Underachieving pair comes through for Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26: Phil Dawson /

The Arizona Cardinals’ organization has needed more out of Tyrann Mathieu and Phil Dawson, and they got it this past Sunday

The Arizona Cardinals have been waiting patiently. Waiting for safety Tyrann Mathieu to start looking like the superstar they’re paying him huge coin to be. He finally resembled that player this past weekend.

The “Honey Badger’s” late-game interception versus the Jacksonville Jaguars was the kind of play that highly-paid performers are expected to make. The turnover not only thwarted the Jaguars’ attempt at a game-winning drive, it also set up the Cards for victory. Mathieu most certainly had heard the criticism directed at him this season, so for that reason the pick must’ve been especially sweet.

Coincidentally, the 57-yard field goal that won the game for Arizona shortly thereafter was made by another struggling Cardinal. Free agent pickup Phil Dawson was brought in this past offseason to shore up the club’s kicking game. His triumphant boot that sunk the Jags’ with just seconds to go is exactly what the franchise was looking for when they signed the celebrated veteran.

The spotty play of both Dawson and Mathieu so far in 2017 has obviously not been a help to the Cards. Dawson has already missed six field goals through 11 games of the current campaign, compared to just three in 16 contests last year. Since the “Badger” signed a $62.5 million mega-deal back in August of 2016, his performance has been anything but special.

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Besides his eye-popping 57-yarder that gave Arizona the victory, Dawson was perfect on three other field goal attempts against Jacksonville as well. There was a 34-yarder in the first quarter, a 42-yarder in the second and another from 48 yards out in the third. Accuracy has been a problem for the 42-year old so far in ’17, but obviously wasn’t in this particular matchup.

Mathieu’s game-altering play in the fourth quarter was just the cherry on top of a great day. The defensive back that roamed the field versus the Jags’ was reminiscent of the one that performed to an MVP-level in 2015. He was equally good against the run and the pass, showing the Cardinals’ front office a glimpse of the Mathieu they were happy to spend so much money on.

Dawson and Mathieu were able to lift the Cards with a couple of clutch plays. If only for a day, they showed management what they’re capable of. Hopefully, the duo will keep it going.