GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals defense turned the game around with quarterback Andy Dalton’s pick-sixes on back-to-back drives just before halftime, and the team continued to pour it in the second half to beat the New Orleans Saints , 42- 34
The Cardinals’ 42 points are the most in a game since Week 17 of 2016 and the most under coach Kliff Kingsbury. The win breaks a streak of eight straight home losses for Arizona, which was the team’s longest home loss since 1940.
The Cardinals needed this win in the worst possible way. They got a 2-4 start, their offense was anemic, and they were on the verge of a preseason tailspin.
And then they put that performance together on national television behind an impressive defensive display highlighted by two interceptions returned for touchdowns. The two pick-sixes — one from cornerback Marco Wilson followed by one from linebacker Isaiah Simmons on back-to-back drives — put the Cardinals in command of a game that was tied at 14 before the first pick-six.
Thursday night could be the deciding game of the Cardinals season. DeAndre Hopkins has made an impression in his first game back from suspension. He had 103 yards on 10 catches and was adapting on offense as well as the Cardinals could hope. But defense finding its rhythm against the pass while complementing an offense that has found its own rhythm was what the Cardinals need to potentially turn the season around.
Describe the game in two words: pick sixes. The two interception returns for touchdowns at the end of the first half gave the Cardinals a commanding two-touchdown lead and set them up for the win.
Bold prognosis for next week: With 10 days between Thursday night’s game and the Cardinals’ next game, which is played at the Minnesota Vikings, Robbie Anderson will have plenty of time to download the playbook and understand his role so he can take on more of the offense. – Josh Weinfuss
Knowing underestimated statistics: The Cardinals had 28 points in the first half. Coming into play, they had a combined 29 first-half points in their first six games.
Next game: at Vikings (1pm ET, Oct. 30)
Saints of New Orleans
The Saints have vowed to fix the turnovers, poor tackles and poorly timed penalties. You have repeatedly stated that there is still a long season ahead of us.
But after their fifth loss in six games, the Saints seem to be getting worse. Dalton gave up 14 points with the two pick-sixes alone, and the Saints’ defense didn’t help as the unit that used to be the team’s strength has struggled this season.
Injuries certainly played a role in the result, as wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry were out and three cornerbacks were missing (Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo and now Bradley Roby). Injuries were only part of the problem, however, as the Saints suffered the same errors from Week 1 onwards.
QB collapse: Dalton and prime time performances just didn’t mix well. Dalton came on as the only quarterback to lose five straight prime-time games by at least 17 points since 1970. He added nothing to that streak after the Saints scored some late touchdowns to close the gap and threw for four total touchdowns. but back-to-back pick sixes (one hurled by receiver Marquez Callaway) certainly didn’t improve his prime-time reputation. With Jameis Winston beginning to recover, this was the worst possible time for Dalton to perform if he wanted to keep the starting quarterback job.
Worrying trend: The Saints came into play with the worst turnover differential in the league and didn’t help that stat. Their defense never took the ball away and the offense gave it away three times. The Saints have been extremely turnover-prone this year and have had penalties at their worst times. Saints coach Dennis Allen has said on numerous occasions that the team would work on some of these issues, but so far there has been no sign of fixing them.
Biggest hole on the board: The Saints’ playmakers appear to be disappearing at odd points in the game. Rookie receiver Rashid Shaheed, who made his NFL debut last week and had touchdowns on his first two career catches, was out of touch after a 53-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Taysom Hill, who had a goal that resulted in a touchdown catch, spent much of the fourth quarter on the sidelines. The Saints are already shorthanded on offense, so it seems odd not to field some players who have been bright spots this year unless it’s through injury. – Katherine Terrell
Knowing underestimated statistics: The Saints quarterbacks have thrown six pick-sixes since the start of last season, the most in that span in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams.
Next game: vs. Raiders (1pm ET, Oct. 30)
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34841772/cardinals-solve-scoring-woes-help-22-point-burst-two-minutes-beat-saints Cardinals solve scoring woes with help of 22-point burst in under two minutes to beat Saints