Notes from the Nest: Cardinals vs. Chargers

Sep 9, 2014, 2:07 AM | Updated: 5:28 am

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Game over

Dwyer picks up a first down on a run and that’s it. Cards escape with a 18-17 win. Big. Very, very big.

1:43 left in fourth quarter

Larry Foote deflects Rivers’ fourth-down pass, Cards take over. They can’t quite kneel on the ball, but they’re close. It’s 2nd and 8.

2:00 left in fourth quarter

Chargers pick up 20 yards in two plays, which is way too easy. First and 10 from their 40.

2:25 left in fourth quarter

Catanzaro boots another kick for a touchback. Chargers begin at their 20. Can a defense that has yet to sack Rivers get to him? How about a turnover?

2:25 left in fourth quarter


Nice bubble screen to John Brown, who navigates his way into the end zone. Cardinals out on top for the first time since early in the third quarter. Two point conversion is no good, which is no good. Still, 18-17 Cardinals.

OK defense, you’re up.

2:59 left in fourth quarter

Fitz catches a pass, Floyd catches a pass, Cardinals are driving! First and 10 from the San Diego 13. Hmm..

6:50 left in fourth quarter

Rivers hits Gates on a long pass to get into Cards territory — deep, in fact — but the defense catches a break when a third-down snap goes over Rivers’ head and toward midfield. The loss took the Chargers out of field goal range and led to a punt, which was fair caught at the Arizona nine.

Not an enviable position, sure, but the Cards are down five so there’s a chance.

9:29 left in fourth quarter

Cardinals miss out on what could have been a HUGE defensive play when Tony Jefferson was called for holding Antonio Gates just before intercepting a pass intended for the TE. It was a questionable call.

Anyway, a couple plays later and it’s third and 13 from the San Diego 35. Plenty of time left in this one, especially if the Cardinals can get the ball back right now.

12:30 left in fourth quarter

Catanzaro blasts another kick into the end zone for a touchback, so the Chargers start at their 20. Defense has had its issues this half, but now would be a good time to get the offense the ball back.

12:30 left in fourth quarter

Hey, a touchdown! Palmer does a great job scrambling to avoid the rush and finds Stepfan Taylor all alone in the end zone for the score. The two-point conversion attempt fails (I’m not fond of it at that point in the game, but understand the call), and it’s 17-12 Chargers.

Oh, and for those of you keeping score, Fitz was targeted on a pass attempt that drive, though he was out of bounds when he made the one-handed catch.

End of third quarter

Hey, offense! Palmer narrowly avoids a pick trying to force the ball to Housler, who then makes a great catch later in the drive to give Arizona a first down. A couple touches for Ellington and it’s second and 11 from the Chargers 31.

2:13 left in third quarter

Defense forces a punt, which then takes a great AZ bounce and goes out at the Cards’ 35. Broken record time, but this would be a good spot for the offense to find a groove. Offensive line needs to do a better job than it has.

3:44 left in third quarter

Well, a false start by Massie (rough day for him) made it third and long, and Palmer throws it away in the general vicinity of Fitzgerald, so at least there’s that.

Butler punts, Chargers take over at their own 35.

4:02 left in third quarter

Cards face a very important third and four from their 26. A three-and-out would be really, really bad, especially with the way this half has gone.

Maybe the team will draw up a play for Fitzgerald, who has not been targeted yet in this game.

5:26 left in third quarter

Mathews takes a third-down handoff through a giant hole and heads to the end zone virtually untouched for a 20-yard score. Bad, bad turn of events for Arizona. Chargers up 17-6 and with the way the Cards offense looks, that may be enough. Need to see something from a group that had high expectations but so far no results.

6:43 left in third quarter

Cards seemed to be settling in nicely moving the ball a bit, but then Bobby Massie is beat by Jerry Attaochu for the sack/fumble of Palmer. Chargers recover, take over at the Arizona 29.

11;38 left in third quarter

Welp, Chargers converted the first down and just kept on going, with the drive ending when Malcolm Floyd caught a six-yard TD pass from Rivers.

John Abraham went down during the drive, and press box announcement says he’s being evaluated for a concussion.

Chargers up 10-6, and the Cardinals’ offense, which was supposed to be much improved, now has work to do.

13:44 left in third quarter

Air sucked out of the building as John Abraham is lying on the ground. He walks off under his own power (good sign), but we’ll see what’s up here. Cards can’t really afford to lose him, too.

Chargers facing a third and four from their own 43.


Carson Palmer, with time, makes a nice throw to Ginn that gets the Cardinals into field goal range, where Catanzaro connects from 44 yards out to give Arizona a 6-3 heading into the half.

It’s Kurt Warner Ring of Honor time, folks.

:16 left in second quarter

A little pressure on Rivers turns into a Jerraud Powers interception. He’s brought down at the Arizona 44. Cards have two timeouts left, do they have enough time to get into Catanzaro field goal range?

