It was an awesome win tonight for the Cardinals to beat Palmer's old team on prime time television, but it certainly wasn't the smoothest win this season. After throwing two first quarter interceptions, Carson Palmer threw for four touchdowns, J.J. Nelson broke out with over 100 yards and a score and Chandler Catanzaro hit his first game-winning field goal to give the Cardinals a 34-31 win over theCincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football.
The game started off with so much promise for the Cardinals offense. Larry Fitzgerald caught the first pass for a first down and two plays later caught the ball for another first down to eclipse 13,000 yards in his career -- third fastest in the NFL behind Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. Afterwards though the offense went into a downward spiral and on a 3rd and 20, Carson Palmer threw an interception while going to another first down to Larry.
Cinnati got the ball on their 35 yard line and looked much better offensively, but a taunting penalty on Jeremy Hill pushed the team into a 3rd and 24 leading to a punt.
Two failed three and outs by both teams lead to the Cardinals with the ball with 3:46 left in the quarter and Palmer made a terrible decision by forcing the ball deep almost ten yards further than where John Brown was running and was intercepted by safety Reggie Nelson.
The Bengals capitalized on the turnover by hitting A.J. Green for a 42 yard catch. A few runs, a holding penalty and a 12 yard pass to Giovanni Bernard and Andy Dalton threw to Tyler Eifert for a 3 yard touchdown and the lead as the quarter ended.
Arizona spent the next five minutes sputtering as they slowly moved the ball down the field only to hit J.J. Nelson, who had an amazing game, for a 23 yard catch. Capping off the drive was Palmer to Darren Fells for an 18 yard touchdown tying it up 7-7.
But the Bengals were ready for an answer. Jeremy Hill came out ripping off first downs punctuated with Dalton usign his arm to keep the Cards defense off balance, 14 plays, 80 yards and 8:32 seconds later Hill ran the ball into the end zone.
Bengals 14, Cardinals 7
After a poor first half (relative for all 2015 Cardinals fans -- weird to type, I know), the Cardinals came out a different team. Forcing the Bengals to punt, Palmer after four plays hit J.J. Nelson for a 64 yard touchdown catch and taking the lead for the first time it the game.
The defense stopped Cincinnati again on a three and out. The Cardinals changed it up and ran down the field off of Chris Johnson's 26 total yards to cap off an 18 yard touchdown catch to John Brown putting up the Cards 21-14.
For a third time, the Cards shut down the Bengals stopping them with a classic Dwight Freeney spin move sack forcing them to punt. Palmer turned around hit Nelson for a 36 yard catch only to follow it up with a sixteen yard catch by David Johnson for their fourth touchdown.
The ensuing drive showed the Bengals weren't giving up and Andy Dalton hit Marvin Jones and A.J. Green to end the quarter on the Cardinals 38 yard line.
Dalton made two more huge passes and scored off another Jeremy Hill touchdown run to it a one score game. The Cards tried to continue their scoring, but the Bengals defense played well enough to force a punt. Cincinnati's next drive though was stopped after a Markus Golden hit turned into a Deone Bucannon recovered fumble. The recovery was huge and setup Catanzaro for a 24 yard field goal.
The ensuing kickoff was returned for 58 yards to midfield and though Rodney Gunter had a fantastic sack the Bengals were able to keep the drive alive enough to finish on a second touchdown for 10 yards to Tyler Eifert with 3:49 seconds left in the game.
Cardinals 31, Bengals 28.
The next drive the Cardinals failed to make any progress and punted, props to Butler for the 55 yard punt. It wasn't all good news though as Cincinnati moved into Cards territory and tied the game 31-31 off a 43 yard field goal.
Palmer wasn't ready to lose tonight though and took the field with :58 seconds left on the clock. He hit Nelson for 19 yards, Fitz for 18 then 20 yards setting Catanzaro up for a 34 yard field to win the game.
Cardinals 34, Bengals 31.