Peterson gets pick-six, forced fumble to help Cardinals take halftime lead

Aug 26, 2018, 6:51 PM | Updated: 8:53 pm

Arizona Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson (21) runs into the end zone with a touchdown foll...

Arizona Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson (21) runs into the end zone with a touchdown followed by teammate Benson Mayowa (91) after an interception during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

It looks like Patrick Peterson is thriving in his changed role on defense.

He cut off a route and intercepted a pass intended for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin on the sideline, allowing Peterson to prance into the end zone for an easy touchdown.

It gave the Cardinals a 14-0 lead in their preseason game on Sunday.

Peterson later forced a fumble against running back Rod Smith.

After practice Thursday, Peterson spoke about how the new defense under coordinator Al Holcomb will give him different responsibilities.

He said the zone-oriented defense will allow other defenders to “complement” his skill set.

“Now we have a more zone-oriented defense to where now everybody is looking at the quarterback, everybody is going to have the opportunity to break on the ball,” Peterson said.

That was crucial in his interception Sunday. Instead of chasing a receiver down field, Peterson broke on the ball quickly.

Last season, Peterson only had one interception, the lowest in his seven-year career. He has had two or three in every season except 2017 and 2012, when he had seven.

Though it’s dangerous to read too much into the preseason — especially when Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott didn’t play — it allows the coaching staff to see how players adapt to new roles.

“The thing that I love about Pat is he’s smart,” Holcomb said on Thursday. “We can move Pat around and do different things with him. I think it’s been beneficial.”

Against the Cowboys on Sunday, he gave a glimpse of what this could mean for the Cardinals defense going into the regular season.

Arizona Sports reporter Kevin Zimmerman contributed to this report.

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