Big week for Cardinals’ Jaron Brown highlighted by critical catch in Indy
The Arizona Cardinals desperately needed someone to make a play to ignite the offense.
After struggling to move the football consistently in Week 1, the Cardinals found themselves trailing 13-3 in the fourth quarter on the road in Week 2, staring at a potential loss to the Indianapolis Colts and an 0-2 record to open the 2017 season.
To keep their hopes alive, all the Cardinals had to do was convert on third down — from 20 yards out.
In an obvious passing down, the Cardinals lined up with three wide receivers to the left and two to the right. One of the players to the right of quarterback Carson Palmer was Jaron Brown.
“Not the ideal situation for us to be in,” Brown told Doug and Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “It was gut check time. We had to make a play. I did not have a great game up to that point and I really wanted to come through for the team.”
Facing pressure on his left side, Palmer had just enough time in the pocket to throw a bullet to Brown on the Arizona 38-yard line. Brown caught the ball and managed to gain two more yards before being tackled by the Colts’ Rashaan Melvin at the 40-yard line.
When the season ends, the Cardinals may look back and remember that throw and catch as “the play.” At the very least, Palmer’s right arm and Brown’s hands ignited the offense. Fellow wideout J.J. Nelson went on to score a touchdown on that drive, and the Cardinals scored 13 points in the final quarter to complete a 16-13 comeback victory.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) September 17, 2017
Almost every athlete will say they want the ball in their hands in a big situation — but Brown looked at the Colts’ coverage and knew before the snap he could get open.
“They dropped the coverage, they were pretty…I want to say cover 6, Hercules coverage,” Brown said. “I knew that if I could find that quarter man zone, I could get the ball pretty easily and Carson always finds a way.”
After only being targeted four times in the season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions, Brown was thrown to 11 times against the Colts. The fifth-year pro from Clemson said he did not expect to be featured that much.
“Uh, no,” Brown said. “You never know. It’s crazy. The previous week, I think I got targeted twice. Just 11 times, it’s phenomenal. I’ve got to make better catches and I’ve got to start making those plays.”
Brown finished the game with four receptions for 73 yards. Brown has now had 50 or more snaps in the first two games.
With John Brown’s health in question, the Cardinals will likely rely on Jaron Brown and Nelson to make big plays in the passing game.