Big Red Recap: Dawson gets second chance as Cardinals beat Colts in OT
History says NFL teams cannot start a season 0-2 and have confidence in making the postseason.
The Arizona Cardinals don’t need to worry about such history.
It was ugly, but as they say, a win is a win. The Cardinals escaped their first visit to Lucas Oil Stadium with a 16-13 overtime victory against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Phil Dawson, who missed a 42-yard field goal attempt that would’ve won it at the end of regulation, made good on a 30-yard try in overtime and the Cardinals avoided their first 0-2 start since 2005.
The Colts had the ball first in overtime. But on the very first snap, quarterback Jacoby Brissett was picked off by Tyrann Mathieu. Four plays later, Dawson kicked the ball through the uprights.
Brissett, who got the nod over Scott Tolzien with the injury of Andrew Luck, went 20-of-37 for 216 yards.
Arizona (1-1) looked out of sync from the get-go. The offense, missing five starters, had zero net yards in the first six plays, twice going 3-and-out. The defense, meanwhile, surrendered 10 first-quarter points. Keep in mind, the Colts (0-2) scored nine points total in a Week 1 loss at the L.A. Rams.
The Colts led 10-3 at halftime.
It stayed that way until the fourth quarter.
After a second Adam Vinatieri field goal put the Colts ahead 13-3, the Cardinals scored 10 straight points, including a Carson Palmer to J.J. Nelson 45-yard touchdown, to tie the game.
Palmer had 332 passing yards but completed only 19-of-36 attempts and was intercepted, his fourth in two games.
Nelson led the Cardinals with five catches for 120 receiving yards. Jaron Brown caught four balls for 73 yards, while Larry Fitzgerald added three for 21 yards.
And in the first game without David Johnson, it was Chris Johnson who had the most success running the football with 44 rushing yards on 11 carries.
After allowing the Colts 79 first-quarter yards, seven first downs and 4-of-6 third downs converted, the Cardinals defense held its ground in the second quarter. The Colts had just 17 total yards on 12 plays with two first downs and one successful third down. In addition, both Josh Mauro and Chandler Jones recorded sacks, the latter ending the first half. Jones now has at least one sack in for straight games, tied for the third-longest streak in franchise history.
All he does is score touchdowns. Nelson made it seven total touchdowns in his last seven games and nine (eight receiving and one rushing) in his last 11 games overall with a 45-yard catch to pull the Cardinals within 13-10 at the 7:38 mark of the fourth quarter. The seven-play drive twice saw the Cardinals convert on third down, first a 3rd-and-1 on a Palmer quarterback sneak and then on a 3rd-and-20 on a Brown’s 22-yard reception.
Three third downs the Colts converted on their opening possession. This, after they failed on 10 third-down tries last week. But that wasn’t the most egregious mistake(s) by the Cardinals. This was: on a 29-yard field goal attempt, Rodney Gunter was flagged for leverage, giving the Colts an automatic first down. Two plays later, Frank Gore rushed up the middle for a five-yard touchdown and 7-0 lead at the 7:38 mark of the first quarter.
From bad to worse. Losing yards on back-to-back plays — Kerwynn Williams minus-two and Andre Ellington minus-six yards — the Cardinals went from 1st-and-goal at the 8 to 3rd-and-goal at the 16 early in the second quarter. J.J. Nelson caught a 15-yard pass to put the ball at the 1. The Cardinals went for it on fourth down, but a fade to Fitzgerald fell incomplete as the pass attempt by Palmer was not a good one. Fitzgerald tried to adjust his body to the football but to no avail.
Two more third downs were converted by the Colts — at this point in the game, they were 8-of-15 in such situations — on a fourth-quarter scoring drive that put the home team ahead by 10, 13-3, with 11:42 remaining in the game. Vinatieri made good on a 29-yard field goal to cap a 16-play, 76-yard drive that took more than nine minutes off the clock. The Colts moved the chains on 3rd-and-1 as well as 3rd-and-7; the latter a 12-yard throw to Kamar Aiken.
STAT OF THE GAME, part I
120: Nelson recorded his third career 100-yard receiving game.
STAT OF THE GAME, part II
8-18: The Colts converted 8-of-18 on third down as compared to the Cardinals’ 6-of-15 mark.
HE SAID IT, part I
“Quarterback,” Arians told Paul Calvisi on the Arizona Cardinals Radio Network when asked why the offense wasn’t clicking in the first half.
HE SAID IT, part II
“We got in our way a lot today,” Arians said postgame, adding about how Palmer and the offense can get in more of a rhythm, “We have to block a lot better, and we got to run the ball better, too. This was a defensive win.”
– Fitzgerald’s second-quarter catch gave him a reception in 197 straight games, the third-longest streak in NFL history.
– Palmer’s second-quarter pass to rookie WR Chad Williams moved him into 13th place on NFL’s all-time passing yardage list.
– Palmer’s 300-yard passing performance marked his 23rd in a Cardinals uniform, establishing a new franchise record.
– Will Holden, the team’s fifth-round draft pick, made his NFL debut in the first quarter. He reported eligible as a tight end.
– Arizona moved to 5-0 against teams from the AFC South under Arians, including 2-0 vs. the Colts.
– The Cardinals earned their 19th road victory under Arians, tied for the most such wins in franchise history.
– Arians earned his 42nd victory as the Cardinals head coach, tied for the second-most in franchise history.
– With the win, Palmer earned his 36th victory as the Cardinals quarterback, tied for the third-most in franchise history.
– Among the Cardinals listed inactives were tight end Jermaine Gresham plus linemen D.J. Humphries and Mike Iupati.
After back-to-back road games to open the season, the Cardinals will play a home game.
They return to University of Phoenix Stadium for the first time since training camp for a Week 3 contest against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, Sept. 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning four hours earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.
The Cardinals have won four straight in the series, including twice in overtime.
The former NFC East foes last met in 2014 in Dallas. The Cardinals won that game, 28-17. They also were victorious in the Cowboys’ most recent visit to Phoenix in 2011, 19-13 in overtime.
Overall, the Cowboys lead 55-32-1 in a series that dates back to 1960.