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The Arizona Cardinals celebrated another overtime victory on Sunday as they managed to stay in the NFC playoff hunt. They defeated the visiting Cleveland Browns by a final score of 20-17, improving their record to 7-7 overall and 5-2 at home.
Let's take a look at some of the key offensive numbers in the game.
Quarterback John Skelton had a fairly average game for the Cardinals, finishing the game going 28-for-46 with 313 passing yards, a touchdown, an interception and a 79.3 passer rating. The touchdown came with 0:19 left in the first half, on a nine-yard pass to Andre Roberts.
The difference maker in this game proved to be Jay Feely, who tied the game on a 33-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and won the game in overtime on a 22-yard field goal.
For all news and information regarding the Arizona Cardinals, please visit Revenge of the Birds.
The Arizona Cardinals continue to play dangerously, but they're still alive for one of the final two playoff spots in the NFC. But they're not even close to controlling their own fate despite winning six of their last seven games.
First Arizona has to win out. They have to go to Cincinnati and beat a Bengals team fighting for the final playoff spot in the AFC. Then they must beat Seattle in what could be a wild-card elimination game, as both teams could be 8-7 going into that contest.
That's not all they need. The Cards also need either the Atlanta Falcons or Detroit Lions to start dropping football games. Both the Falcons and Lions stand at 9-5 and should clinch with one victory by each of them. The Falcons do have to play at New Orleans but also have a home date against Tampa Bay.
The Lions have a tougher go of it against San Diego and Green Bay, so the Cardinals need to probably win out and hope the Lions stumble toward the finish. Unfortunately for Arizona, the Packers lost their chance at an undefeated season and suffered a few injuries in their loss to Kansas City. That sets up a final week match up between the the Lions and Packers with only the Lions having something to play for.
It's a long shot for the Cardinals to sneak in to the playoffs but at least the discussion is worth having. After going 1-6 to start the season that didn't seem possible.
For more on the Cardinals and their playoff hopes, head to Revenge of the Birds.
Patrick Peterson did it again. No, he didn't return a punt for what would be a NFL record fifth time but he did go 32 yards to put the Arizona Cardinals in position to win the game in overtime against the Cleveland Browns. Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, however, thought there might have been some hanky panky on the play.
"We had a guy down in his face and you know were were trying to kick the ball out of bounds or try to pin him down there and the guy in his face thought we saw the fair catch (signal). So, that being the case, you circle behind him. Of course, that was not the case so that got someone immediately out of the way," Shurmur said after the game.
Video replay of the punt return doesn't show it that way. There was no overhead wave by Peterson. There was no Browns player "in his face" and there was no one that circled behind him.
There was Patrick Peterson doing his thing which, as Larry Fitzgerald explains, is making plays in pressure situations.
"The thing you love about Patrick (Peterson) is that he wants the opportunity to make the play. He wants the pressure on his shoulders, and there aren't a lot of guys like that...You have a few guys when it hits the fan, they want the ball in their hands, they want the ball to be thrown to them, they want to be the guy covering the man, they want that pressure. He's one of those guys," Fitzgerald said about Peterson, and he should know one of those guys when he sees one.
The Arizona Cardinals continued with their habit of starting games slowly and finishing with flair. Patrick Peterson had a big punt return in overtime, John Skelton hit Larry Fitzgerald for a big pass in overtime and Jay Feely won the game with a 22-yard field goal in overtime to give the Arizona Cardinals a 20-17 overtime win over the Cleveland Browns. With the win the Cardinals evened their record to 7-7, keeping their playoff hopes alive. The win also marks the first four-game winning streak in the Ken Whisenhunt Era.
Arizona fell behind 10-0 in the first half, allowing Peyton Hillis to run the ball with authority. Arizona closed the gap to 10-7 just before halftime, as John Skelton ran the two-minute offense, taking the offense 65 yards in 1:30, hitting Andre Roberts for a nine-yard touchdown pass to bring the team within 10-7.
