Cardinals’ 37-34 overtime win over the Titans: By the numbers
The Arizona Cardinals blew a 17-point lead but kept their playoff hopes alive with a 37-34 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans Sunday.
Here’s a look back at the team’s fourth straight win over the AFC South by the numbers:
Despite the gut-wrenching, three-point victory, Arizona didn’t make any head way in the race for the final two Wild Card spots in the NFC, as Carolina and San Francisco both won, as well.
After missing a pair of kicks in Arizona’s 30-10 win over St. Louis in Week 14, Jay Feely responded with a perfect 3-for-3 day in Nashville, connecting on attempts of 25, 41 and 47 yards — including the game-winner in overtime.
Sunday’s victory clinched the Cardinals’ (9-5) fourth winning season since moving to the Valley before the 1988 season. The other three campaigns came in 1998 (9-7), 2008 (9-7) and 2009 (10-6).
The Titans’ 16-play touchdown drive in the third quarter was aided by four penalties for first downs committed by the Cardinals, including personal fouls by Antoine Cason, Marcus Bernard and Rashad Johnson.
Daryl Washington and Calais Campbell pushed that number to six penalties with a taunting infraction and late-hit infraction respectively in the fourth quarter.
Tennessee didn’t reach the red zone until the 7:30 mark of the third quarter.
Delanie Walker’s one-yard touchdown reception was the 15th allowed by Arizona to a tight end in 2013. In fact, tight ends have reached the end zone in nine of 14 games the Cardinals have played in this season.
Antoine Cason returned his first interception as a member of the Cardinals for a 20-yard score in the fourth quarter. Arizona has recorded three pick-sixes in its last four games. Cason had one prior interception return for a touchdown back in 2008.
The former Arizona standout also set up the Cardinals’ game-winning score in overtime with a second interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Coming out of halftime, Bruce Arians elected to have Jay Feely pooch a kick on the opening kickoff. The ball was fumbled and recovered by Antoine Cason at the Tennessee 23-yard line. The Cardinals’ turned the muffed kickoff into three points.
Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 69 yards in the win, but his most important work came on the goal line. The first-year Cardinal scored two rushing touchdowns for the first time since Nov. 4, 2011 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In four wins of the AFC South this season, Arizona averaged 32.75 points per game, scoring no fewer than 27 points in any of the contests.
Because of their 17-point comeback in the fourth quarter, the Titans matched the season-high 34 points the Seattle Seahawks put on the Cardinals back in Week 7.
Rookie running back Andre Ellington led Arizona in receiving Sunday. The sixth-round pick out of Clemson caught four passes for a career-high 87 yards, including a 37-yard reception that set up the Cardinals’ second touchdown of the afternoon.
Tight end Jake Ballard’s six-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter was his first of the season and first since Dec. 11, 2011 when he was a member of the New York Giants.
Carson Palmer reached the 3,500-yard mark for the sixth time in his career. As the Cardinals’ Vice President of Media Relations Mark Dalton pointed out, Palmer is one of five quarterbacks to have six or more seasons of 3,500 yards and 20 touchdown passes. The others are Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Drew Brees.