After trailing by 21 points. the Arizona Cardinals had a chance to drive down the field and end the Baltimore Ravens 21-game preseason winning streak.
Ultimately, the Cardinals fell short in their second preseason game, falling to the Ravens 24-17 and extending the Ravens' streak to 22. Despite the loss, the home crowd at State Farm Stadium was gifted an impressive fourth-quarter rally from the Cards.
Down by 14 with 8:29 left in the game, the chances seemed dim for a Cardinals comeback until Ravens quarterback Anthony Brown threw a dart straight to linebacker Chandler Wooten for an interception.
“It happened really fast, I just dropped [back] and next thing you know the ball is right there,” Wooten said. “It’s one of those things where it happened like a blink of an eye.”
Following the interception, fourth-string quarterback Jarrett Guarantano entered the game for the first time.
On his third play, Guarantano lofted a ball into the end zone and into the hands of wide receiver Jontre Kirklin. The Cardinals defense just had to stand tall and give the ball back to the offense for one final drive.
Baltimore couldn’t find a way to ice the game, instead punting after five plays. It was in the hands of the offense to drive down the field 85 yards and win the game.
Guarantano tried to connect with Kirklin down the field on two consecutive passes to start the drive, but the passes were off. On third-and-10, Guarantano sent a bullet pass across the field to tight end Chris Pierce Jr. for a 19-yard reception and a first down.
The drive and the hopes of a win came to an end when Guarantano lost 15 yards on consecutive sacks. On one final play, a fourth-and-10, Guarantano tossed the ball down field to Kirklin, but the ball fell to the ground, overthrown.
The Cardinals rally came around the same time that Kyler Murray put on the headset. For the second straight game, the star quarterback called all the plays in the fourth quarter. After a not so successful attempt last week, Murray rebounded with two scoring drives.
“He got the headset, he got the game plan in front of him, he was marking stuff down, he was all into it so it was cool to see him get into that role,” quarterback Trace McSorley said. “I think he went back and went into this one a little more ready to call a game.”
The fourth quarter near comeback wasn’t enough to make up for the lackluster performance in the first three quarters.
The Cardinals offense struggled to move down the field for most of the game. McSorley led the way for the majority of the game, but his passes were often thrown off balance or he scrambled for minimal yards.
“I had some easy throws I could have taken early in the progression. I was trying to get to two and three [instead of] just taking the first one in the progression,” McSorley said.
McSorley, a former player on the Ravens, ended his night with 18 completions on 34 pass attempts for 229 yards and two interceptions.
“I thought it was a little up and down. I think trying a little too hard against his old team to start but he’s scrappy, and continued to make plays,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I think we moved the ball well at times, but you’d like to have a couple of those throws back but he’s going to give you a chance because he can move around and make plays and he’s tough.”
McSorley ended his night on a good note, leading a 16-play, 74-yard drive that began the Cardinals rally. The former Ravens QB finished the day with a 1-yard touchdown run off a fake handoff to running back Keaontay Ingram.
Arizona's running attack was held in check by the Ravens defense, totaling only 55-yards on 21 carries.
The Cardinals defense struggled just as much as the offense. The Ravens marched down field with ease throughout the night as Arizona struggled to find a way to stop the pass or the run. Kingsbury attributed it to the failure to make tackles.
“I thought we were in place, just got to get those guys down, but we need to be better [at] tackling,” Kingsbury said.
Ravens starting quarterback Lamar Jackson did not play and in his place Tyler Huntley took the lead. Huntley had a stellar day, tallying only one incomplete pass on his 14 pass attempts.
The Cardinals saw bright spots from running back Jonathan Ward, who took over kickoff returning duties for the game. Ward led the game with 90 yards on his three returns. The running back's night was cut short due to a shoulder injury halfway through the game.
“It’s a shoulder, shouldn’t be too bad, more of an AC,” Kingsbury said.
Other injuries included safety Charles Washington, who left the game early due to a chest injury and center Lecitus Smith had to be helped off the field during the third quarter but returned.
On the brighter side, Andy Isabella was a standout for the night. The wide receiver is in danger of losing his roster spot this season, but his performance might have helped his cause. Isabella was second on the team in receiving yards with 54, bringing in five catches on eight targets.
“Couldn’t be more impressed with how he has attacked this camp, we got a bunch of big-time names at wide receiver and he came in, hasn’t missed one day, runs every route as hard as he can go, takes as many reps as he can take and has really produced at a high level this camp,” Kingsbury said. “ I’m excited to see that hard work paying off for him.”
The Cardinals will fly to Tennessee Tuesday to participate in joint practices with the Tennessee Titans. Arizona will close out its preseason with a game against the Titans on Saturday.