After the half, a failed blitz by Michael Adams led to a big play. Adams blitzed the corner, but Cleveland starter Seneca Wallace used his athleticism to escape the rush. With Adams in the backfield, linebacker Daryl Washington was left to cover receiver Greg Little, who got behind him. Wallace hit him for a 76-yard touchdown pass, giving the Browns a 17-7 lead.
On the ensuing drive, John Skelton was intercepted and it looked like the Cardinals' hopes would be dashed. However, the defense began to do its job and forced a punt.
Arizona went 11 plays and 87 yards to score on a one-yard run by Beanie Wells, bringing the score to 17-14 with just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
On the next drive were the biggest defensive plays. O'Brien Schofield sacked Wallace on second and on third down the ball came loose. It was ruled that it was not a fumble and Ken Whisenhunt challenged the ruling. All replays seemed to show that Wallace's arm was down before the ball came out, but apparently the elbow did not. The call was reversed and Arizona was given the ball at the Cleveland four-yard line.
That series was awful. They went backwards 10 yards before Jay Feely kicked a field goal to tie the game.
After one first down by Cleveland on the next drive, Arizona forced a punt and took over at their 11-yard line with a shot to have one of Skelton's patented comebacks. He drove them to the Cleveland 42 and on third down with only two yards to go, he could not connect with Early Doucet. Beanie Wells was not even in the game. They punted to Cleveland to play it safe and go for overtime or at best a shot at a Patrick Peterson punt return.
The defense did its job as the Browns had some questionable play calls. They punted and Peterson was unable to do anything with the return. Skelton hit Andre Roberts for nine yards but had incomplete passes on second and third downs. Dave Zastudil's punt ended regulation.
Cleveland won the overtime toss, but was forced to punt after gaining one first down.
That is where Patrick Peterson made his impact. He found some room and ran 32 yards to the Cleveland 40. After a pair of Beanie Wells runs, Larry Fitzgerald somehow found himself wide open deep and Skelton hit him for a 32-yard play down to the four-yard line.
Feely came in and split the uprights on his 22-yard attempt and that ended it.
It was Arizona's fourth straight win and sixth in seven games. It was also Skelton's fifth game-winning drive in his short career.
For the game, Skelton was 28/46 for 313 yards, one TD and one pick. He was sacked four times. Beanie Wells did not quite reach the 1000 yard mark. He needed 57 coming in to the game. He rushed 15 times for 51 yards, but did score his 10th TD.
Tight end Todd Heap had his best game of the season. He caught seven passes for 69 yards. Larry Fitzgerald was held to three catches and 69 yards, but he caught the ball that counted.
Defensively, only Schofield logged sacks and he got the two on Wallace.
For Cleveland, Seneca Wallace was 18/26 for 226 yards and a TD. Peyton Hillis rushed for 99 yards on 26 carries, but only had 48 yards on 17 carries after the first quarter. Greg Little had 136 yards receiving and a score on five catches.
The second half started with the Arizona Cardinals trying to replicate their scoring drive from the end of the first half. Instead, the offense went nowhere and the Cleveland Browns got the ball back. Neither team did much on the next few possessions until Browns QB Seneca Wallace was able to burn the Cardinals on a blitz and bust a big play for a touchdown. The Browns took a 17-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
On third and eight, the Cardinals blitzed off the corner but Seneca Wallace is able to elude the rush and scramble outside and find WR Gret Little matched up against ILB Daryl Washington. Despite Washington's exceptional speed, the WR beat him for a 76-yard touchdown play. The score gave the Browns at 17-7 lead late in the third quarter.
The Cardinals returned the kickoff, with the help of a Cleveland penalty, to the 50-yard line. Instead of converting the great field position into point, John Skelton threw his 10th interception of the season with CB Buster Skrine getting the pick.
The Browns have 272 total yards of offense and lead 17-7 after the third quarter. The Cardinals have 212 yards with the only turnover of the game.