2:00 left in second quarter

Chargers pick up a first down on a dump off to Ryan Mathews. Chargers will pick up with the ball at their own 44 when we get back from the break.

3:22 left in second quarter

Offense doesn’t move much, save for a pass interference drawn by Michael Floyd after Carson Palmer did a great job to avoid the rush. By the way, the Cardinals’ tight ends are struggling to block, though Carlson and Housler are not exactly known for that part of their game.

Cards came close to converting on third down when Andre Ellington started dragging tacklers, but he couldn’t quite make it. Butler’s punt is a touchback.

6:00 left in second quarter

Defense does its job, with former Charger Thomas Keiser batting down Rivers’ third-down pass to end the drive. Novak’s field goal is good and the score is tied.

7:18 left in second quarter

Cards go three-and-out, and things are made worse when Butler’s punt is blocked. Ball rolls to the 17, where the Chargers will start. Remember that defense being stingy? Now would be a great time for a stand.

9:27 left in second quarter

So, remember all that concern over the Cardinals’ defense? Though the Chargers receivers aren’t helping Rivers at all, Arizona is doing a good job limiting the run and not allowing big plays via the pass.

Larry Foote, by the way, is having a great first half.

Chargers forced to punt, and the Cardinals will take over at their 33.

11:27 left in second quarter

Chargers call timeout as they face a 3rd and 1 from their own 29.

Much being made of the Cardinals not targeting Larry Fitzgerald once in the passing game. Something to be said for not forcing the ball to anyone, and I do think there was one play (Brown’s first catch) that the team wanted to find Fitz on, he just happened to be covered.

At any rate, don’t expect No. 11 to be held without a catch tonight.

12:42 left in second quarter

A nice run from Ellington and a 29-yard pass to Floyd get the Cardinals in the red zone (a roughing the passer penalty helped, too) but the offense stalls and ends up settling for a Chandler Catanzaro field goal.

Cardinals up 3-0, but they surely would have liked more.

End of first quarter

Defense does its job once again and forces a punt, which is fair caught at the Arizona 34. First play from scrimmage is a run. Interestingly enough, Jonathan Cooper was in the game for that play.

1:41 left in first quarter

Cards move the ball some but end up being forced to punt. Lucky it even came that, as Palmer could have had at least one ball picked (pass should have been). Another ball was dropped by John Brown, who made his first career reception earlier in the drive.

Punt bounces into the end zone, Chargers take over at their 20.

4:08 left in first quarter

Defense gives up some yards but ends up making a stand. Larry Foote with a nice tackle on a running play. Pass rush hasn’t quite gotten to Rivers, which is a problem. Secondary holding up well.

Punt sails into the end zone, Cards take over at their 20. Best starting field position of the day for them.

6:57 left in first quarter

Apparently there was, and the Chargers take over at the 28. Bad early turnover (as if there is ever a good time for one). Cards were moving and certainly in field goal range, now momentum changes sides.

6:45 left in first quarter

Ellington gets the ball on the next play and picks up good yardage, but coughs up the ball before going down. Bobby Massie chases it down and may have fallen onto it, but the Chargers come away from the pile with the ball. Refs rule Massie with the ball and down by contact, but Chargers coach Mike McCoy threw his red challenge flag onto the field.

Big early decision. Not sure if there is conclusive angle that says Massie doesn’t have the ball.

7:32 left in first quarter

Welcome to 2014, Michael Floyd, as Palmer finds the WR for a 63-yard gain to get them out of a big hole. Nice throw, excellent catch. Run play on first down nets five.

8:32 left in first quarter

Fair catch at the eight, maybe not the best decision by Ginn. Offense back to work.

8:33 left in first quarter

Defense steps up and on third down nearly come up with a pick when Jerraud Powers bats the ball away and toward Rashad Johnson. Johnson nearly came up with the pick — and acted like he did — but replays show the ball clearly hitting the ground. Bruce Arians challenged it anyway, though, and while he’s going to lose a timeout the Cardinals will still get the ball back via a punt.

9:46 left in first quarter

The Cards’ struggles defending the tight end continue, at least early. Antonio Gates makes a couple big catches and the Chargers are moving down the field. At their own 37 right now.

12:20 left in first quarter

Cardinals earn a first down on a nice pass from Carson Palmer to John Carlson, but drive stalls after that. Looked like the QB wasn’t necessarily on the same page as some of his receivers — either that, or he made some bad throws.

New punter Drew Butler boots one away, and the Chargers will take over at their 22.

14:56 left in first quarter

Ted Ginn, Jr. takes the kickoff from deep into the end zone and gets to the 15. Not the best decision to start. Offense goes to work WITH Andre Ellington in the backfield.

Prior to kickoff

Welcome back, folks. The day that has been talked about for a while is finally here as the Cardinals are set to open the 2014 regular season against the San Diego Chargers.

Being the second part of the Monday Night Football doubleheader, this game is the only one being played right now. Maybe a few folks back east are staying up for it?

Chargers win the coin toss and elect to kick.

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