Tagged in: Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals win on OT field goal to knock Seattle Seahawks from ranks of unbeaten

Of all the players to lead the Arizona Cardinals to an overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks, it was one of the most unlikely.

Rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons intercepted Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with 1:04 left in overtime on his fourth snap of the match. He didn’t play in the first half.

That led to Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez redeeming himself after missing the game-winning field goal earlier in overtime, making a 48-yard kick with 20 seconds left in the extra period to give Arizona a 37-34 win while handing the Seahawks their first loss of the campaign.

Arizona improved to 5-2, holding onto second place in the NFC West with the Los Angeles Rams playing Monday night. Coach Kliff Kingsbury nearly cost the Cardinals the game earlier in overtime, when he iced Gonzalez with 2:47 left on second-and-15. Gonzalez made the initial kick but it didn’t count, then he missed the next one.

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Then came Simmons’ pick.

It was just another typical Cardinals-Seahawks game — full of drama, twists and turns.

Both teams combined for 1,091 yards — 572 by Seattle and 519 by Arizona.

Kyler Murray threw for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 34-for-48 passing. He also had 67 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

DeAndre Hopkins had 10 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Running back Chase Edmonds, who had two of the biggest plays in overtime, caught all seven of his targets for 87 yards. Larry Fitzgerald had 62 yards while catching all eight of his targets.

The match was moved to Sunday night amid concerns the Bucs-Raiders game might have to be postponed due to a positive coronavirus test on the Raiders and additional players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to contact tracing.

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Cardinals re-sign cornerback Kevin Peterson to 1 year deal

The Cardinals have filled out their roster by bringing back many of their own free agents this offseason despite letting them reach the open market – and they did it again Tuesday, re-signing reserve cornerback Kevin Peterson to a one-year deal.

Peterson played in 14 matches, starting three, for the Cardinals in 2019. He had 16 tackles and two passes defensed, as well as six tackles on special teams. To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released cornerback Andre Chachere.

The Cardinals will have essentially their entire secondary returning. They didn’t spend a draft pick at either cornerback or safety. Veterans Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford are likely to be the starters outside, with Byron Murphy in the slot.

At safety, they have Pro Bowler Budda Baker and second-year man Jalen Thompson. Kevin Peterson and Chris Jones would be the top reserves at cornerback right now, with Deionte Thompson and Chris Banjo the top safety reserves.

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Patrick Peterson (suspension) missed the first six games last campaign, and Alford was out the whole year with a broken leg.

“Having Patrick back Week One and having Robert back healthy Week One that’s going to help us,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph stated after the draft. “It was really tough on our young guys and our reserve corners to go out there against some good teams early. I thought Budda Baker had a hell of a year last year … He has room to grown. I thought Jalen Thompson the last month of the season played really good football. As the defense played better, I thought he played better.

“We had a young secondary, with (Byron) Murphy playing the most snaps of any defensive back in the league. It’ll pay dividends. I’m looking forward to those young guys taking huge steps.”

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D.J Humphries to re-sign with Cardinals for 3 years

The Arizona Cardinals reportedly are hanging on to 2015 first-round pick D.J. Humphries. 

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the 26-year-old offensive tackle has agreed to a three-year, $45 million contract with $29 million guaranteed and $30 million to be paid over the first two years.

Humphries was set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim hinted that a deal was imminent on last Friday while appearing on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (h/t Cards Wire’s Jess Root): “I would just say that I’m very optimistic that D.J. will return.”

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In December, Kyle Odegard of the team’s official website relayed that Humphries was Pro Football Focus’ 23rd-best player at his position with a minimum of 500 snaps. 

The Cardinals ended 2019 at 5-10-1, but there is reason for optimism in the near future with 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray at quarterback—especially with Humphries locked in to continue protecting him.

Humphries will also play a large role in Arizona solidifying its identity on the ground after finishing as the 10th-best rushing offense last campaign.

“I’d like to continue to be a physical run team,” Kingsbury told ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss last week. “I think when you can mix in the quarterback having his 40, 50 [yards]—we’re never going to run him 20, 25 times—but guys are playing at a physical level on the perimeter, up front, and it’s paying off.”

Humphries is coming off his regular season in which he appeared in all 16 matches. The Florida product didn’t play during his 2015 rookie campaign before playing 13 games in 2016 and being limited to five in 2017 and nine in 2018 with persistent injuries. Humphries made $9.63 million last year in his option season.

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Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald back for 17th season

The Arizona Cardinals informed the receiver will return in 2020 for his 17th pro season, signing Fitzgerald to a one-year contract. He had been set to become a free agent.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Fitzgerald’s deal is worth $11 million with incentives, per sources informed of the contract.