After a very sluggish first quarter, the Arizona Cardinals were able to get their offense on track during their last drive of the half. At the end of the first half, the Cleveland Browns had a 10-7 lead. John Skelton lead a late drive and hit Andre Roberts for a nine-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left in the first half.
The first quarter was one of domination in all phases of the game by the Browns as Arizona started slowly once again. The Browns gained 110 rushing yards in the first quarter and Peyton Hillis had 51 of them, scoring a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Cleveland methodically moved down the field from the beginning of the second quarter and hit a 44-yard field goal to go up by 10.
The next drive by Arizona was better offensively, but they had to punt. They forced the Browns to punt once more and the Cardinals took over with 1:43 left on the clock.
Skelton took the offense 65 yards in 1:30 in nine plays and hit Roberts for the score. He was 6-8 on the drive for 62 of the yards.
Todd Heap has made an impact on the game so far. He has four catches for 41 yards. Beanie Wells has 22 yards rushing in six attempts and Skelton is 13-19 for 114 yards and a score. Neither team has turned over the ball.
Arizona has played much better in their streak in the second half of games. In all six of their wins so far this season, they have trailed at the half in all of them.
The Arizona Cardinals started their Week 15 game against the Cleveland Browns like a team who though they were supposed to win but didn't come out to play. They looked sluggish and sloppy in all facets of the game and found themselves down 7-0 after the first quarter.
On their first possession, the Cleveland Browns powered their way down the field against a Cardinals defense that looked like they were expected to cruise easily against the Browns. Cleveland went 76 yards on seven plays with Peyton Hillis going 35 yards and scoring the touchdown from one yard out.
John Skelton continued his early-game struggles, going 4-8 for just 33 yards on a series of short passes that were perhaps designed to get his confidence going early. Beanie Wells carried the ball four times for ten yards against the 31st-ranked Browns rushing defense.
The Browns have the ball and are driving as the game enters the second quarter.
The Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns will square off in Week 15 without the benefit of their starting quarterbacks. Both Kevin Kolb and Colt McCoy suffered concussions last week and will be held out to give each more time to recover and avoid additional long-term damage. In years past, guys would have played a week after getting their "bell rung", but fortunately today's NFL does a better job protecting its players.
With Kolb missing his fifth game of the season, John Skelton will get the start. The Cardinals are 3-1 in Skelton's starts and 4-1 if you include the 49ers game with Skelton at the helm for all but the first Cardinals offensive series of the game.
For the Browns, Seneca Wallace will start in place of McCoy. Wallace, 31, has appeared in three games for the Browns this season but only attempted two passes (both completed). This will be the first start of the season for the seven-year NFL vet and the 19th of his career.
The Cardinals will have all four of their tight ends active for the first time in many weeks. That means they will only dress four wide receivers for the game with Stephen Williams, DeMarco Sampson and Jaymar Johnson inactive.
Safety Kerry Rhodes makes his first appearance on the active roster since going down with a foot injury in early October. He won't start but could play in certain situations.
The Arizona Cardinals will be hosting the Cleveland Browns in Week 15 NFL action on Sunday. The Cardinals are flying high after three straight wins, including back-to-back upset wins over the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals still have a shot at the postseason, but will need to win the remainder of their regular-season games for that to be a real possibility. They're favorites to win the game against the Browns, however, so they will be focused on taking things one step at a time.
We have all of your relevant viewing information for following Sunday's game right here.
Time: Kickoff is scheduled for 2:15 PM MST at University of Phoenix Stadium.
TV: The game will be televised on CBS KPHO CBS 5. Your commentators will be Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker.
Radio: The radio broadcast will air on KTAR 620AM, or Sirius 93.
Betting Line: The Cardinals are currently favored to win by between 6.5 and 7.5 points, according to our friends over at OddsShark.
As things currently stand -- and you can check out the complete postseason picture over at ESPN --Arizona stands just two wins behind a potential Wild Card berth into the playoffs. Unfortunately, that means they also stand two losses behind a handful of teams that they will not be playing for the rest of the season. For the last three games of the 2011 NFL season, the Cardinals will need to win, win, win and hope that the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks lose, lose, lose.
