Markus Golden nets strip-sack as Cardinals jump on Giants in 1st half
Twice in the past three games, Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Markus Golden has given his team a jolt to begin a game.
It’s just been a matter of what they’ve done with those opportunities.
On Sunday against his former team, the New York Giants, Golden forced a strip-sack on quarterback Daniel Jones, picked up the loose ball and returned it 30 yards to the New York 9-yard line.
Though the Cardinals couldn’t score, it set a tone for a defense that shined as Arizona led 13-0 at halftime.
Following Golden’s strip-sack, the Cardinals moved the ball to the 1-yard line on Christian Kirk’s catch-and-run to the perimeter, but he was stopped short of the end zone by Giants linebacker Blake Martinez.
Arizona running back Kenyan Drake was stuffed on third down, and Kyler Murray’s pass to KeeSean Johnson fell incomplete on fourth down to spoil an opportunity.
It was much like two weeks ago. Against the New England Patriots, Golden recorded an early interception that led to a touchdown. In that instance, the Cardinals broke the 0-0 tie, but they would muster 10 more points the rest of the day in a 20-17 loss.
While Arizona on Sunday couldn’t score after Golden’s forced fumble and long return, they at least got decent field position. That mattered for the rest of the half.
A stop of the Giants on the next possession resulted in Cardinals kicker Mike Nugent, in his first appearance this year, making a 34-yard field goal for a 3-0 Arizona lead with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
Arizona would net another field goal before a special teams fumble recovery by Trent Sherfield set up a touchdown drive.
On 3rd-and-7 at the Giants 7-yard line, Murray floated a lob pass for tight end Dan Arnold in the back of the end zone for a high-point grab that put the Cardinals ahead, 13-0, with 6:59 left in the first half.