Arizona Cardinals tough out 23-20 victory over Minnesota Vikings
It wasn’t easy. It looked like a struggle at times on both sides of the ball. However the Arizona Cardinals stayed tough on defense on the final drive to hold off the Minnesota Vikings 23-20 at University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday night.
Given the final score you’d think both teams struggled on offense most of the night. Scoring yes, gaining yardage, no. It came down to a Chandler Catanzaro field goal in the end for the game-winning score.
I warned of the traps of a Thursday night game this week however it is a necessary evil. Everyone plays at least one a season. Also remember, Minnesota was 8-4 coming into the game. This wasn’t the Cleveland Browns they were playing.
The win gives the Cardinals a playoff berth for the second-straight season. It is also the first time in franchise history the Cardinals have back-to-back 11-win seasons. Not all of them will be pretty but as ugly as it seemed at times there were bright spots on both offense and defense.
Running back David Johnson had another good game. He rushed 19 times for 92 yards. He just missed a touchdown with his knee down at the one-yard line. Unfortunately the Cards went backwards from there and settled for a field goal on that drive.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was on once again. He finished 25-35 for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Eight different players caught a pass from Palmer on Thursday night, including a tipped pass to offensive lineman Mike Iupati.
As for the defense, they may have been too hyped up. They overplayed at times. They didn’t wrap up at times. Safety Tony Jefferson went for a big interception instead of keeping a receiver in front of him. Tyrann Mathieu couldn’t wrap up instead going for a big hit on the touchdown drive that allowed Minnesota to tie the score at 20 late in the game.
In the end though it was linebacker Dwight Freeney getting work in. His sack and strip of Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater when they were trying to position themselves for a game-tying field goal took place thanks to his signature spin move. They saved the best defensive play for the last play.
The Cardinals are now off to face the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday night December 20th in ten days. That game was flexed to Sunday Night Football earlier this week. The Cardinals need the rest and maybe get a couple of injured players back for that one.