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Cardinals vs. Browns final score: Arizona overcomes fumbles, Palmer throws 4 TDs in 34-20 win over Cleveland

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A tale of two halves bring the Arizona Cardinals to a 6-2 record. We break down each quarter in the Cardinals win and highlight all of the big plays in each half.

Michael Floyd is king of the big plays with John Brown out in the Cardinals win.
Michael Floyd is king of the big plays with John Brown out in the Cardinals win.
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

We breakdown the game in our quarter by quarter recap.

First Quarter Recap

Cardinals Offense – 1st

David Johnson takes the kick out to the 18 yard line and is gang tackled. Palmer and company take the field and takes the team down the field but gets stuff for a long 3rd down. On 38 yard gain on 3rd and 8 on the opening drive to J.J. Nelson was a huge third down play. One handed catch.

Larry Fitzgerald catches a contested ball to make it a 3rd and 2 and then Jermaine Gresham catches the check down with a great ball placement on Gresham’s outside right shoulder.

Troy Niklas with his 2nd catch of the 2015 season and first touchdown of his career. Palmer had plenty of time and suddenly saw Niklas open in corner of the end zone. Cardinals lead 7-0 capping off a huge opening drive going 3 for 3 in 3rd down situations.

Cardinals Defense – 1st

Huge defensive play driving Cleveland Browns Quarterback Josh McCown back into the Browns end zone causing him to heave the ball away looking like it could be a safety, but a flag on the play for illegal contact on Patrick Peterson causes it to be a 5 yard penalty and a first down.

The Cardinals defense is stout and forces a punt, which goes deep to the Cardinals 15 yard line.

Cardinals Offense – 2nd

On the 2nd play Palmer had to air it out quickly on a deep throw to Michael Floyd and it is just a yard in front of Floyd and he can’t make the catch, even though Floyd had two steps on the defender. One 3rd and 9 Floyd makes a sideline catch against Browns CB Joe Haden for a first down. It looks like a clean catch but the Browns head coach Pettine challenges the play. The play is confirmed and it will cost the Browns a challenge and a time out.

Chris Johnson makes a big play running up the field but the Browns’ Karlos Dansby forces a fumble. Browns recover and run it back to the 11 yard line with Carson Palmer making the stop.

Cardinals Defense – 2nd

Tony Jefferson catches Turbin in the backfield for an open field tackle. The next play Mathieu knocks the ball out of TE Gary Barnidge’s hands on excellent coverage in the end zone. On third down Josh McCown throws a precise strike to Brian Hartline for a touchdown tying the game 7-7.

Cardinals Offense – 3rd

Palmer had to kill the screen play on a busted play, it looks like Gresham didn’t make his block. On the next play, Palmer throws the quick pass to Fitzgerald which is short of the 1st. Cardinals fist 3 and out on the day. Butler punts, and my heart skips a beat as the Browns get close to Butler. The ball goes to the Browns 38 yard line.

Cardinals Defense – 3rd

On a player mismatch Browns’ dynamic rookie RB Duke Johnson Jr. catches out of the slot and runs right past LB Kevin Minter and it takes a swarm of Cardinals to bring him down at the 9 yard line.

2nd Quarter

Luckily Woodley stays home and forces McCown to throw it away on a play action. Brown’s TE Gary Barnidge on the back shoulder fade and McCown throws his 2nd touchdown of the day. It was so obvious announcer Chris Cooley called it before the play was snapped. Browns take the lead 14-7.

Cardinals Offense – 4th

David Johnson takes it out to the 25 yard line. Larry Fitzgerald makes an incredible block to keep the drive alive and Chris Johnson makes cut after cut to get the first down. Larry follows it up with a deep run and gets his finger tips on a huge deep pass but can’t pull it in because Palmer aired it out just a little too far. On 3rd down Palmer is sacked due to poor protection from Massie and Floyd being wide open on the left side. The punt to the Browns takes them to the mid-twenties.

Cardinals Defense – 4th

Taylor Gabriel makes a huge superman style catch to make the first down, and laid untouched for a few seconds before finally the Cardinals defenders tap him. That had bad situation all over it if someone didn’t tap him quickly. The Browns are trying to get the ground game going but the Cardinals running game is staying tough, but they’re allowing a lot of plays through the air. On 3rd and nine, Barnidge catches a 13 yard catch and Arizona challenges the play as it looked like Barnidge used the ground to catch the ball. The ruling on the rule stands, meaning they couldn’t see enough to change the play.

On the next play, a play-action-screen lets Duke Johnson make plays in space after a rare Matthieu missed tackle. The Cardinals are suffering in the passing game, and McCown is targeting Bethel on the outside. Peterson contests a catch but Benjamin keeps the ball and is taken down by Woodley.

