Arizona Scores Close Win Over Ravens: Cardinals Retain Lead In NFC West

The Arizona Cardinals rolled over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football for a 28-16 victory. The win gave Arizona (5-2) a little more breathing room on top of the crowded NFC West.

The Cardinals were coming off a loss to the Steelers that made them the subject of negative media attention. Analysts were wondering if the Cardinals would be able to win the division or even compete after Landry Jones was able to hand them a loss. Jones took over for an injured Michael Vick and proceeded to torch the Cardinals. His performance earned him a start against the Chiefs.

While the Cardinals played with the desire to win, the Ravens seemed to be playing with caution. They looked like a team that was more concerned about making mistakes than playing passionate football. After all, it’s always that one bad play that seems to doom Baltimore to another loss.

Arizona Gets Close
[Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images]
There’s always something to help the Ravens lose. In this case, it was a late turnover that sealed the victory for the Cardinals. On that drive, Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh claimed, per The Baltimore Sun, that the sideline phones were going out.

“The phones were going out. We lost our phones. There’s always going to be some confusion. The good thing was that we got everything done fast. We didn’t lose any time,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll go back and study it, but according to the clock, we got things done pretty darn quickly. But the phones were going out. Flacco couldn’t hear Mark. I don’t know why the phones were going out on that drive, but they went out on that drive.”

Because Joe Flacco wasn’t able to communicate with coordinator Mark Trestman, the call may have been the wrong one against the defense the Cardinals were playing.

In front of a prime-time audience, the Cardinals ran off 19 unanswered points at one point to put away the Ravens, whose losing streak extended to three games. The Ravens (1-6) now have the worst record in franchise history.

Carson Palmer completed 20-of-29 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, for the Cardinals. Flacco was 26-of-40 for 252 yards, with a touchdown and that one interception. The Ravens’ Justin Forsett had a 14-yard touchdown run, but he finished with just 36 yards in 12 carries. The big star of the night was Chris Johnson. The Cardinals’ speedy back ran for 122 yards against the Ravens.

The play of the night came in the third quarter when Johnson hit the line and was pulled down, but he came to rest on the belly of 6-foot-1, 335-pound Brandon Williams. Johnson’s knee or elbow didn’t touch, so he alertly got up and kept running to the four-yard line.

Johnson said he’d never been part of a play like that.

“Basically, you just keep playing until the whistle,” Johnson said. “That’s something Arians teaches us. We always have to play to the whistle and have to finish. That’s something you learn coming up from little league. Keep playing until the whistle blows.”

Arizona Gets Close
[Photo by Nils Nilsen/Getty Images]
That play helped the Cardinals take a 20-10 lead. After scoring again, the extra point was missed by Arizona kicker Chandler Cantanzaro. That miss set up the drama for the Ravens’ attempted comeback.

Flacco and the Ravens took over at their 24-yard line, with 1:53 left, and were faced with a 76-yard drive to tie the game. The Ravens made the task look easy and gave the Monday night crowd their money’s worth. The Cardinals pressured Flacco but couldn’t sack him. Flacco worked the Ravens down to the Cardinals’ four-yard line before making a crucial mistake.

Flacco spotted Crockett Gilmore and tried to hit him over the middle. Two plays earlier, Gillmore had beaten safety Tony Jefferson. But Jefferson intercepted the final pass in the end zone to close out the game.

[Feature Photo by Norm Hall / Getty Images, Video via YouTube]

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