Clutch performances propel Arizona Cardinals to victory

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

In a game they had to have to keep their playoff hopes alive the Arizona Cardinals best players came through in a big way

The Arizona Cardinals knew they had very little room for error. Sunday’s opponent, the Washington Redskins, brought with them to Arizona one of the NFL’s best offenses. But the Cardinals were ready.

In their finest performance of 2016, the Cards kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the talented Redskins. It wasn’t easy. Their star players would need to bring their “A” game, and did they ever.

David Johnson accumulated 100 plus yards from scrimmage for the 12th straight game. He scored twice, and late in the fourth quarter converted a huge fourth down and one from the Arizona 34. His clutch scamper kept the drive alive, leading to a receiver J.J.Nelson touchdown that increased their lead to eight points.

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Quarterback Carson Palmer had his best game since last season, when he was an MVP candidate. He completed 30 of 46 for 300 yards and three touchdowns. The Nelson touchdown was a 42-yard heave, a long ball that’s been missing from the offense this year.

Defensive tackle Calais Campbell set up a score with a strip-sack of Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins in the third quarter. Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden scooped up the loose ball and rumbled down to the 10-yard line. Not long after, much-maligned receiver Michael Floyd caught a dart from Palmer, giving Arizona a 17-13 lead.

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald had a huge presence in the game. He caught 10 out of 11 balls thrown his way, moving into third place on the all-time receptions list. Only former receiver Jerry Rice and tight end Tony Gonzalez remain ahead of him on that list.

Down by eight, Washington had one last chance to tie the game in the final two minutes. A Cards blitz caused an ill-advised pass by Cousins. Cornerback Patrick Peterson was in the right spot, going low to the ground to snag the game-clinching interception.

Clutch plays made by clutch players. It was a team win in every sense of the word. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.