The Arizona Cardinals’ offense woke up and the New Orleans Saints gifted them a couple score, Kliff Kingsbury’s bunch won 42-34 for their third win of the season on Thursday night in Glendale.
The highlight of the game was late in the first half when Saints quarterback Andy Dalton threw two pick-sixes that completely shifted the momentum to the Cardinals’ sideline.
After Kyler Murray went 13 plays down the field and saw Keaontay Ingram rush for a two-yard touchdown, the Cardinals’ defense was ready to make a play. Dalton’s second play of the drive was a pass to Marquez Callaway that was right to his hands, but he couldn’t haul it in.
Instead, second-year cornerback Marco Wilson took it out of the air and dove into the end zone to give the Cardinals a 21-14 lead.
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Then, five plays later, Isaiah Simmons was the only player in the vicinity as Dalton threw another ball over the middle, and he took it 56 yards, showing off his blazing speed at middle linebacker.
That ended the half with the Cardinals owning a 28-14 lead, and the Saints couldn’t come back.
They had the lead, too, to start the game. Rashid Shaheed scored his second career touchdown on a 53-yard catch-and-run on just the fourth play of the game. Then, despite throwing an interception in the end zone, Andy Dalton would find Taysom Hill for a three-yard catch on the Saints’ third drive of the game, making it 14-6 in their favor.
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But the Cardinals’ offense woke up as well, thanks in part to the return of DeAndre Hopkins, the team’s top receiver, following his PED suspension. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown went on the IR Thursday, so Hopkins had to step up immediately, and he did just that.
Though he didn’t find the end zone, Hopkins finished his season debut with 10 catches for 103 yards.
Murray was efficient in this one, throwing for 204 yards on 20-for-29 through the air with one touchdown. He also had the help of Eno Benjamin in the backfield, as he found his way into the end zone for the team’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap a night with 12 rushes for 92 yards.
Dalton would finish with four touchdowns and three interceptions on 30-for-47.
Alvin Kamara, the Saints’ big running threat, was stymied with 11 carries for 49 yards and no scores. On the other hand, rookie receiver Chris Olave, catching seven receptions for 106 yards. He was Dalton’s favorite target of the night with 14 targets.
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Juwan Johnson also finished the game with two touchdowns, both coming on fourth quarter drives. He had five catches for 32 yards.
The Cardinals catch a long break after Thursday night’s game, as they head into their bye week. Once that’s complete, they will take on a tough Minnesota Vikings team on the road on Oct. 30.
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As for the Saints, they also hit their bye week before returning to action on Oct. 30 against the Las Vegas Raiders at the Superdome in New Orleans.