Fitzgerald’s future has been the subject of speculation each season of the past couple of years. Yet the 36-year-old continues to produce.

Fitzgerald snagged 75 receptions for 804 yards and four touchdowns in 2019, all team highs.

Even as things seem to change often in Arizona, Fitzgerald’s production still as steady as a rock.

The veteran’s ability to get open on quick routes meshes well with Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and Kyler Murray’s lightning-fast release. Perhaps Fitzgerald will no longer burn past receivers, but he still owns the route-running ability to box out defenders and vice-grip hands to snag pigskins in close quarters.

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While the Cardinals hope someday soon one of their young guns overtakes Fitzgerald as a true No. 1 target, Kingsbury understands the vital role the veteran plays for his offense to move the chains consistently.

“I think he’s playing as good as anybody, honestly,” Kingsbury said at the close of the season. “You watch what he does week-in and week-out, the little things, the blocking and the toughness that he brings to the offensive side of the football. We missed him twice for huge plays yesterday. He’s just still creating separation. He does it all.”

The 11-time Pro Bowler and former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year sits No. 1 in Cardinals history in catches (1,378), receiving yards (17,083) and receiving TDs (120). Fitzgerald trails only Jerry Rice in NFL history in catches and receiving yards.

The Cardinals wideout needs 171 receptions and 5,812 yards to tie Rice. It would take a few more campaigns to come close to those numbers, but Fitzy is at least inching closer to records that once seemed outlandish for any wideout to get near.

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RB Chris Carson´s hip injury might end his season

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson suffered a hip injury in the second quarter of Sunday’s game versus the Arizona Cardinals, and his playing status for the rest of the season is now in jeopardy.

After the 27-13 loss, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed Carson will miss Week 17’s pivotal clash versus the San Francisco 49ers. Carson underwent additional testing, and team doctors informed Carroll the injury appeared to be season-ending, per ESPN’s Brady Henderson. Carson had eight carries for 40 yards before exiting. 

Carson took over as the starting running back in 2018 and proceeded to run for 1,151 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games. He ended 12th in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) among running backs with at least 100 carries, per Football Outsiders.

Through 14 matches in 2019, Carson had 1,190 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

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Outside of selecting DK Metcalf in the second round of the draft, the Seahawks did little to upgrade the offense, largely due to the fact they didn’t have much salary-cap space with which to make significant additions.

Seattle also lost Mike Davis, the team’s second-leading rusher during last season, after he signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Chicago Bears.

Carson’s injury comes two weeks after Rashaad Penny suffered a season-ending torn ACL.

C.J. Prosise injured his arm Sunday night as well and will miss Week 17, leaving rookie Travis Homer as the last active option. 

Carroll was asked how the Seahawks will rally, given all the attrition.

“We are going to figure out a way,” he said. “We are going to use all of the same tools that we use all the time mentally to make sure we can be disciplined about it and turn the focus on the next challenge. Our guys do a remarkable job of doing that. So people who question their ability to do it can’t believe when we do it. We’ll try to show you and prove it.

“The 49ers look awesome. They’re playing great football. They had a great win last week. It will be as great of a test as we could play. I’m disappointed we didn’t go into [the 49ers game] with momentum, but we’re going to re-create it here during the week.”

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49ers overcome 16-point deficit to defeat Cardinals

Banged up and shorthanded, the 49ers rallied back from a 16-point first-quarter deficit Sunday to defeat a hot Cardinals start for a 36-26 Week 11 win.

Jimmy Garoppolo once again enjoyed success in the passing game versus Arizona, but, as he did in San Francisco’s first loss last week, suffered costly turnovers.

Without the likes of Joe Staley, George Kittle, Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, Robbie Gould and Matt Breida, the 49ers (9-1) limped into Sunday’s matchup coming off a heartbreaking defeat on Monday night.

Two weeks ago, Kyle Murray and his then newly-acquired running back Kenyan Drake picked apart the 49ers defense.

Ahkello Witherspoon made his return to game action for the first time since Week 3. Kyle Shanahan said that Witherspoon would get his starting job back from Emmanuel Moseley once healthy enough to take on a full week of practice. The 49ers’ first drive on defense featured Moseley starting over Witherspoon.

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Dwelley had a great game Sunday, with the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Kittle. Dwelley is not on the same level as Kittle, but there was one similarity: Touchdown receptions called back due to penalties.

