Big Red Recap: Dawson finds redemption as Cards upset Jags
Nov 26, 2017, 6:54 PM | Updated: 8:46 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Redemption.
Having missed a half-dozen kicks this season, Phil Dawson made good on all four of his field goal attempts. That last proved to be the game-winner, a 57-yard career-long make with one second remaining to lift the Arizona Cardinals past visiting Jacksonville, 27-24, at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Arizona victory snapped a two-game losing streak and ended the Jaguars’ season-long, four-game winning streak.
Prior to Dawson’s heroics, Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed passes of 10 and 12 yards to put the Cardinals (5-6) in position for their first home win since Week 6. He finished 22-of-38 for 241 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Cardinals led for much of the game. They jumped in front 13-0 and had a 16-10 advantage entering the fourth quarter. And that’s when the real fun began.
There were two lead changes and one tie in the final period; the latter coming after Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles scored on a 17-yard run, his second rushing touchdown of the game to make it 24-all.
On the ground is where Bortles had most of his success.
Facing the NFL’s No. 1 rushing offense, the Cardinals held the Jaguars (7-4) to 91 yards. Bortles had 62, while Leonard Fournette was limited to 25 on 12 carries.
The Cardinals still have not lost three games in a row under head coach Bruce Arians.
For only the third time this season, the Cardinals’ defense recovered a fumble. Even better, the Cardinals’ offense converted the turnover into points, a 42-yard field goal that extended the lead to 6-0 at the 9:00 mark of the first quarter. The fumble was caused by Josh Bynes, who knocked the ball loose from Chris Ivory on the back’s first carry of the game). It was recovered by Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby.
One play after catching a six-yard pass to convert a 3rd-and-4, Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones caught a 29-yard pass for a touchdown and 13-0 lead at the 4:44 mark of the second quarter. With that score, Seals-Jones became just the third rookie tight end in franchise history with at least three touchdown receptions in a season, joining Robert Awalt (6 in 1987) and Doug Marsh (4 in 1980).
It was quite the first half for Arizona pass-rusher Chandler Jones. Twice he sacked Bortles, twice he tackled Fournette for a loss and he also added one pass defensed. He finished with four total tackles, all for loss. Jones now has 12 sacks this season, thus becoming the first player in franchise history with 11+ sacks in back-to-back seasons since Freddie Joe Nunn did so in 1987 (11.0) and 1988 (14.0).
Held under 30 rushing yards in each of the past two weeks, Cardinals back Adrian Peterson carried the ball seven times for a 5.1 yard average, including a long of 10, in just the third quarter. Peterson entered the fourth quarter with 15 carries for 65 rushing yards, or 10 more yards than he had against the Seahawks and Texans in the previous two games combined. He finished the game with 79 rushing yards on 20 attempts for a 4.0-yard per carry average. He also had four catches for 20 yards.
Hard to fault a team that holds its opponent to 70 total yards — and just 30 rushing yards — in the first half, but here’s one area that the Cardinals need to improve upon: Penalties. The Cardinals were flagged seven times, six in the second quarter alone. Two of those were false start penalties, including one on Jermaine Gresham, his fourth such penalty this season and 10th overall.
After being held to 70 total yards in the first half, the Jaguars opened the second half with a 75-yard scoring drive. Bortles scored from one yard out on 4th-and-goal, pulling the visitors to within 16-10 at the 7:33 mark of the third quarter. Earlier on the seven-play drive, Bortles, on a designed run, rushed for 28 yards, by far the Jaguars’ best play to that point of the game.
For the second straight game, Gabbert turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter. He fumbled and was intercepted. The fumble was recovered by former Cardinals end Calais Campbell and returned 10 yards for a touchdown, handing the Jaguars their first lead of the game, 17-16, at the 12:10 mark of the period. On the interception, Gabbert was throwing to Chad Williams and never saw Barry Church.
STAT OF THE GAME
4: Dawson’s game-winner was his fourth made field goal of the game and his seventh straight.
HE SAID IT
“Well, it felt good, but I got to give credit to the guys up front,” said Dawson, speaking to sideline reporter Paul Calvisi on the field moments after the win.
– Gabbert recorded multiple touchdown passes in back-to-back games for the second time in his career.
– Jones recorded his 15th game with multiple sacks. Only J.J. Watt (16) has more such efforts since 2013.
– Seals-Jones went into the locker room soon after his touchdown catch to be evaluated for a concussion.
– Deone Bucannon limped off the field and into the locker room with a right ankle injury in the first quarter.
– Kerwynn Williams exited the game and went into the locker room with injured ribs in the second quarter.
– With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 8-1 at home against teams from the AFC South under Arians.
– With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 3-2 against the Jaguars, having won the past three meetings.
– The Cardinals won the coin toss and deferred, something the team has now down only twice this season.
– Among the Cardinals listed inactives were John Brown (toe) and Corey Peters (ankle).
– Olympic gold medalist and Arizona resident Michael Phelps cranked The “Big Red” Siren during pregame.
Another home game.
The Cardinals host the L.A. Rams on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:25 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning four hours earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
It’s the second of two meetings this season.
The Rams beat the Cardinals in Week 7, 33-0, in London, and they’ve beaten the Cardinals in each of the past two matchups in Arizona.
Overall, the series, which dates back to 1937, is even at 38-38-2.