Final: Arizona Cardinals 18, San Diego Chargers 17


Sep 8, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws under pressure from San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (93) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

It was a great game in the desert as the Arizona Cardinals would sneak by the Chargers, 18-17. Carson Palmer looked good getting over 300 yards passing and 2 passing touchdowns. Palmer was also having to be much more mobile than he is used to as there would be several times where Palmer would avoid sacks by ducking under defenders and moving up in the pocket to keep the play going.

The Cardinals’ starting running back, Andre Ellington, was 50/50 on actually playing in this game but he would play and perform very well. Ellington would have 13 carries for 53 rushing yards and 5 receptions for 27 receiving yards.

The Cardinals receivers all looked solid tonight but one stood out from the rest and that was Michael Floyd who had 5 receptions for 119 receiving yards.

The defense for the Cards seemed like they had not missed a beat from last season which is shocking, to say the least, due to all of their losses this offseason. Veteran linebacker, Larry Foote, would have a major role in stopping the run all day as he would finish with 8 tackles.

The Cardinals would look good early as they would drive the ball far down the field on their 2nd possession of the night. A 63-yard pass from Carson Palmer to Michael Floyd would put the Cards in field goal position but, just two plays later, running back Andre Ellington would fumble the ball which would give the Chargers possession and leave the Cards with 0 points out of the drive.

The Cardinals defense would look extremely solid throughout the night as the Chargers would struggle to pass or throw the ball. Cards linebacker, Larry Foote, was stuffing the run all night and was commanding like a defensive leader should.

While the Cardinals were able to move the ball effectively through the air during the 1st quarter, they would not be able to put any points on the board by the end of the quarter. The Chargers would not put up any points of their own either and it would be 0-0 entering the 2nd quarter.

The 2nd quarter opened up nice for the Cards as they would drive the ball down the field with ease just like in the 1st quarter. Andre Ellington would have a nice gain for 13 yards which would be a common theme for Ellington throughout the night. Michael Floyd would also have another nice reception gaining 29 yards putting the Cards in field goal range once again. This time, though, the Cards would get a field goal to make the score 0-3.

Later in the quarter, the Cards’ punter they just picked up today, Drew Butler, would have his punt blocked which would give the Chargers great field position to start out their drive. The Cardinals’ defense would hold strong yet again, though, and hold the Chargers to just a field goal making the score 3-3.

Both sides would go back and forth but eventually the Chargers would get on a groove and start to move the ball down the field through the air. The Cardinals’ defense would come through again, though, as cornerback Jerraud Powers would make a big play by getting an interception to stop the Chargers’ momentum.

The Cardinals would take advantage of this turnover and make it down the field and get a field goal to end the half making the score 3-6, Cardinals.

The Chargers would open up the 2nd half on a hot note as Philip Rivers would go 5-5 for 81 yards and a touchdown as the Chargers would take the lead 10-6.

The Cardinals would get the ball back, move the ball slowly down the field, but then disaster would strike as Carson Palmer would not be able to avoid a hard sack by, linebacker, Jeremiah Attaochu which would cause Palmer to fumble and give the ball back to the Chargers in field goal range already.

Sep 8, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) celebrates with running back Jonathan Dwyer (20) after scoring a 13 yard touchdown during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers would take advantage of this opportunity and, instead of just getting a field goal, running back, Ryan Matthews would run for 20 yards on 3rd down and would walk easily into the end zone to make the score 17-6 in favor of the Chargers late in the 3rd quarter.

The Cardinals would end the third quarter doing a couple nice completions going for 16 yards, 7 yards, and 11 yards respectively. The score at the end of the 3rd quarter would be 17-6, Chargers.

Immediately when the 4th quarter began, the Cardinals would continue their impressive drive of 10 plays for 64 yards as it would come down to 3rd and goal where the Carson Palmer would have to extend the play by rolling to his right where he would eventually find running back Stephan Taylor in the end zone for a touchdown. Although, the Cards would try to be tricky and go for two on a fake field goal but this would fail. The score would now be 17-12, Chargers.

The Chargers would get the ball back and would be faced with a tense situation on 3rd and 13 where, if not to convert, give the ball back to the Cardinals with good field position. Instead, Phillip Rivers would complete a long pass to Antonio Gates for 34 yards. Now in field goal range, the Chargers would have a bad snap by their center which would take the Chargers out of field goal range and they would be forced to punt.

Now with 7 minutes left in the game, Palmer would have a big play to extend the drive by running for a first down on third down and long. For the night, Palmer would have 30 yards rushing which is very abnormal for him. The Cardinals would continue their drive which would up going for 91 yards total and they would finish with a 13-yard passing touchdown to rookie receiver, John Brown. The Cardinals would fail on the 2-point conversion which would make the score 17-18, Cardinals, with 3 minutes left.

With little time left, the Cardinals offense would have to step up and stop the Chargers in the two-minute drill. It would come down to 4th and 2 and the Chargers would get a delay of game which would force them back 5 yards (This could be credited to the incredible crowd noise). On 4th and 7, the Chargers would throw the ball to a receiver where it would be dropped and the Cardinals’ defense would prevail once again.

All the Cardinals would have to do now would be to hold on to the ball and run for a first down. This would be exactly what they would do and the Cardinals would win the game 18-17.

Key Statistics:

Arizona Cardinals:

QB-Carson Palmer – 24-37, 304 passing yards, 2 touchdowns

RB – Andre Ellington – 13 carries, 53 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 27 yards

WR – Michael Floyd – 5 receptions, 119 receiving yards

LB – Larry Foote – 8 tackles

San Diego Chargers:

QB – Phillip Rivers – 21-36, 238 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

TE – Antonio Gates – 6 receptions, 81 receiving yards

CB – Schareece Wright – 8 tackles

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