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Notes from the Nest: Cardinals vs. Browns

Have a question about the game you want answered? How
about a thought of your own? Email Adam at
agreen@arizonasports.com or tweet him at @theAdamGreen.

10:56 left in Skelton time

Feely boots a field goal from 22-yards out, Cardinals win.
Playoff hopes live to see another day, and the Cards reach
the .500 mark on the season.


11:19 left in what is again Skelton time

3rd down sees Skelton hit Fitzgerald on a beautiful pass,
good for 32 yards. The Cards are, as they say, in
business.


12:45 left in Peterson time

Browns pick up a first down but nothing more, as Wallace
throws incomplete on third down. Browns forced to punt,
and Maynard has been huge today kicking away from
Peterson.

Not this time, as PP21 returns the kick to the Cleveland
40.


15:00 left in Peterson time

Kickoff goes for a touchback, Browns have ball at their
20.


15:00 left in Peterson time

Browns win the toss and will receive, meaning the
Cardinals defense gets right back on the field. They’ve
played pretty well since the first drive of the game, save
one long pass when they got burned on a blitz. Need
another stop here.

Oh yeah, remember that time the Cardinals recovered a
fumble, had first and goal from the five and had to settle
for a field goal? Thought so.


End of regulation

That was about it, the Cardinals punt and the clock
reaches 0. We’re tied at 17, and some fans are heading for
the exits. Do they realize overtime is about to happen?

Oh, it’s no longer Skelton time.


:43 left in Skelton time

Cards start their drive at their own 30 with one timeout
in the bag. Skelton hits Roberts for 9.


:52 left in Skelton time

Wallace throws out of bounds, Cardinals should get the
ball back with great field position. Big return chance for
PP21 here.


:57 left in Skelton time

Four more yards, another timeout. Big third down.


1:03 left in Skelton time

Browns give to Hillis on first down, he picks up two and
the Cards call timeout. They have two left, should they
keep getting stops.


1:10 left in Skelton time

Punt pins the Browns at their 9…how conservative are
they here? They’re 2-10, no reason not to air it out.
Defense needs to come up big again.


1:17 left in Skelton time

3rd and2 pass bounces off a Brown, not sure where Skelton
was going with that one. Zastudil on to punt.


1:28 left in Skelton time

Direct snap goes to Hyphen, who picks up two and keeps the
drive alive. Skelton hits Roberts for 8 on the next play,
and the Cards are in Browns territory.


2:00 left in Skelton time

Cardinals are moving the ball, with Skelton being bailed
out BIG TIME by Andre Roberts on a ball that very easily
could have been picked off.

It’s 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 48. I’d be tempted to run
it right up the middle here.


3:15 left in Skelton time

Cardinals give up some yards but ultimately hold, and
Maynard’s punt goes out of bounds at the 11. That guy has
had a GREAT game.

Anyway, Cards have the ball with a chance to go and win
the game.


5:31 left in fourth quarter

Penalty on the return means Browns begin drive from their
own 17. Can the D come up with another stop?


5:40 left in fourth quarter

Mike Miller calls one of the worst series of plays you’ll
ever see, as the Cardinals go from 1st and goal at the 5
to losing 10 yards before kicking a 33-yard field goal.
Game is tied, but the team should have a lead.


7:00 left in fourth quarter

It’s a fumble! The Cardinals get the ball at the Cleveland
five, with a great opportunity to take the lead here late.
Defense FINALLY gets a turnover, and it could not have
come at a better time.


7:00 left in fourth quarter

O’Brien Schofield with back-to-back sacks and the
Cardinals will get the ball back in great field position.

Wait, it may have been a fumble. At least, that’s what
Coach Whiz is thinking as he throws the red challenge
flag.


8:27 left in fourth quarter

Browns return kick to the 19, where the Arizona defense
has a chance to give the Cards the ball with plenty of
time. Get a three and out and they’ll be in great shape,
still plenty of time.

Of course, a turnover would be alright, too.


8:33 left in fourth quarter

It is the fourth quarter, which means it’s Skelton time.
Arizona drives 87 yards for the touchdown, with Skelton
looking pretty sharp on the drive. It’s capped by 1-yard
Wells run, and the Cards are once again down by three.


