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The Setup
Both teams were either out of the playoffs or breathing vapor. Cards were a beaten up football team with starters Deone Bucannon, Tyvon Branch and John Urick all suffering significant damage and done for the year." Add to this another one of those bizarre "fell asleep in the car"/"don't be that guy" incidents involving (the now departed) wideout Michael Floyd and it only added to the challenges faced by the Cardinals over the next three weeks.

Meanwhile on the NO side of the equation, Sean Payton says that 13 penalties and a 4 for 13 third down conversion rate were what did the Saints in vs. Tampa Bay, but that he felt there were a lot of good things happening on the defensive side of the ball.

The Lede
Cards on Wrong Side of 48 - 41 Scorefest.

The Bottom Line:
Those rumblin', bumblin' Arizona Cardinals (stayed close to form - with penalties, botched kicking and other miscues.

The really sad thing is all this sloppy stuff rendered really gutty efforts by an undermanned O-line, K Williams, D Johnson, Calais Campbell as worth bleep.

Till now.

Game Recap
It was an old-fashioned scoring extravaganza, with mistakes (especially on Cardinal special teams) and sloppy Cardinal pass coverage responsible for the Card loss. Cards fell behind 10 - 7 after the 1st quarter, went into the locker rooms at halftime behind 24 - 20, tied it up 27 - 27 at the end of the 3Q but fell short by one 4Q TD to wind up on the short end of a 48 - 41 score.

1st Quarter
  • Cards received. KO returned to Card 22.Cards crossed midfield in 5 plays. Operating deep out of a Wildcat, K Williams circled RE for a 40-yd broken field TD. Cards 7 - NO 0.

  • TB on the KO. Brees marched to the Card 19 in 14 plays (surviving a minus-8 yd sack by Campbell) where NO settled for a 37-yd Lutz FG.Cards 7- NO 3.

    Golden returned the KO to the Card 26. On the second play from scrimmage, Fitzgerald caught a short pass but 0- after bouncing off tacklers like a billiard ball - fumbled. NO ball on the the AZ 30. A face mask flag on Golden nullfied an incompletion on a 3rd & 11 and set up a 10-yd TD pass to Cadet. NO 10 - Cards 7.

    KO returned to the AZ 25. A 24-yard completion to D Johnson picked up a 1st down at the Card 46 to end the quarter.

    1st Quarter Score: NO 10 - Cards 7.

2nd Quarter
  • Card drive stalled at the NO 37 where Catanzaro's 55-yd FG attempt was no good. Saints took over on their own 45 and moved to the Card 30 where a holding penalty moved them back to the Cardinal 40. On the 8th play of the series, Brees was sacked by Golden. His fumble was recovered by Campbell who ran it in from 53-yds for a Cardinal TD. Catanzaro XP attempt No Good. Cards 13 - NO 10. .

    KO returned to the NO 23. Two plays later, Brees hit Cooks (who outran a corner and a safety) for a 65-yd TD. NO 17 - Cards 13.

    Penalty on the KO pushed Cards back to their own 8. They were unable to get past their 26. Punt was downed at the NO 38. Five plays later, Brees hit Cooks (who made the Cardinal secondary look like stationary cardboard cutouts). for a 45-yd TD. NO 24 - Cards 13.

    1:51 left till halftime. KO returned to the Card 20. Completions of +123, +13 and +11 followed by a roughing the passer penalty set up a 10-yard TD pass from Palmer to Nelson with 0:45 still on the clock. NO 24 - Cards 20.

    KO returned to NO 22. The quarter ended 4 plays later with a scramble ending in a minus-16 yd sack by Campbell.

    First Half Score: NO 24 - Cards 20.

3rd Quarter
  • NO received. TB on the KO. Cards held NO to 3 & out. Punt out of bounds at Card 40. A 14-yd K Williams run up the middle was followed by 3 & out. Wiles' punt was fair caught at the NO 11. Brees engineered a 14-play march that stalled on the Card 21. Lutz's 39-yd FG was good. NO 27 - Cards 20.

    FG returned to Card 38. A 25-ud pass to D Johnson set up a 5-play TD drive capped by a 2-d D Johnson TD run up the middle. NO 27 - Cards 27.

