Tony Jefferson seals an Arizona Cardinals’ win with a big play

Oct 26, 2015, 10:48 PM
Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (22) celebrates his interception in the end zone dur...

Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (22) celebrates his interception in the end zone during the final seconds of the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 26-18. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For a few moments Monday night, it looked like Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson might be a player disgruntled fans would point a finger of blame toward.

After all, the third-year safety had been beaten twice on the Baltimore Ravens’ last (and potentially game-tying) drive for completions. The first one was a nine-yard pass from Joe Flacco to tight end Crockett Gillmore on a fourth-and-1.

Four plays later, Flacco and Gillmore hooked up again at Jefferson’s expense on a 23-yard completion that gave the Ravens a first-and-goal at the Cards’ four-yard line.

Jefferson would redeem himself. On second-and-goal from the nine-yard line following a Baltimore penalty, rookie linebacker Markus Golden pressured Flacco on a blitz and the veteran quarterback lofted the ball into the end zone toward Gillmore.

Due to the pressure, however, Flacco sailed the ball over the 6-foot-6 tight end’s head and Jefferson made a tremendous over-the-shoulder catch and slid down in bounds for the game-clinching interception in a 26-18 Monday Night Football win.

“He had caught two passes on me already, of course they’re going to go back at me,” Jefferson said after the game. “So I knew the ball was coming to me. So I tried to play at the goal line and he threw it up for him and I caught it.”

Jefferson’s pick was the second of his career. His first was a 26-yard return for a touchdown in a Week 2 win over the Chicago Bears. But this one was bigger.

“I knew the ball was coming to us — me and him,” Jefferson said. “I knew one of us was going to make a play and I already gave up the big pass, so there was no way I was going to let him catch that one.”

Flacco, who threw the pick, explained the play from his viewpoint.

“I was looking to throw the ball to Crockett there,” he said. “With the matchup, I thought he might get on top of the guy, but it just worked out a little bit different. So, (Jefferson) ended up in a better position.

“I thought we had the matchup on the all-out blitz and he was a big guy on a little guy, so I gave it a chance.”

Arizona Cardinals

J.J. Watt #99 and Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals take a knee during an injury timeout ...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ season a ‘massive failure’ in eyes of J.J. Watt, Kyler Murray

The once promising Cardinals season came to an unceremonious end on Monday, along with it any and all of the good feelings left from 2021.
6 hours ago
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals looks on from the side line in the second quart...
Kellan Olson

Kliff Kingsbury: Struggles in 2nd half of seasons ‘definitely a priority’ to fix

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has seen one of his football teams melt down in the second half of the season yet again.
6 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin, left, sits on the bench with teammates during the seco...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals self-destruct in glaring Wild Card loss to Rams

The Cardinals' return to the postseason was quick and painful in a 34-11 shellacking at the hands of NFC West division winner L.A. Rams.
6 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. walks off the field after the Los Angeles Rams defeat...
Arizona Sports

Rapid reactions: Cardinals’ season ends with underwhelming loss to Rams

Arizona Sports hosts, editors and reporters give their main takeaways from the Cardinals' underwhelming loss to the Rams in the playoffs.
6 hours ago
Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during warmups before the game against...
Dan Bickley

Kliff Kingsbury has to go after Cardinals’ embarrassing loss to Rams

It’s time for a change. A new plan. A new head coach. And to complete the reboot, the team should unveil a host of brand new uniforms.
6 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury walks off the field after the Los Angeles Rams defeate...
Vince Marotta

Kingsbury, Murray look like deer in headlights in 1st playoff game

What happened in L.A. Monday night wasn't a game. A game requires two teams to show up. Only one did. And that team wasn't the Cardinals.
6 hours ago
Tony Jefferson seals an Arizona Cardinals’ win with a big play