The 5: Best Cardinals performances on Monday Night Football

Sep 22, 2017, 7:49 AM | Updated: 11:34 am

Monday Night Football hasn’t always been kind to the Arizona Cardinals.

Yet, key players have stepped up during Monday games in the national spotlight, no matter if Arizona won or lost. Alright, you might guess that most of those big-time performances came in wins. And you’d be right.

Heading into the Cardinals’ showdown against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, let’s reminisce over five of the best individual performances on Monday Night Football.

Dec. 25, 1995 — Larry Centers shines vs. Cowboys

The Jerry Maguire game wasn’t much of a game for the Cardinals.

The outing ended with a 37-13 loss in Dallas’ last visit to Arizona for a Monday game, but there was one positive on the Cardinals’ end.

Fullback Larry Centers had 12 receptions on 13 targets for 172 yards, setting a franchise record for career receptions — it’s since been surpassed by Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin — and an NFL record for pass receptions by a running back to that point.

Nov. 10, 2008 – Warner and Dansby play heroes

Before Arizona’s run to the Super Bowl, it was quarterback Kurt Warner putting on a show against a 2-6 49ers team desperately trying to hang with the 5-3 Cardinals. He completed 32-of-42 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

San Francisco started the game with a kickoff return for a score and led 21-13 at halftime before Warner found Fitzgerald for a touchdown on the first second-half possession. San Francisco still led 24-23 late before an interception by Karlos Dansby, who also led the team with 10 tackles, set up a Warner-to-Anquan Boldin 4-yard touchdown pass with 4:16 to play.

The 49ers would threaten, but Arizona’s defense held on 3rd-and-goal at the 2-yard line to hang onto a 29-24 win.

So, should we give the game ball to Warner or Dansby?

Sept. 8, 2014 – Palmer lights up Chargers

Carson Palmer’s first Monday night game as a member of the Cardinals saw the quarterback step up when he was needed most.

Arizona trailed 17-6 heading into the fourth quarter when Palmer orchestrated a comeback. First, he capped a 10-play, 64-yard drive with a 5-yard pass to running back Stepfan Taylor. Then, Palmer led the Cardinals on an 11-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to John Brown with 2:25 remaining — that was Brown’s first career NFL touchdown catch.

Palmer finished 24-of-37 with 304 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Oct. 26, 2015, Chris Johnson rolls over Ravens

While Tony Jefferson sealed the 26-18 Cardinals win with an interception in the end zone, he also had a few mistakes leading into that.

If he’s not the player of the game, then Chris Johnson just might be.

Before David Johnson’s rise, the veteran running back put together a strong campaign to hang onto his starting job, and on Monday Night Football, he had his best game as a Cardinal with 122 rushing yards on 18 carries, including a touchdown.

He also put together two highlight-reel plays: a 26-yard touchdown jaunt and a 62-yard run aided by a roll-over of a defender. The Ravens thought the play was dead, but Johnson continued on, setting up a field goal.

Oct. 17, 2016 — David Johnson jets on the Jets

Last year’s 28-3 win over Jets might’ve been a snoozer for fans expecting a competitive game.

But in Arizona, David Johnson’s 58-yard touchdown run in the first quarter helped him close with three touchdowns and 111 rushing yards on 22 carries. Johnson added three catches for 27 more yards and he propped up his 157-yard rushing performance a week prior.

By that point, if it wasn’t clear enough, it became apparent Johnson was the real deal.

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The 5: Best Cardinals performances on Monday Night Football