With their 2016 playoff hopes on the line the Arizona Cardinals competed early but fell to the Atlanta Falcons in the end
Late in the first half, there was still hope for the Arizona Cardinals. Safety D.J. Swearinger had intercepted a Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan pass and the offense did a masterful job getting into field goal position. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro booted a 54-yarder and the Cardinals had cut an Atlanta lead to 17-13.
But any momentum the team may have carried into halftime was wiped away by missed opportunities in the second half. Still clinging to their four-point lead, the Falcons were threatening to score again late in the third quarter. What followed was the kind of gut-wrenching play Cards’ fans have become accustomed to this year.
Ryan gave the Cardinals a chance to possibly save their season, but once again they failed to capitalize. An errant pass in the middle of the field bounced off the waiting hands of Swearinger. His failure to secure what would’ve been his second interception of the game allowed Atlanta’s drive to continue. Falcons running back Tevin Coleman scored shortly thereafter.
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The next missed opportunity occurred early in the fourth quarter. With Arizona down by 11 points but driving, receiver Michael Floyd failed to hold onto a crucial fourth down pass. Though a defender was on him, replays showed that Floyd had a clean chance to make the catch but choked.
And then came the final nail in the coffin. Four plays after the Floyd drop, the Cards’ defense had forced Atlanta into a fourth down and five punting situation. Arizona was still down by 11 points, but would be getting the ball back with over 12 minutes to play.
As the Falcons’ punt traveled through the air, a dreaded yellow penalty flag appeared on the field. Defensive tackle Calais Campbell made a mistake, jumping offsides to give Atlanta a first down. The Falcons parlayed the mistake into another touchdown, for all intents and purposes ending the Cardinals’ season.
Three huge plays, all of which were self-inflicted wounds. Once again, it was the Arizona Cardinals beating the Arizona Cardinals. A common theme for 2016, a season which held so much promise coming to a crashing end in Atlanta, Georgia.
We deserved so much better.