The third quarter comes to a close with Larry Fitzgerald’s 800th career reception, making him the youngest player in NFL history to reach that mark.

The Cardinals are also now at their 40, and they lead 24-6.

:18 left in third quarter

One play after taking a bad sack that took the Falcons out of field goal range, Ryan floats one down the field and it’s picked off by Rashad Johnson. Yeah, all 9.5 fingers of him.

The Cards take over at their 23.

3:31 left in third quarter

Falcons moving down the field as John Abraham trots off the field to get a look from the trainers. Atlanta has it 1st and 10 at their own 49. Defense not looking great on this drive, as Ryan is doing a good job finding open receivers and the pass rush hasn’t done much to hinder him.

7:07 left in third quarter

Kickoff is downed in the end zone, so it will be first down Atlanta at the 20.

7:07 left in third quarter

Turnover results in three points on a Jay Feely field goal, and the Cards now have a 24-6 lead. You’d like a touchdown there, but points are the main thing. Palmer has been smart with the football since the interception.

Ellington fumbled on the drive, but the Cards were able to recover. So no real harm done, I guess.

8:50 left in third quarter

Daryl Washington leaps and picks off a Ryan pass, and the Cards have it at the Atlanta 22. Excellent chance to bury the Falcons here.

10:12 left in third quarter

Cards move a little but are ultimately forced to punt. Zastudil’s blast bounces into the end zone, and the Falcons take over at their 20.

A little more Ellington and Stepfan Taylor on that drive, and it is safe to say no one misses Rashard Mendenhall right now.

15:00 left in third quarter

Kickoff is a touchback and the Cards are at their 20. Can they keep the offensive momentum?

End of first half

The half ends with John Abraham, the former Falcon, sacking Matt Ryan. Cards go into the locker room up 21-6. Gotta like that if you’re a Cards fan, right?

:25 left in second quarter

Arians had some faith but a sack on first down limited what the Cards would do. Zastudil is brought on to punt, and the Falcons will try to get something here at the end of the half.

:55 left in second quarter

Defense forces another punt, but the 57-yard kick leaves the Cardinals at their 24. How gutsy is Arians? How much confidence does he have in his QB? With three timeouts left, we’ll find out.

1:55 left in second quarter

Touchdown it is, as Palmer finds Michael Floyd with a nice pass for the score. Cards up 21-6 and have to be feeling pretty good about things.

Now it’s up to the D to keep the score where it’s at heading into the intermission.

2:00 left in second quarter

The two minute warning arrives with the Cardinals driving. Stepfan Taylor had a Marshawn Lynch-esque run on this drive, and Palmer has looked good, too.

This is the offense I’m sure Bruce Arians had in mind, but let’s see if the Cards can punch it into the end zone. Touchdowns, not field goals.

5:14 left in second quarter

Defense does its job and forces a three-and-out. Peterson returns the punt to the Arizona 22, where the offense will go to work.

Another good drive and a score here and, given that the Cards get the ball to start the second half, this game could get out of hand (in a good way). Of course, a turnover here or a three-and-out, and well, you know.

7:25 left in second quarter

Well that’s one way to do it. Andre Ellington takes a handoff, bounces to the outside and races 80-yards for the score. Looks like the Cards found a gem in that kid out of Clemson. Not sure, but that has to be one of the longest runs in franchise history.

Cards up 14-7.

7:38 left in second quarter

Cardinals allow another nice, long drive, but stiffen up in the red zone and hold the Falcons to another Bryant field goal. The drive went 15 plays and 66 yards, ending with the 30-yard kick.

Cards are still up 7-6 and you wish, after their last drive, that the offense could have got back on the field sooner. Still, let’s see if they can sustain what happened and find a groove.

14:55 left in second quarter

Palmer completed a pass to someone in red! The QB hits Fitzgerald in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard score, and the Cardinals now have a 7-3 lead. It was an excellent throw from the QB, the kind that makes you shake your head and shake your fist over some of the insanely bad/dumb ones he makes.

Ahh well.

15:00 left in second quarter

And the quarter begins with a false start penalty on Sendlein, his second of the game. Third and goal from the ten.

End of first quarter

The first frame ends with the Falcons leading 3-0 but the Cardinals threatening. And really, it should be 7-3 as while Carson Palmer hit Teddy Williams for a 51-yard gain, the ball was underthrown and the newcomer had to wait for it. If the pass was on target, Arizona would have had a touchdown.

Anyway, the Cards are facing a third and goal from the four.

3:23 left in first quarter

Kickoff sails out of the end zone and the Cards take over at their 20. They were moving the ball well that last drive up until the penalty, which was then followed by the interception.

Kind of been the M.O. for Palmer this year…two steps forward, one GIANT step back.

3:23 left in first quarter

Defense does a great job holding the Falcons after the pick. Shoot, they nearly came up with an interception of their own on third down. Matt Bryant comes in and converts a 24-yard field goal attempt, and the Falcons take an early 3-0 lead courtesy of Palmer’s 14th interception of the season.

And not surprisingly, Palmer received some boos after that one.

6:08 left in first quarter

Cardinals are moving the ball well, with Palmer hitting Michael Floyd for a nice game and then finding Patrick Peterson for a WR screen. Holding on Lyle Sendlein will push the offense back, though. Penalties are a good way to kill momentum.

And just like that, Palmer is picked off by Asante Samuel while trying to find Andre Roberts. So yeah, that.

8:03 left in first quarter

Falcons drive into Cards territory but Ryan is sacked by Marcus Bernard on third down, taking them out of field goal range. Matt Bosher’s punt is downed at the Arizona 15, where Carson Palmer and the offense will go to work.

So far, Cards are losing the field position battle.

12:30 left in first quarter

Bruce Arians challenged that the returner stepped out of bounds before reaching the Arizona 48, and the refs agreed. Atlanta has it at their own 38 to start.

13:11 left in first quarter

Defense forced a three and out. Interesting wrinkle was Patrick Peterson on Tony Gonzalez, but with Julio Jones and Roddy White both out, may as well put the best cover corner on their best receiving threat.

The Cards go nowhere after the punt, though, with Palmer doing his best Derek Anderson by overthrowing Fitz by a lot, and then a false start on Bradley Sowell left the Cards facing a third and long. Arizona punts, and a solid return has the Falcons at the Arizona 48.

15:00 left in first quarter

Kick sails into the end zone and the Falcons will start at their own 20. Arizona’s D has struggled early in games, a fast start would be a good thing for them today.

1:00 until kickoff

The Falcons won the toss and elected to receive the ball.

As it is, the “sold out” crowd is still filing in to see this battle of the birds. It’s a big game for the Cardinals, as they need to end a two-game skid and even their record at 4-4 heading into the bye.

The Falcons are a team that had Super Bowl aspirations but has been besieged by injuries. They still have Matt Ryan, though, and the QB is one of the best in the game. He’ll also get to work to start this one.

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