Sleepy Cardinals Wake Up Late to Get Past Jaguars 31-19

Matthew JohnsonSeptember 26, 2021
Share This

For the first 40 minutes of the game, it looked like the Arizona Cardinals were going to do the unthinkable and lose to the worst team in football. In the span of about 61 seconds, the game changed and the Cardinals were able to escape Jacksonville with a win to improve to 3-0 on the season.

GAME CHANGER

The game shifted wildly near the end of the 3rd quarter. The Jaguars had just run the ball down the throat of the Cardinals defense and took a 19-10 lead with 3:37 left in the quarter.

The Cardinals offense answered with a four-yard touchdown run from running back James Conner.

On the ensuing drive, the Jags’ biggest mistake of the game came on a second down call for a flea flicker. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw the ball while backing up and he hit Cardinals defensive back Byron Murphy Jr. right in the hands. Murphy returned it to the house for a pick-six to give the Cardinals a 24-19 lead.

CARDINALS RECOVER FROM CRUSHINGLY DUMB DECISION

Just when you think head coach Kliff Kingsbury has learned from his past mistakes, he proves us all wrong.

Kingsbury’s ‘hold my beer’ moment came at the end of the first half when he opted to send in his field goal kicker Matt Prater for a 68-yard attempt. Prater hit a 62-yarder last week (the Cardinals franchise record) and has the NFL record of 64 yards, but 68 is an absurd length to make in the humid Florida air.

The boot came up short and into the waiting arms of Jacksonville returner Jamal Agnew who returned it 109 yards for a kick six and a Jacksonville halftime lead.

Kliff’s bonehead decision was roundly booed across local sports Twitter.

BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS

The defense forced three turnovers to win the game for the Cardinals today. Byron Murphy had two interceptions of Lawrence and the rookie QB fumbled away another. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph still has some things to clean up, especially in the running game where the Cardinals gave up 159 yards on the ground.

Running back James Conner scored two touchdowns and led the team in rushing. Every time he touches the ball something good seems to happen. Conner has been a great free agent pick up and nice compliment to the balanced offensive attack the Cardinals have shown in the first three games.

The secondary is proving to be much better than anyone expected. Rookie Marco Wilson is making big plays. Budda Baker, Robert Alford and linebacker Isaiah Simmons are active all over the field. They’ve stood up to three of the lower tier quarterbacks in the NFL in the first three weeks. The first real challenge comes next Sunday in L.A. against Matthew Stafford and the Rams high-powered attack.

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.