Down 16-10, the 49ers got the ball to start the third quarter. Garoppolo found Dwelley to end a six-play, 84-yard drive and the 49ers had suddenly taken a 17-16 lead after half time.

After the thrilling come-from-behind victory, Shanahan discussed how he felt about this game, and how it felt similar to last weeks loss to Seattle.

“I mean, a lot of ups and downs. There were definitely some good things and then there were some really bad things. It actually reminded me a lot of Monday night, where there were some things where we got really excited about, and then it felt like we blew it a number of times, to where we get crushed. The guys are just resilient, just kept coming, and we were able to finish it off the right way, unlike last week. Two similar games like that, by no means was it perfect, but I was really proud of the guys for how they just kept fighting and found a way to get it done.”

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David Johnson not ready to play Thursday

Although he had been listed as questionable throughout the week, an Arizona Cardinal is reportedly out for the team’s Thursday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday, Cardinals starting running back David Johnson is not estimated to play.

The report coincides with an earlier one last Saturday that said Johnson would not only miss the Week 8 matchup versus the New Orleans Saints, but the team’s home game versus San Francisco as well.

This will be Johnson’s second consecutive game missed as the running back has dealt with ankle and back injuries throughout most of the season. In seven games, he’s recorded 300 yards and two scores on 77 rushing attempts, while catching 30 of his 41 targets for 315 yards and three touchdowns.

Johnson leads the team in rushing yards and attempts and only trails backup Chase Edmonds in scores (4).

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With Edmonds already officially ruled out, that leaves a running back room consisted of newly acquired Kenyan Drake, who came over in a trade on Wednesday, and Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner, two running backs signed a little over a week ago.

Before going down with a hamstring injury, Edmonds was enjoying his best season as a pro, rushing for 295 yards and four touchdowns on just 58 carries. He also caught 12 balls for 105 yards and a TD.

In Edmonds and Johnson’s absence, Drake would most likely be the one to carry the load. The former Miami Dolphin rushed for 174 yards on 47 carries in six games (two starts) played this season and added another 174 yards on 22 receptions. In his career, Drake’s ran the rock 333 times for 1,532 yards and nine scores, while catching 116 receptions for 936 yards and six touchdowns.

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Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

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While everyone is focused on the other conference championship featuring the rivalry of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, the NFC title game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers has what it takes to grab the spotlight this Sunday.

The Panthers have been superb defensively all season long, and when that defense is tested by one of the league’s best offenses from the Cardinals, it’s a kind of game that shouldn’t be missed.

The Arizona Cardinals hope to reach their first Super Bowl since the 2008 season. Carson Palmer is completing 61 percent of his passes for 349 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Palmer has six touchdown passes in his last three games. Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown have combined for 258 receiving yards and one touchdown while Michael Floyd has three receptions. The Arizona Cardinals ground game is averaging 40 yards per contest, and David Johnson leads the way with 35 yards on 15 carries. Defensively, Arizona is allowing 20 points and 386 yards per game. Tony Jefferson leads the Cardinals with nine tackles, Dwight Freeney has one sack and Jerraud Powers has two pass deflections.

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The Carolina Panthers look for their first Super Bowl appearance since the 2003 season. Cam Newton is completing 72.7 percent of his passes for 161 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Newton has three touchdown passes in his last three games. Greg Olsen and Jerricho Cotchery have combined for 99 receiving yards and one touchdown while Ed Dickson has two receptions. The Carolina Panthers ground game is averaging 144 yards per contest, and Jonathan Stewart leads the way with 106 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Carolina is allowing 24 points and 403 yards per game. Luke Kuechly leads the Panthers with 11 tackles, Josh Norman has a sack and Robert McClain has one pass deflection. Foswhitt Whittaker is questionable and Jared Allen is doubtful.

The Arizona Cardinals struggled to run the ball well against the Green Bay Packers in their playoff game last week. It is fair to ask if they will be able to do anything against Carolina, considering their defense. Center Lyle Sendlein knows they have to do better.

He was asked if Green Bay really stacked the box against them in their game on Saturday. Sendlein said “not really.”

“We should have had a little more success in the run game against Green Bay,” he explained. “We have things in the game plan for when they do stack the box, and we still didn’t execute so it’s something if we want to keep playing, we’ve got to improve our run game.”

And they have themselves a challenge in Carolina, where the Panthers are the league’s fourth-best defense against the rush.

“We see them as the best defense in the league,” Sendlein said. “Their front seven is something special, so we’ll have our challenges this week.”

Head coach Bruce Arians indicated they don’t need to run the ball to take the pressure off the passing game, “because that’s who we are on offense,” but they need to do it more effectively

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