Regarding the Seahawks, that team currently holds a tiebreak advantage over Arizona, but the two teams will face off in the final game of the season at University of Phoenix Stadium. To make that game mean that much, however, the Cardinals will have to win against the Browns and Bengals and hope that the other teams ahead of them in the playoff race go into an end-of-the-year skid. It seems like a tall order, but stranger things have happened. Arizona is riding on the momentum of two big upset wins and are playing some weak teams for the last three weeks of 2011. For the moment, anything is possible.
For all news and information regarding the Arizona Cardinals, please visit Revenge of the Birds.
The Arizona Cardinals are playing their best football of the season and they will look to continue their winning ways this Sunday against a struggling Cleveland Browns team. Fortunately for the Cardinals, it appears they will have most of their starters healthy and ready to go for Sunday. Beanie Wells is reportedly healthy and ready to go for Arizona, while quarterback Colt McCoy will miss the game with a concussion.
Here is the full injury report from Friday:
For more on the Cardinals, head on over to Revenge Of The Birds.
TEMPE -- Kerry Rhodes missed the start of the resurgence of the Arizona Cardinals defense, sitting out eight games due to injury. The safety might not be 100 percent healed, but it seems he's ready to play and contribute.
Meanwhile, there is be a gameday decision to be made on who will be at quarterback for the Cardinals, as Kevin Kolb is trying to come back from concussion symptoms and John Skelton could get the call.
Asked about Kolb's status for Sunday against the Cleveland Browns -- a must-win for the Cardinals with their faint playoff hopes -- coach Ken Whisenhunt wouldn't commit to naming a starter following Friday's practice.
"We'll see," Whisenhunt said. "It's one of those things, we still have to get to Sunday, but he's getting better and better."
And that was that. Whisenhunt made clear that no decision had to be made Friday.
As for Rhodes, the Cardinals plan to limit him to possibly 50 snaps. So said defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Rhodes said he's close to being back to full strength and hopes to be there by next week.
The issue isn't physical, Horton said, but psychological for Rhodes, who knows Horton's defense well and just needs to be in it to see it and make the proper calls.
"Kerry understood this from Day One. He was one of the ones who got it," Horton said.
Rhodes is fine with 50 plays. He said the decision to ease him back in was mutual between he and the coaches.In the meantime he was his teammates' best cheerleader, he said.
He spent his time on the sideline being observant and was happy to get back into practice and actually do what he has seen.
"It's going to be different. Practice is one thing than actually getting in the game and going downhill and playing full speed," Rhodes said. "The reaction to somebody giving me a double move or that stuff, it's going to be fun to see how that happens. I know I'll be up to the task, though. My mind's ready to go and I'm ready to go."
Rhodes said it looks fun watching his teammates fly around, as the Cardinals' D has led the team's rise in overall play. He's envisioned where he can fit in.
"I'm not worried about mistakes and not knowing what I'm doing," he said.
Rhodes feels the Cardinals' confidence never wavered though frustration did set in earlier in the season, but that has dissipated as the team has played closer to what players expected.
The Arizona Cardinals and the Cleveland Browns both could be missing their starting quarterbacks for similar reasons. Kevin Kolb (cleared to play, but in a Kurt Warner-type situation) and Colt McCoy (still suffering headaches) both have concussion-related issues that could keep them out of action for Sunday's game. This could force John Skelton and Seneca Wallace into action.
Both of them have proved they can manage a game, but neither of them should be relied upon to provide consistent offense for either team. If you have fantasy options like Larry Fitzgerald or Peyton Hillis, be wary before relying on them to be your main guys.
There is one good dose of good news: Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes should be returning to action soon.
Here are the rest of your injuries for both teams.
Both the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns are dealing with a multitude of injuries on both sides of the ball, but with Kevin Kolb and Colt McCoy suffering from concussions, the spotlight has been placed on the QB's for this week's matchup.
