Arizona Cardinals arrive at 10th anniversary of the “Brian Hartline game”

Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arizona Cardinals were quite a different-looking squad in 2012.

Remember 2012? The Arizona Cardinals got off to a 4-0 start, but then the roof caved in for the rest of the year. The only bright spot remaining that season is when Jay Feely went nuts on the Denver Broncos and scored 22 points himself in that game.

But that’s not the focus of this article. Do you remember Brian Hartline? If you do, and it sends shivers down your spine, then you know exactly where this is headed. If it’s slipped your mind, let me take you back to the game.

The Cardinals entered this game undefeated after beating Russell Wilson at home in his first-ever start (a trend that wouldn’t continue) in Week 1. In Week 2, Stephen Gostkowski shanked a field goal wide of the goalposts, and the Cardinals won by two points.

In Week 3, the Cardinals demolished Kevin Kolb’s former team (The Eagles) in a 27-6 win. The Cardinals were looking for their first 4-0 start since 1974.

All they had to do was beat the lowly 1-2 Miami Dolphins.

Brian Hartline torches the Arizona Cardinals in the desert, but the Cardinals get the last laugh.

On par with Cardinals history, the Cardinals let a totally inferior talent dominate them. Rookie Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for over 430 yards in this game. 253 of them went to Brian Hartline, who burned Cardinals cornerback William Gay all day long.

The Cardinals rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit by Kevin Kolb-Larry Fitzgerald passing touchdown in the third quarter. Then early in the fourth quarter, Kolb hit Andre Roberts for a 46-yard score, giving Arizona its first lead with 9:54 to go.

Then just two minutes of game time later, Tannehill launched a deep pass to Hartline for an 80-yard score, and all chaos broke loose. Miami hit the two-point conversion on a pass to Javorskie Lane, and the Dolphins were up, 21-14.

With less than three minutes to go, the Cardinals got the ball back and immediately gave up sacks on both first and second down to force a 3rd and 18. Kolb would hit Roberts for a 16-yard gain, and Arizona took a timeout before facing a 4th and 2.

Roberts caught a Kolb pass and got the first down, and the Cardinals marched down to tie the game on another Kolb-Roberts score with 0:22 left.

The Cardinals would kick a field goal to win after Kerry Rhodes intercepted Tannehill in overtime, but the damage was done. Gay would go back to Pittsburgh the following season and play the rest of his career there.

It’s one of the more “lost” games in Cardinals history, as the 2012 season was such a drag.

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