13:22 left in fourth quarter

Cards force an incomplete pass, and the ensuing punt is
fair caught at the Arizona 13. How about a touchdown drive
here. Does that sound alright? Maybe even get the ball to
No. 11?


13:34 left in fourth quarter

Browns call timeout facing a crucial 3rd and 5. Ball is at
their own 49, and have a variety of plays they can run
here with a mobile QB like Wallace. Cards D really needs a
turnover, but at this point they’ll take a stop.


End of third quarter

Well that could have been better.

The Cardinals lost the quarter 7-0 and trail in the game
17-7. The Browns have the ball and momentum, and a score
here would almost seem like enough. The Cardinals picked a
great day to lay an egg, both offensively and defensively.
They’re not out of it yet, but something has to happen
soon.


1:04 left in third quarter

Yeah, about that…Skelton’s pass to Doucet in tight
coverage bounces off the receiver and into the hands of a
Browns defensive back, with the interception giving
Cleveland the ball and the look of a team that might pull
off the upset.

Not good.


2:53 left in third quarter

Cards get a break when the Browns are penalized for a
facemask on the kick return, and will begin their drive
from the 50. Down 17-7, I think it’s safe to say points
are a must on this drive.


3:01 left in third quarter

A 3rd and 8 turns into a 76-yard touchdown pass from
Wallace to Little, who beats Daryl Washington down the
field. Umm, why was a middle linebacker covering receiver?
Browns extend their lead to 17-7.


4:21 left in third quarter

Hillis gets the carry on 3rd and 1, and the Madden cover
boy gets just enough for the first down. Moving along.


6:22 left in third quarter

Nevermind.

Skelton misses Fitzgerald on 3rd and 7 on a throw that was
bad by some accounts, good by others. Regardless, it’s
incomplete and the Cards punt. Cribbs fair catches the
ball a the Cleveland 12, and the battle of field position
continues.


7:23 left in third quarter

Offense is moving.

Skelton hits King down the seem for 24, and the running
game has been solid, too. Cards are at midfield.


10:07 left in third quarter

Cardinals get the stop, but a hold on the punt return
pushes the ball back to the Arizona 13, where the drive
will start.


12:15 left in third quarter

Cardinals drive stalls after an incomplete pass. Skelton
was under heavy pressure and missed Todd Heap. Would have
been a great play/throw. Defense gets back on the field,
Browns begin drive from their own 28.


15:00 left in third quarter

Cardinals will start from their 19, where you have to hope
the momentum gained at the end of the first half carries
over.

Some interesting stats:

Skelton: 9/11 for 81 yards and 1 TD in the second quarter,
13/19 for 114 and 1 TD overall.

Wells: 22 yards on six carries.

Browns: 50 net yards in the second quarter. Welcome back,
defense.

Halftime

The second quarter > the first quarter. Defense seemed to
settle in and the offense got into a rhythm, so things are
looking up-ish.


:19 left in second quarter

You can call me NostraGreenus. Skelton hits Roberts in the
back of the end zone with a really nice pass, and the
Cardinals cut the lead to 10-7. Great drive by the Cards
QB, who looks like he found his way there. Assuming the
Cardinals don’t allow anything in the final 20 seconds,
you gotta feel good about them right now.


:25 left in second quarter

Cardinals burn their final timeout, with it being second
and seven from the Browns’ 9. Time for a couple shots in
the end zone, sure, but really can’t afford to be stopped
short.

My gut feeling is the Cards punch it in.


:46 left in second quarter

Pass is ruled incomplete. That one’s on Doucet. Big drop.


:37 left in second quarter

Skelton hits Doucet on a really nice pass, great play
call. Problem is Doucet lost the ball as he was hit.
Ruling on the field is a catch, but the guys upstairs are
taking a look. I’m thinking no catch, but Cards may get
the benefit of the doubt here because of the ruling on the
field.


:51 left in second quarter

It’s a hurry-up offense so naturally Skelton looks good.
He’s made some excellent throws on this drive, even
completing a pass while being dragged to the ground. The
Cards are at the Cleveland 23 and, with one timeout left,
have plenty of time to try and get a touchdown.

By the way, think Coach Whiz regrets wasting a timeout on
a bad challenge earlier?