A fumble on the play by Turbin, but he’s able to recover.

McCown is able to scramble and get the first down with his legs and slides, but during the slide Kevin Minter makes contact and the flag comes out causing a penalty and half the distance to the goal. Browns at the five yard line after 11 plays and the penalty.

On a direct snap Turbin has a running lane but the Cardnials bring him down at the 2 yard line. The next play is incomplete and brings up a 3rd and goal. On a blitz Matthieu holds unnecessarily and Brian Hartline makes his 2nd touchdown catch of the day. Luckily for the Cardinals the point after is no good. Browns 20-7.

Cardinals Offense – 5th

Just over 4:30 left in the half and Palmer hits J.J. Nelson for a deep strike midfield. Palmer tries to go deep again to Larry Fitzgerald and the Brown cause an illegal contact and the Cardinals get the first down. J.J. Nelson reminds us that he’s a rookie and takes too long to come out of his route as Palmer throws it quickly. Luckily, J.J. gets a chance to recover and catches a must catch first down on the sideline as Palmer beats the blitz.

Two minute warning. Palmer is able to use the hard count and draw the Browns off sides. Palmer is unable to get to Gresham on the short pass. Again, Gresham gets a chance to redeem himself and catches a ball dragging Haden out of bounds to stop the clock. Palmer throws the ball to Larry Fitzgerald inside the 10 and is stripped while running. The ball is recovered by the Browns.

Cardinals Defense – 5th

The Browns use a draw play and Crowell gets five yards on the give. The Cardinals are able to hold the Browns to a 3 and out and use all of their timeouts. Patrick Peterson in the backfield to receive the punt. Peterson is able to scoop up the low kick and return it to the 50 yard line.

Cardinals Offense – 6th

J.J. Nelson causes a false start and now the Cardinals have a 1st and 15 at their 45 yard line. On a deep strike Michael Floyd catches a 27 yard gain and is able to get out of bounds to stop the clock. Fitz catches a ball at the 20 yard line and Palmer spikes the ball. The Cardinals run a risky play and throw into the end zone and Floyd makes an incredible catch for a touchdown that is nullified by offsetting penalties. So on 3rd and 2 with two seconds left the Cardinals kick the field goal to make is Browns 20 – Cardinals 10 to end the first half.

Half Time

3rd Quarter

Cardinals Defense – 6th

The Browns receive in the 2nd half and take the ball out to the 26 yard line. McCown gets shaken up on a hit from Minter to his chest on a 3rd down throw and the Browns punt the ball back to Patrick Peterson.

Cardinals Offense – 7th

Cardinals get a first down after a difficult first three plays. On the fourth play of the drive Palmer is able to hit Floyd on a deep strike on the right hash for a 60 yard touchdown with Floyd beating his defender over the stop and staying in bounds for the touchdown. Browns 20 – Cardinals 17.

Cardinals Defense – 7th

Touchback. Browns’ McCown takes the field and shows some toughness. He’s looking like he’s in pain and Frostee Rucker comes untouched and gets a big hit on McCown who throws incomplete. On the next play McCown gets hit hard by Rucker and there is an illegal hands to the face call which gives a first down to the Browns.

The Browns turn to the run to give McCown a breather but Arizona comes out aggressive and tackles for a loss. On the dump pass McCown hits Crowell in stride and takes the Browns to 3rd and 5.

McCown hits Hartline and he’s unable to keep it as he goes to the ground, causing a punt. Peterson catches the deep booming punt at the 10 and brings it back up the middle. Cardinals start blocking and making a lane help get Peterson back to the 50 yard line. The ground causes a fumble, but Martin recovers the fumble at the 48 regardless.

Cardinals Offense – 8th

On first down Palmer uses play action and throws deep to Jaron Brown for 39 yards and it’s 1st and Goal Arizona. The Browns secondary is starting to take some hits as Whitner and Haden are both on the sideline with injury.

Chris Johnson power running and getting four yards.

Johnson on his second give falls just one yard short of the endzone, 3rd and goal. A. Q. Shipley checks in the Browns show run, but fake and Palmer rolls out TE Troy Niklas is running free in the end zone. Palmer hits him in stride for the touchdown. Catanzaro’s kick is good. Cardinals 24 – Browns 20.

Cardinals Defense – 8th

On 3rd down McCown sees the blitz and takes two big hits but completes the strike to Hartline. It looks like Frostee Rucker may have injured his knee on the play. Following a false start, Barnidge catches for 12 yards. 2nd and 3 Hartline tries to reel in a bolt thrown by McCown but can’t hang onto it. Third down, Freeney causes a strip of McCown recovered by the Browns. Browns punt to the 22 yard line.

Cardinals Offense – 9th

Chris Johnson on back to back runs brings up big Palmer passing play. Palmer forces it deep into triple coverage and throws the interception. Larry Fitzgerald is there immediately and brings down the defender.