    TB on the KO. Brees reached the Card 15 in six plays as the quarter ended.

    Third Quarter Score: NO 27 - Cards 27.

4th Quarter
  • Card defense stiffened. On a 4th & 2 at the Cardinal 7, Lutz kicked a 25-yd FG, but an off-side penalty on Bethel gave NO a 1st down, and on the next play, Hightower ran it in from 3-yds out. NO 34 - Cards 27.

    TB on the KO. Plamer hit Golden for +19 and Fells for +13. Then Johnson ran for +13 and +15. Palmer then hit Gresham for +10 and Nelson for +8 to set up a 7-yd TD run up the middle by D Johnson.NO 34 - Cards 34.

    8:57 left. TB on the KO. A 36-yd pass to Cooks helped set up a 4-yd. TD pass to M Thomas.NO 41 - Cards 34

    5:33 left. 3 plays later, Golden caught a short pass from Palmer but fumbled. NO took over on the Cardinal 29 with 5:13 left. Card defense stopped Brees to make it 3rd & 8 at the Cardinal 27. A minus-11 yd sack should have made it 4th & 19 at the Cardinal 38, but S Moore was penalized 15-yds for roughing the passer (helmet-to-helmet contact) and the sack was nullfied. Four plays later, Hightower ran it in for a 2-yd TD. NO 48 - Cards 34.

    3:27 left. TB on the KO. Cards came right back and, on the 7th play of the drive, scored a 30-yd TD when Palmer hit Smoke deep down the left sideline. NO 48 - Cards 41.

    2:19 still left. Onside kick went out of bounds. NO ball at their own 48. A 6-yd completion to Fleener picked up a 1st down and sealed the win for NO.

    Final Score: NO 48 - Cards 41.

Notable Game Stats.

  • Palmer was 28 for 40, 318 yards, 2 TD's and 0 interceptions. (Brees was 37 for 48for 389 yards, 4 TD's and no picks).

  • D Johnson picked up 53 yards on 12 carries Ingram gained 78 yards on17 carries).
  • Fitz led Cardinal receivers with 7 catches for 57 yds followed by Smoke with 5 grabs for 81 yds and a TD. (Snead caught 8 passes for 76-yds. Cooks caught 7 for 186 and 2 TD's. each. Thomas and Cadet caught one TD pass apiece).

    NO won the turnover war (2 fumbles/0 picks vs. Cards' 2 fumbles/0 picks)

  • Run/Pass Ratio: . (Cards: Runs: 15 /Pass: 40. NO: Runs: 32/Pass 48).

  • Catanzaro missed one FG and botched an XP.

    Wile outpunted the NO punter with a Net Punting average of 34.0 vs. 30.0 for the NO punter.

  • The two Cardinal ILB's (Moore and Minter) led the team with 11 tackles each. Cooper was next with 7.

    Palmer was sacked once. Cards defense was credited with 3 sacks - Campbell with 2 and Golden with one).

    Cards were 5 for 10 (50%) in Third Down Efficiency. NO was 9 for 14 (64%).

    Red Zone Efficiency: Cards 2 for 3 (66%). Dolphs 2 for 4(50%)

    Penalties: Cards were penalized 7 times (compared to NO's 5)

    Time of Possession: Cards 22:47 - NO: 37:13

  • Card defense gave up an average of 4.1 per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 7.7)

Bright Spots

  • David Johnson's consistency in all areas of game.

  • Despite a pile of missteps. the Cards refused to quit and were in it till the end.

    Calais had the kind of outing he deserves.

The Dark Side

  • Kicking game cost us 4 points.

    Penalties turned 2 FG's into TD's and set up another TD. (That's 15 more points/8 due to ST's)

  • Cardinal DB's had trouble figuring out whether #10 for NO (Cooks) was their guy or our guy. (Note - Snead actually caught more passes than Cooks).

  • Vaunted Cardinal defense gave up 48 points.

  • Where were our D linemen vs. the run, (Our two leading tacklers were ILBs, Minter and Moore)

Last Word:
Welcome to the dregs of the season. Most we can say about the NO game was that it was "entertaining" watching 2 offenses go at it for a full 60-minute. ."

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012