Kolb was limited in practice Wednesday, though did mention that he was feeling better. As for McCoy, he was sent home from Browns headquarters Wednesday and is said to be day-to-day heading into this Sunday.
Safety Sean Considine (foot) did not participate with the Cardinals on Wednesday , though LB Clark Haggans (hamstring), TE Rob Housler (shoulder), T Brandon Keith (ankle), LB Joey Porter (knee), WR DeMarco Sampson (ribs), RB Chris Wells (knee), P Dave Zastudil (biceps) all were limited on Wednesday. S Kerry Rhodes (foot) participated in full.
As for the Browns, WR Joshua Cribbs (groin), RB Owen Marecic (head, ankle), QB Colt McCoy (head, left hand), TE Benjamin Watson (head) all sat out of practice while G Shawn Lauvao (ankle), T Tony Pashos (ankle), LB Quinton Spears (hamstring), S T.J. Ward (foot) were all limited in practice. RB Montario Hardesty (calf), DE Jabaal Sheard (forearm) practiced in full on Wednesday.
The Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns both face questions regarding the status of their starting quarterbacks as they prepare for their Sunday game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. Kevin Kolb was knocked out of the Cardinals last game when he took an inadvertent knee to the back of his head on the first offensive possession. McCoy suffered a concussion in the Browns game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after this helmet-to-helmet hit by James Harrison. Harrison received a one-game suspension for the play.
Kolb reported feeling "not right" after the hit and was evaluated by the Cardinals medical staff and was subsequently held out of the rest of the game. McCoy, however, was allowed to check back into the game after the Browns trainers cleared him.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur said that had he known McCoy was hurt and had suffered a concussion, he would not have been allowed back in the game. He said it's very difficult to make a judgment on an injury just based on a collision on the field. According to Shurmur, McCoy's concussion symptoms didn't show up until later.
Kolb shed some light on how that can happen when he explained that his symptoms also worsened with time as the adrenaline from the game wore off.
On Wednesday, McCoy was sent home from the Brown's facility after he was evaluated by the staff. He is considered day-to-day for Sunday's game. If he can't go, veteran backup QB Seneca Wallace would get the start.
Kevin Kolb reported feeling better and said that he did participate in practice but in a limited manner.
"The symptoms are down. It's just a matter of making sure they're down long enough to where I can get out there and be in full speed, full action. It's a touchy subject and we want to make sure we err on the right side," Kolb said.
Kolb will try and do more on Thursday and "get back out there as soon as possible." He's obviously frustrated at having to come out of the game Sunday and is anxious to play but at the same time he understands the seriousness of a brain injury and vowed to be completely honest with the medical staff about his health.
Opening odds for this Sunday's matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns.
The Arizona Cardinals might be creeping back into the playoff hunt. But will they have their top quarterback leading them back to the January spotlight?
At the moment, it's a bit unclear. Kolb suffered another concussion this week, and even though the symptoms were ok for him, he might not be so keen on returning to action of things go just a little awry. Darren Urban reports from the Arizona Cardinals website.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb, during his weekly radio interview on XTRA 910, said his "symptoms are pretty good" Tuesday, and hopes to be able to be cleared for Sunday against Cleveland.
But Kolb, who said he has had two "major" concussions in his career, clearly is going to be smart after suffering a concussion against the 49ers.
"This is obviously something you don’t mess with," Kolb said. "We need our minds fresh as we go on through life. I’ll will push to be out there but also be honest with how I feel."
If you look at the situation of the Cardinals, it makes sense for Kolb to be extra cautious. Arizona is at 6-7 and are very much longshots to capture one of the two NFC wild-card bids. Kolb needs to be careful about rushing back to action if he's not fully healed, particularly since he has a history of head injuries. John Skelton has proven to be a capable backup and could go into action this week if needed.
Audio of the Kolb interview can be found here, at the XTRA 910 web site.
To discuss the situation of Kolb and Cardinals football in general, head on over to Revenge of the Birds.
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