1:49 left in second quarter

Cardinals get the stop as a shovel-pass gone awry goes,
well, awry. Punt goes out of bounds, much to the dismay of
the booing crowd. I guess they like watching Patrick
Peterson return kicks.

Cardinals will start the drive at their own 35 with plenty
of time on the clock and two timeouts. They get the ball
to start the second half, would be huge to get some points
here.


2:00 left in second quarter

Cardinals defense has a chance here to make a play. The
Browns are facing a 3rd and 11 from their 28, meaning a
stop here would give the Cardinals the ball back with OK
field position and some time to put a drive together.


6:13 left in second quarter

Cardinals were moving the ball but saw their drive stall
when Brandon Keith forgot to block a Brown on 3rd and
short. Cards punt and, with the help of a Cleveland
penalty, will pin their opponents at their own 8. If the
defense was ever going to get one of those elusive
turnovers, now would be as good a time as any.


11:25 left in second quarter

Stephens-Howling returns kick to the 22, giving the Cards
their best starting field position of the day. Wohoo!

Can Skelton get going here? Cards don’t want to fall too
far behind, need to start moving the ball.


11:33 left in second quarter

Whatever he saw, it wasn’t there. Replay “confirmed” the
ruling on the field, meaning there was zero doubt it was a
catch. Timeout gone, field goal good. Browns lead 10-0.


11:38 left in second quarter

The Browns pick up eight yards on a 3rd and 10, but Coach
Whiz doesn’t even think they got that. He tosses the
challenge flag out, hoping to force the Browns into
kicking a 51-yard field goal instead of a 43 yarder. The
play happened right in front of him so you have to think
he saw something.


13:03 left in second quarter

The Browns got the first down and their drive continues.
They now face a 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 36, with the
defense really needing a stop here. More than that, even,
when they get the ball back the offense MUST do something
with the ball.


End of first quarter

The first quarter ends and what do you know, the Browns
are driving. They face a 3rd and 4 from their own 48, and
even if the Cards get a stop they are still very much
losing the field position battle.

Down 7-0 after one, pretty sure no one in this building
saw this coming — including the Cardinals. Maybe this is
the wakeup call they needed.


3:52 left in first quarter

Drive stalls after Skelton throws to Heap for a gain of 10
on 3rd and 11. A little better, but not good enough. Punt
bounces into the end zone and the Browns will start from
the 20. Defense got it together on the last drive, can
they keep it up?


8:07 left in first quarter

Cards D holds, forcing a big three-and-out. Cards will
start their next drive from the 10, so I guess that’s some
improvement, right?


9:11 left in first quarter

Cards pick up a first down but then the drive stalls after
a short run was sandwiched in between a pair of errant
passes. Not the start Arizona wanted, as they’ll be giving
the Browns solid field position to go along with their
early lead.

And the punt is returned to the Arizona 45. Awesome.


11:25 left in first quarter

Block in the back pushes the Cards back to the three,
where Skelton will begin the drive. He’s started slow
pretty much every game he’s ever started, and the Cards
will need that to change today.


11:33 left in first quarter

Too easy. Peyton Hillis scores on a one-yard TD run and
the Browns take an early 7-0 lead. Can’t let a bad team
like that gain confidence, but allowing them to score on
their first drive of the game will do that.

Cardinals will need to slow Hillis, who had 35 yards on
five carries.


13:39 left in first quarter

Yeah, about setting the tone…Browns moving the ball at
will on their first drive, with Hillis picking up huge
chunks of yardage. Did the D read their own press
clippings this week?


15:00 left in first quarter

Cardinals will be kicking off first, giving the defense a
chance to set the tone early. Seneca Wallace gets the nod
for the Browns, and he’s, well, umm…not very good.


7:45 until kickoff

The Cardinals are introduced to the home crowd which,
though
announced as a sellout, is certainly a little light today.

I wouldn’t be too optimistic about it filling in late,
either, as there didn’t seem to be a lot of tailgaters on
the way in. Something about really cold weather and
powerful
wins makes people want to go inside.

On another weather-related note, the fact that I had no
jacket or long-sleeve shirt today was noticed by a few
people, who all asked if I was cold. I was, but the reason
I
have no long sleeve shirt is the majority of mine are
team-
related and I can’t wear those here. Ahh well, such is
life.