Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ross D Franklin/AP/Shutterstock (13482106at) Arizona Cardinals running back Keaontay Ingram (30) celebrate his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, in Glendale, Ariz Saints Cardinals Football, Glendale, United States – 20 Oct 2022
Cardinals 42, Saints 34
The Arizona Cardinals hosted the New Orleans Saints Thursday night in a matchup of 2-4 teams looking to turn things around after injury-riddled starts. The big news bringing hope to the desert was the return of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, making his season debut after a six-game suspension against a Saints’ secondary missing both Paulson Adebo and Marshon Lattimore. A key for Arizona entering the night was to reverse a trend that’s seen them trail at halftime in all six games this season, but their defense would make that difficult by faltering in the opening minutes.
New Orleans scored almost immediately, capping off a four-play, 75-yard drive with a 53-yard pass from Andy Dalton to Rashid Shaheed for a 7-0 lead. Arizona would hit a big play on the ensuing drive, a Kyler Murray pass to Rondale Moore for 31 yards into Saints’ territory – but after the drive stalled out moments later, the Cardinals turned to new Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship to make it 7-3. New Orleans’ second drive was looking just as effective as the first, but with a different methodology – this time, it was a 15-play drive that brought them deep into Arizona territory. New Orleans looked primed to score again, but seven-year veteran, Antonio Hamilton’s first career interception, would give the Cardinals back the football with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Cardinals would put together a second straight successful drive to start the game, a departure from what they’d become used to early in games this season. Once again, though, they’d fall short, settling for a second Blankenship field goal to make it 7-6. The track meet of offense would continue on the next Saints’ drive, as a 64-yard pass to Kevin White set up a 3-yard Taysom Hill touchdown reception that made it 14-6. Arizona’s next drive would leave them staring at a fourth down deep in New Orleans’ territory again, but Kliff Kingsbury decided he’d had enough of settling for field goals. Kyler Murray rewarded his head coach’s aggressiveness with a conversion, and moments later, Arizona would score their first touchdown on a rush by Keaontay Ingram. A successful two-point conversion tied the game at 14. On the game’s next possession, a major offensive mistake was once again committed by the New Orleans’ offense – this time, a pass off the hands of Marquez Callaway intercepted and run back for the go-ahead touchdown by Marco Wilson to make it 20-14. Andy Dalton would almost immediately throw his third interception of the first half on the next Saints’ drive, this one run back 56 yards by Isaiah Simmons for yet another Cardinals touchdown, suddenly extending their lead to 28-14 heading into halftime.
New Orleans came out of the break needing to change the momentum in a big way, and they’d do so with a big defensive stop and a Taysom Hill pass to Chris Olave for 41 yards and an instant red-zone opportunity. Arizona’s defense would hold from there, but Wil Lutz’s first field goal of the night made it 28-17. The next offensive possession for each club would end in a punt, but Arizona would drive 85 yards late in the third quarter and convert for a Greg Dortch touchdown to make it 35-17 as the game headed to the fourth quarter.
The Saints, needing points in a hurry, put together a 46-yard drive in just 100 seconds to start the fourth quarter, polishing it off with a 17-yard touchdown to Juwan Johnson to make it 35-24 with just over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Needing a stop on the ensuing Arizona drive, New Orleans wouldn’t get one. Eno Benjamin’s touchdown run put Arizona ahead 42-24 after a bruising, time-consuming drive, leaving New Orleans in big trouble with just over six minutes to play. Andy Dalton would lead two nice Saints’ drives resulting in a Juwan Johnson touchdown and a Wil Lutz field in the final minutes, but it was too little and too late after New Orleans failed to recover an onside kick. The win moves Arizona to 3-4, within half a game of the division-leading 49ers and Rams heading into Week 8, while New Orleans heads home wondering what could have been after a mistake-riddled loss drops them to 2-5.
Next Week: Arizona: at Minnesota, New Orleans: vs Las Vegas