The Arizona Cardinals needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Instead, they were edged by the Minnesota Vikings, 30-24.
Needing a win to keep playoff hopes alive, the Arizona Cardinals could not deliver as they were edged by the Minnesota Vikings, 30-24.
It was really the third quarter that put the nail in the Cardinals’ coffin. Arizona had some momentum heading into the locker room at the half, down just 20-17 thanks to Jermaine Gresham’s 29-yard touchdown reception with :50 left in the second quarter.
Cordarrelle Patteron returned the Cardinals’ kick 104-yards to the end zone to open the second half. Newly-acquired kicker Kai Forbath drilled a 27-yard field goal to close the third quarter. Minnesota’s relentless defense held Carson Palmer and his offense scoreless, and enjoyed a 30-17 with fifteen minutes to play.
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Halfway through the fourth quarter, Palmer found David Johnson for a four-yard touchdown pass that cut the Vikings’ lead to 30-24. The offense could not get anything going after that, and the Cardinals would fall to 4-5-1.
The Vikings got off to an early 7-0 lead, thanks to Adam Thielen’s 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sam Bradford. The catch was initially ruled incomplete, but head coach Mike Zimmer’s challenge overturned the ruling on the field.
The Cardinals responded with ten-straight points, but the Vikings stormed back. Running back Matt Asiata punched in a two-yard touchdown run to regain the lead, but the Cardinals blocked the PAT, bringing the score to 13-10.
On the ensuing drive, the Cardinals were threatening to score and again take the lead. Inside the red zone, Palmer was intercepted my Xavier Rhodes, who returned it 100-yards for a touchdown. With just over three minutes left in the half, Minnesota had a 20-10 advantage. It was the first of two interceptions for Rhodes.
Despite continuously clawing back, the Cardinals couldn’t complete the comeback they desperately needed.
Palmer threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing two interceptions. It wasn’t the game of his life, but the blame certainly doesn’t fall on him as the offensive line had Palmer under trouble all day. He was sacked four times today, and was the sixth time this season that the 36-year old has been sacked at least three times in a game.
If the Seattle Seahawks are able to hang on for a win against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cardinals will be 3.0 games behind them for first place in the NFC West. A third-straight trip to the playoffs is beginning to look nearly impossible.
And to make matters worse, this is the first time since the 2012 season that the Cardinals are under the .500 mark through ten games.
With just six games left to play, just two of them will be played at home. The Cardinals need to bounce back, and look to do so next week on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.