Regardless that their opponent was the winless San Francisco 49ers, the injury-stricken Arizona Cardinals needed to grind out a win with solid play across the board.
With backup quarterback Drew Stanton starting for Arizona in place of the injured Carson Palmer, that meant the Cardinals’ running game, defense and special teams unit needed to pull their respective weight.
By the end of the 20-10 win, the support had come cheap nfl jerseys in a variety of ways, including running back Adrian Peterson’s career-high 37 carries for 159 yards.
But at first, one of the Cardinals’ units didn’t come through.
After Stanton completed a 52-yard deep ball to John Brown on the Cardinals’ first possession only for kicker Phil Dawson to close the drive with a missed 38-yard field goal, the Arizona defense finally stepped up to the plate.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu forced a fumble by fullback Kyle Juszczyk, and cornerback Patrick Peterson picked the ball up for the team’s first fumble recovery for the entire year.
Not only that, but Peterson returned it from midfield to the 6-yard line — a total of 47 yards — to set up a touchdown pass from Stanton to Jaron Brown on 3rd-and-goal.
That gave Arizona a 7-0 lead, and it bought the Cardinals time to finally get the running game going in the middle of the second quarter.
With a 7-3 lead, Peterson churned out a few big gains to set up a Stanton-to-Jermaine Gresham touchdown pass to put Arizona ahead 14-3 with 11:04 to play in the first half.
Two Dawson field goals in the fourth quarter were enough to give Arizona the distance to hold off the Niners.
The Arizona Cardinals may have walked away with a 20-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but they allowed a few big pass plays to quarterback C.J. Beathard, who finished the day with a career-high in yards.
On several of those big plays, it appeared as if Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu was in coverage, prompting team reporter Kyle Odegard to point out The Honey Badger’s apparent struggles.
Odegard’s comments did not sit well with Mathieu however, who quickly called the reporter out after the game had concluded.
Without knowing the defensive play calls firsthand, it’s essentially impossible to know who has what assignments in coverage, so perhaps Mathieu looked at this like a teachable moment. However, it’s also worth noting that Bruce Arians has previously stated Mathieu has not played like himself this season.
Whatever the case may be, Mathieu wasn’t about to let himself be blamed for those big plays.