EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After two games, there are two very important things we’ve learned about the 2014 Arizona Cardinals: They are resilient, and they are a heck of a lot of fun to watch in the fourth quarter.
For the second straight game, the Cardinals rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to pull out a win — 25-14 over the New York Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Ted Ginn, Jr. provided the game-winning, 71-yard punt return touchdown with 10:10 remaining in the game. Giants cornerback Zack Bowman had Ginn wrapped up at the 29-yard line where the punt was received; however, Ginn escaped and broke through a gap through the middle of the field.
For an encore, Robert Hughes, a special teams standout, recovered a fumble from Giants kick returner Quinton Demps on the very next play, sending a large contingent of fans to the exits early.
“They [special teams] set the tempo. It was a big team effort,” Arians said after the game.
Equally as impressive was Drew Stanton, leading the offense on several scoring drives throughout the game. He filled in for starter Carson Palmer who was ruled inactive just hours before kickoff with a shoulder injury.
“He [Stanton] reminds me of Kelly Holcomb, just tougher than hell,” Arians remarked of his ability to come off the bench and command the offense.
A key to winning on the road is getting off to a fast start, and that’s exactly what Arizona was able to do against New York. Stanton showed zero signs of “rust” as he engineered an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to begin the game. Jonathan Dwyer punched it in on third down and goal from one yard out.
This was Stanton’s first start since December 19, 2010.
The defense made an early statement of their own by producing one of its four takeaways courtesy of a Sam Acho interception from Eli Manning. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly played a key role in the turnover as he hit Manning during the throw, which was intended for Victor Cruz.
Chandler Catanzaro’s 49-yard field goal on the ensuing drive extended the Cardinals’ lead to 10-0, but then things began unraveling for Arizona.
“I did not like the way we finished the half…I thought we were going to come into the locker room with a lot more momentum, but instead I came in cussing them out,” Arians said after a “dumb” penalty prevented his team from adding more points on the board before halftime.
Following two touchdown passes by Manning to put the Giants up 14-10 after three quarters, Stanton and the offense took possession of the ball at their own 7-yard line and managed a field goal, bringing them within one point.
Once the Cardinals regained the lead, their defense halted the Giants for the rest of the game, forcing three turnovers in the fourth quarter and a turnover on downs.
From what we’ve seen so far from the Cardinals, once it’s crunch time, expect good things to happen from this team. Two come-from-behind victories late in games goes a long way in establishing strong chemistry throughout the locker room.
Patrick Peterson did not have one of his best performances to say the least. The all-pro cornerback was flagged several times for pass interference and holding as well as allowing a touchdown to Victor Cruz.
Stat of the Game:
Turnovers: Cardinals 0, Giants 4.
With another failed attempt in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals are now 0-3 in two-point conversions on the season.
Ted Ginn, Jr. now has seven special teams return touchdowns for his career.
Chandler Catanzaro converted all four field goals attempt along with his lone extra point.
He Said It:
“We were down, and needed a touchdown. It couldn’t have come at a better time than then. Sometimes you have to let the plays and game come to you.” – Ted Ginn, Jr. discussing the timing of his game-winning touchdown return.
The Cardinals return home for an NFC West showdown against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Sept. 21. Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. Arizona time. Catch the call on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.