Vance Joseph and his defense tried to lose the game for the Arizona Cardinals, but the offense wouldn’t allow that to happen
The Arizona Cardinals defense couldn’t help themselves. Presented with an opportunity to nail down a comfortable victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, coordinator Vance Joseph and his crew instead made it a nail-biter. In the end, the Cards escaped with a 26-23 triumph that could’ve very well ended in disaster.
Arizona running back Chase Edmonds fourth-quarter touchdown scamper should’ve been the final nail in Cincinnati’s coffin. The explosive run put the squad ahead 23-9 with 7:13 to play, giving the Cardinals what appeared to be an insurmountable lead. Unfortunately for the organization and it’s fans, Joseph is still in charge of the defense.
After limiting the Bengals to just three field goals during the first 56 minutes of the matchup, the Cards suddenly crumbled defensively. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton led his teammates on a 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a touchdown. Wide receiver Auden Tate cut the Arizona lead to seven points when he secured a two-yard scoring toss from Dalton with 4:08 left in the final quarter.
The Bengals scoring attack was far from finished. On their next possession, Cincy went 81 yards in four plays to tie the game at 23 apiece. Dalton found wideout Tyler Boyd, who ran by Cardinals safety Budda Baker for an easy 42-yard score.
Cincinnati did make one mistake, however. As it turned out, Dalton and company scored entirely too quickly. Cards signal-caller Kyler Murray was left with 1:41 to work with, plenty of time for the dynamic rookie to guide his team into game-winning field-goal range.
Two back-breaking plays highlighted Arizona’s march downfield. The first was a 24-yard throw from Murray to running back David Johnson that put the ball at the Bengals 43-yard line. A couple of snaps later, Murray was stopped a mere 15 yards from the goal line on a 24-yard scramble into field-goal position.
It was right about then that Joseph and his defenders must’ve breathed a sigh of relief. Not long after, placekicker Zane Gonzalez nailed a 31-yard three-pointer that finally put the lights out on Cincinnati. Kudos to the Cardinals offense for emerging victorious in a contest that their defense had tried so desperately to lose.