In a 48-41 loss against the New Orleans Saints, the Arizona Cardinals are now officially eliminated from playoff contention.
One loss. That’s all it would take. And it would be the one in Week 15 that would officially send Bruce Arians and his guys home after January 1.
In a 48-41 free-for-all loss against the New Orleans Saints, the Cardinals lost their final home game of the regular season. It was their eighth of the season, and ultimately the final blow that will snap their streak of two-straight playoff appearances.
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Drew Brees torched the Cardinals defense, throwing for 389 yards and four touchdowns. Brandin Cooks was on the receiving end of two touchdowns thanks to seven receptions for 186 yards, while former-Cardinal Tim Hightower totaled two touchdowns on 37 rushing yards.
Although the Saints dominating on offense was no surprise, they were able to shut down Arizona’s star in David Johnson. Johnson averages 77.5 yards per game, but the Saints were able to hold him to just 53. Even Larry Fitzgerald was quiet, who caught seven balls for 57 yards.
The Cardinals needed to get off to a hot start if they wanted to stave off elimination. They did, courtesy of Kerwynn Williams’ 49-yard touchdown run in the opening minutes of the first quarter. But the Saints answered with ten straight points, and that was how the afternoon seemed to play out.
When it looked like the Cardinals were gaining momentum and on the verge of pulling away, the Saints would roll with the punches and frequently deliver some of their own.
One of those punches came in the fourth quarter, when they turned their seven-point lead into a fourteen-point advantage. Hightower punched it in from the 2-yard line and put the Saints up two scores with 3:27 left in the game. The Cardinals would answer with a touchdown of their own, but were not able to score again.
After 60 minutes of back-and-forth football, the Saints just managed to pull out their sixth win. While it snapped their two-game skid, it added to the Cardinals’, making it two-straight and four losses out of their last five.
The Cardinals are now officially eliminated from playoff contention. They’ll travel next week to Seattle to play against the 9-4-1 Seahawks.
This is a game that should have had playoff implications riding on the line, especially since it would take place in Week 16. But instead, the loser-Cardinals will try to compete against the NFC West Champion Seahawks in a game that practically means nothing for Arizona.
Who would have thought?