GLENDALE, Ariz. — In reviewing Drew Stanton’s second consecutive start for the Arizona Cardinals, his statistics certainly won’t jump off the page at you.
He doesn’t care.
The eight-year veteran who waited four years in between NFL starts just wants to play and win. In the last two weeks, he’s done both.
Stanton completed 18-of-33 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-14 at University of Phoenix Stadium to move to 3-0 on the young season.
Even though head coach Bruce Arians has been a staunch supporter of his, Stanton was still an unknown commodity before he started in place of the injured Carson Palmer last week against the New York Giants. A four-year layoff will create that kind of uncertainty.
But after guiding Arizona to a rare win over their division foe, the Michigan State product is now very much a known commodity to Cardinals faithful — and they like what they’ve seen.
“You see guys get opportunities, and the guys that make the most of it stay in the league and the guys that don’t find themselves out of the league,” Stanton said. “I kept saying, ‘My time will come, my time will come,’ and just be patient.”
Arians could see a difference in Stanton this week compared to his 14-for-29 performance against the Giants.
“Last week, I thought he was in management mode — don’t lose it,” Arians said. “This one, I thought he went to win. He took his shots down the field.”
Stanton did just that, completing passes of 36 and 45 yards to Michael Floyd during the contest. But he just missed on a pass that could have delivered an early death blow to San Francisco.
Leading 20-14 and facing a 2nd-and-12 with about 12 minutes to play, Stanton took a shot on a long pass down the left sideline to Jaron Brown, narrowly missing the receiver, who had a step on his defender. The Cardinals would keep the ball for about five more minutes, but would squander a scoring opportunity when Larry Fitzgerald fumbled deep in San Francisco territory.
“I know he wants that one back to Jaron, because they never miss,” Arians said. “They haven’t missed the entire preseason, and he kind of got a little bit excited with that one.”