New Orleans Continues Winning Streak Against Arizona

Drew Brees returns from injury to put Arizona Cardinals win percentage below .500.
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In week 8 the Cardinals faced the Saints at the Superdome. New Orleans was able to work their voodoo on Arizona today, with a final score of 31-9. Despite having surgery 5 weeks ago, and still without full range of motion on his thumb, Drew Brees started the game. Almost immediately, Chandler Jones was able to get past the offensive line and began putting pressuring Brees. Each team’s defense was able to hold the opponenets to field goals in the opening drives, but Cardinals were able to score first as Saints kicker Will Lutz kick was wide. Kyler and the Arizona offense started the day off with an impressive wide receiver flea flicker, but that pretty much the only exciting play on the day for Cardinals fans.

The Saints dominated time of possession, mostly thanks to running back Latavius Murray who started the day strong. Both (Latavius) Murray and wide receiver Michael Thomas broke numerous tackles during the game. Saints head coach Sean Payton called some impressive plays that exploited the receiver’s separation from Cardinals defenders. Payton and the Saints were forced to utilize two timeouts after players appeared confused by play calling from the side lines, leaving only one timeout left with more than 9 minutes on the clock left. Despite their confusion, Latavius Murray was able to rush 6 yards for the touchdown, bringing the Saints to lead for the first time in the game. 

After the halftime break, the Cardinals were able to put together a drive with a combination of Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz wasn’t able to get both feet down in the end zone, summoning Gonzalez out for another field goal. At this point Cardinals trail by 4. Joining Chandler Jones in pressuring Brees was Haason Reddick who nearly sacked Brees, forcing the Saints to punt for the first time in the game. Despite his stellar performance last week, running back Chase Edmonds only had 6 run attempts on the day and left the game with a hamstring injury in the 3 quarter. Although the Cardinals have the 2 most penalties in the NFL, the Saints made some costly penalties, including a holding call on tackle Terry Armstead negating a Saints touchdown. 

Patrick Peterson was able to pick off Brees, bringing Kyler Murray and the Arizona offense back on the field. Unfortunately, the Arizona defense wasn’t given much of a break after the Cardinals went 3 and out. Both teams showed poor clock management in today’s game. Just as the Saints showed poor clock management in the first half, the second half was apparently the Cardinals turn. Kingsbury had to utilize two timeouts, leaving the Cardinals with only one timeout left with 7:40 left in the third quarter. That decision came back to haunt him just a few minutes later after when a pass to Christian Kirk was broken up by Saints defender. Kingsbury fiddled with the challenge flag for a moment but neglected to throw it. 

In another surprise play call, Kingsbury chose to go for it on 4 down and 1 at the Cardinals own 30-yard line, allowing the Saints to take over on downs. Despite the optics of the game, the Cardinals defense had kept the team in the game until the Saints scored in a touchdown in 3 plays, leading the Cardinals 24 to 9. The 4 and 1 call seemed to throw the Cardinals off mentally, and the rest of the game they were not able to get anything going offensively. Saints quickly expanded that lead to the final score. Although a decent showing by Cardinals fans in New Orleans, the ‘Who Dat’ nation really helped the Saints in confusing the young Cardinals team.