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Cardinals Overcome Special Teams, Red Zone Issues to Outlast Ravens


There were times when it didn’t look pretty, and the game may have taken longer and been closer than a lot of Arizona fans would have liked, but the Cardinals escaped University of Phoenix Stadium with a 5-2 record on Monday night, defeating the Baltimore Ravens in yet another game that proved the Ravens are far better than their 1-6 record indicates.

Although the Cardinals looked the better team for every one of the sixty minutes played last night, the win never looked secure enough for comfort.

Arizona was plagued by many of the same red zone issues that cost them a win in Pittsburgh last week, and could never quite drive the dagger into the heart of their opponent.

The offense had to settle for a pair of 21-yard field goals when, on both occasions, a slant pattern on third-and-goal failed to develop long enough for the receiver to enter the endzone.

Baltimore’s much-maligned defense was resilient under intense pressure, and did enough to give Joe Flacco a chance to – as he so often does – look better and better as the game progressed.

The typically reliable Catanzaro attempted a career long 55-yarder that missed, but that was hardly the low point of his evening. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinals appeared to drop the hammer with a John Brown touchdown reception to end an 11-play, 79-yard drive.

Up by 16, Catanzaro missed the 33-yard extra point and gave the Ravens the faintest glimmer of hope. With precious minutes to go and the score unchanged, the hopelessly out-of-form Drew Butler didn’t get a chance to shank yet another punt, as it was blocked and lucky to not be returned for a touchdown.

One touchdown and one two-point conversion later, the Ravens were back to within one score. And despite Arizona’s best efforts to send the game to overtime care of a boneheaded intentional grounding by Carson Palmer, that is where the scoring ended.

They may not be the “same old” Cardinals, but the redbirds got caught with their pants down too many times tonight for a team claiming Super Bowl aspirations in 2015.

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