The Arizona Cardinals jumped all over the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter with a series of forced turnovers, a punt return touchdown and a couple of nice throws from Kevin Kolb. The defense got pressure on Joe Flacco and with a 24-3 lead found themselves in control of the ball game.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, a 21-point road lead isn't enough as they get outscored 24-3 in the second half and lose their sixth-straight game on a last second field goal. The final score for the Ravens win, 30-27.
The tide of a game that started so well for Arizona turned late in the 2nd quarter when the Ravens put the ball in Flacco's hands. That typically not been a good recipe for the Ravens but against the Cardinals defense it worked. Instead of the inaccurate passes he made early in the game, Flacco found a rhythm and marched his team down the field and into the red zone. A Cardinals sack forced a field goal, but momentum had shifted.
That momentum carried over to the second half with the Ravens offense scoring touchdowns after 80 and 88 yard drives thanks to an incredible performance by former Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin who easily abused young cornerbacks A.J. Jefferson and Patrick Peterson in single coverage.
When the Cardinals adjusted coverage to take away Boldin, they stopped getting pressure on Flacco and he was able to find his other guys to move the ball.
The Arizona offensive line couldn't keep Kolb on his feet (six sacks allowed) and it eventually led to a turnover as former ASU Sun Devil Terrell Suggs hit Kolb as he was throwing the ball. The ball fluttered out and landed in a defender's hands. With a short field, the Ravens scored again in part thanks to a third pass interference penalty drawn by Boldin in the end zone.
Baltimore took a 27-24 lead off the ensuing Ray Rice touchdown to complete the comeback heading into the fourth quarter.
Cardinals fans can't complain about the officiating as they had an interception reversed by a questionable pass interference call along with a few other fortunate flags. That call, along with some other turns of fortune, allowed the Cardinals to tie the game with a 45-yard Jay Feely field goal.
Kolb had the ball in his hands with about three minutes left and tie game but predictably the offense couldn't generate any movement and the defense couldn't hold. Flacco found Torrey Smith for a 36-yard completion to put the Ravens in easy range for a game-winning field goal.
After putting up 151 yards in the first half, the Cardinals offense only generated 56 yards in the second half against the NFL's best defense. On the flip side, the Arizona secondary was torched by Flacco who threw for 336 yards on the day (31-51) with two-thirds of that coming in the second half.
It was an epic collapse by a bad football team who found yet another way to lose a game.
For more on this game, visit Revenge of the Birds blog.