Rapid Reaction: Cardinals slip past 49ers on Fitz’s OT grab
That was a close one.
The Arizona Cardinals used a 19-yard catch from Larry Fitzgerald in overtime to pull out an 18-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, pulling themselves to 2-2 on the year over the still-winless NFC West foes.
Here’s some quick reaction from the staff of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and ArizonaSports.com on the game.
Of course, you can get more reaction Monday, starting at 6 a.m. with Doug & Wolf and continuing with The Blitz with Bertrand Berry & Mike Jurecki and Bickley & Marotta — who will both broadcast from the Cardinals practice facility in Tempe. Then, Burns & Gambo will wrap up the day’s analysis on your drive home from 2-6 p.m.
Vince Marotta, Co-host of Bickley & Marotta
I don’t have the time, but I do have the inclination to research how many times an NFL team has gone on a 17-play, 73-yard scoring drive in overtime and lost.
I don’t imagine it’s happened too many times, so congrats to Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers. A game featuring only (or marred by, depending on how you want to look at it) field goals ended in overtime when Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald on a 19-yard touchdown pass to give the Cardinals an 18-15 win, evening their record at 2-2 on the season.
Some issues that have plagued the Cardinals were improved upon, but the biggest — the offensive line — continues to be a problem. Palmer was sacked six times and hit 16 others by a young San Francisco defense that had only three sacks in three games heading into the contest. Palmer is as tough as nails and despite a horrible red-zone pick in the first half, played well again, throwing for 357 yards on the day.
Help is hopefully on the way with D.J. Humphries and Alex Boone returning from injuries, but there’s a ticking clock on Palmer’s health. Taking that kind of punishment week-in and week-out is ominous for the Cardinals heading into the second quarter of the season.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo
Of course that’s how that game ended. One of the most cringe-worthy contests we’ve seen the Cardinals produce in the Arians-Palmer era ended with the legend Larry Fitzgerald adding to his already overstuffed legacy. The throw was terrific and the catch was gutsy. That the Cardinals were able to produce that drive after being left so little time was a borderline miracle given their level of offensive ineptitude most of the game.
Optimism will not be high after this win, nor should it be. Their only wins have come in overtime against the Colts and 49ers, two of the worst teams in football. But at least at 2-2, Arizona has bought itself more time to see if it can fix what’s broken, namely an offensive line that has turned Carson Palmer into a piñata. Somebody check him to make sure he’s not leaking candy.
Hopefully, D.J. Humphries can come back and restore order. Kicker Phil Dawson restored a little lost faith in his ability. If Andre Ellington can fix the drops, he might be able to help. The Markus Golden injury looms large.
John Gambadoro, Co-host of Burns & Gambo
A win is a win right? I guess so. It’s better than a loss or a tie, which looked very possible until the last play of the game when Mr. Spectacular Larry Fitzgerald saved the day. That the Cardinals could win when Carson Palmer was sacked six times, hit 20 and hurried 25 is a miracle — or its because they played the 49ers. Not sure they beat many other teams in NFL playing like that.
Look, the entire Red Sea nation knows the offensive line is garbage with D.J. Humphries and Mike Iupati out. There have to be changes, and there has to be someone on a practice squad somewhere that is better than what they have across the board. Maybe even on a couch somewhere.
Good news is at least Phil Dawson didn’t miss a kick. Bad news is I’m not sure that Palmer can hold up much longer; the cumulative effect of all these hits will take a toll. It has to. He got buried today, and you have to respect the fact he stayed in and finished this game. At 2-2 the Cards are alive and still in the hunt, but unless the offensive line improves dramatically and in a hurry, that won’t last much longer.
Craig Grialou, Reporter
When in doubt, just throw the ball to Fitz!
At 34-years-young, Larry Fitzgerald continues to impress.
One week after tying a career-high with 13 catches, Fitzgerald catches just four balls, but none more important than the game-winner, a 19-yard toss from Carson Palmer with 32 seconds left in overtime to perhaps save the Cardinals’ season.
That’s right, Fitzgerald may have just saved the season because there is a big difference between 1-3 and 2-2, especially with the way the Los Angeles Rams are playing through the first quarter of 2017.
Luke Lapinski, host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski
If you watch football for the field goals — and who doesn’t? — this was the game for you.
The Cardinals opened the game with an impressive drive that ended with Carson Palmer throwing an interception on an ill-advised pass into the end zone. And early in the second quarter, Andre Ellington nearly made a diving touchdown catch that was ultimately reviewed and ruled incomplete.
That’s how close Arizona was to going up 14-3. Instead the Cardinals traded field goals with San Francisco for three and a half hours. But the defense stepped up late, and that set the stage for Larry Fitzgerald to come through with the game on the line.
Not pretty. But it’s a win over a division rival, and navigating through a shaky NFC West might be Arizona’s best shot at making the playoffs this season. Plus, 2-2 looks a lot better than 1-3 or 1-2-1 heading to Philadelphia next week.
Craig Morgan, reporter
It’s impossible to come away from the Cardinals’ 18-15 win over the 49ers brimming with optimism about this team’s prospects. San Francisco had lost 17 of its last 18 games and carried the NFC’s worst record over the last two seasons into this game. The only positive is that the Cardinals found a way to win, and for that, they can thank Larry Fitzgerald once again.
A loss would have been disastrous; likely season threatening. This win just felt like a push to keep pace with the Rams and Seahawks in the NFC West as Arizona’s patchwork offensive line hopes for a little more health and depth next week in Philadelphia.
Doug Franz, Co-host of the Doug & Wolf show
The Browns are the most atrocious thing I’ve seen in football. The Colts and 49ers are the 31st- and 30th-best teams in the NFL. Arizona needed overtime to beat team 31 and 30.
Sure, there were positives: Phil Dawson, Andre Ellington, Carson Palmer and the Cards’ defense in regulation.
The negatives far out-weigh the positives. Evan Boehm put forth one of the worst games by any guard in the NFL. The dropped passes would have killed any chance of winning against a good team. Another game where special teams didn’t have a big punt return, blocked kick or big kickoff return.
Carson Palmer has no chance to start 16 games at the rate of punishment he’s taking. Markus Golden had his worst game against the run and then left the game after taking a shot to the leg from Budda Baker.
If the Cardinals go 3-0 or at least 2-1 with a win over the Rams, let’s talk positives. Until then, don’t ask me to get excited about an NFL team treading water with a weak schedule.