Cardinals Defense – 9th

Cardinals catch a break and are able to force the three and out. The punt is deep to the 10 yard line. Patrick Peterson in an ill-advised catch, but he’s able to bring it back to the 10 yard line.

Cardinals Offense – 10th

Palmer hits Fitzgerald on the WR screen and Larry is able to bring it out to the 25 yard line. Chris Johnson gets hit and fumbles on huge hit and the Browns recover the fumble at their 30 yard line. That was the 4th turnover for the Cardinals.

Cardinals Defense – 10th

McCown runs the ball and Minter hits him going to the ground and quickly pops up looking around hoping he didn’t draw another flag. Luckily, he did not. Closing the 3rd quarter with the Browns driving.

4th Quarter

False start on the Browns, 2nd and 9. Cardinals Rashad Johnson gets an interception and gets both feet in the end zone before going out of bounds!

The Cardinals get their first turn over of the day.

Cardinals Offense – 11th

Johnson gets the ball put back in his hands and he gets a strong stiff arm to gain 7 yards. His next play Dansby is able to break it up and Johnson loses one yard on the carry. On a huge third down Palmer has to throw it quick and he hits Larry Fitzgerald while being taken down. Larry uses his stiff arm to push down field for the first and five yards.

Palmer goes deep for Floyd but over throws Floyd who was covered in man to man coverage. On 2nd and 10, Palmer goes for Jaron Brown but throws incomplete.

On a huge 3rd down Palmer looks confused but then screens to David Johnson with blockers up the field, he runs for over 30 to the 28 yard line.

First down run, Chris Johnson runs for six and if he beats his man goes to the house. Quick pass outside to Michael Floyd for the first down and can’t shake his man for the score but stays on his feet battling.

Offsides play gives the Cardinals a free five yards, making it 2nd and 4. Due to pressure Palmer has to throw it away bringing up 3rd down.

Palmer sees man to man coverage and takes off for the end zone. Dansby is the man to beat but makes a shoe lace tackle where Palmers elbow hits down at the one yard line. Palmer fumbles and recovers his own fumble in the end zone. Initial ruling on the field is a touchdown recovery in the end zone.

After the review Palmer was down at the 1 yard line. What appears to be an easy touchdown run for Chris Johnson is called back by a false start on Bobby Massie. Larry Fitzgerald catches a touchdown on the outside corner of the end zone. Larry’s foot gets tucked under the defender and Larry appears to injure his ankle on the play. Touchdown Cardinals, XP is good Cardinals 31 – Browns 20.

Cardinals Defense – 11th

Hartline drops another pass from McCown and with his third drop of the day McCown is losing faith in Hartline. Second pass is good for 9 and a quick snap for a first down.

Barnidge and McCown keep hooking up, and Barnidge is able to catch a pass for 17 yards and McCown throws another deep strike for 15 yards to the side line to follow it up.

Turbin drops the ball taking the momentum out of the Browns during a key drive and the Cardinals recover.

Cardinals Offense – 12th

Cardinals give the ball to Chris Johnson who is covering the ball with two hands and gets two yards on the run. Ellington gets the ball but is immediately brought down by the 340 lb nose tackle. On 3rd and 11 Palmer takes a sack but Michael Floyd was being held down the field bringing up 1st and 10.

David Johnson on the toss play while fighting for yards is stripped but the Browns are unable to recover the ball in bounds. The Browns player was still moving the ball while out of bounds. The Cardinals take a time out with 3rd and 3.

David Johnson gets the pass out of the backfield and makes the first down and keeps driving up the field. Chris Johnson picks up nine on the run on first down. The Cardinals are trying to run out the clock with Johnson’s legs. 3rd and 1 Johnson slips a tackle and gains six yards on the play.

Chris Johnson showing his five yard average and is grinding out the clock. A pass to Floyd on the outside which looks like pass interference, but is not called. Catanzaro kicks a FG bringing Arizona to 34 to the Browns’ 20 points.

Cardinals Defense – 12th

The Browns are going to bring in Manziel with 2:16 left on the clock. Manziel passes on his first play to Benjamin and makes four yards. Dwayne Bowe and Manziel have some confusion and an incomplete pass. Manziel passes to Hartline for a completion and first down and brings up the two minute warning.

Mathieu with a quick hit on Barnidge, followed by a sack on Manziel. Manziel throws on 3rd and 8 and it’s over Hartline’s head. 4th and 8 comes up with no time outs left. Justin Bethel almost intercepts the final pass and it’s a turnover on downs.

Cardinals Offense – 13th

The Cardinals bring out the victory formation and head into the bye week 6-2.

Final Score Cardinals 34- Browns 20.