The Arizona Cardinals out gained and for the most part, out played the Steelers for much of the afternoon, At least until the fourth quarter. The only thing that stood in their way today was of course…themselves. And that ended up being a barrier they could not get around. To add to that, Michael Vick exited the game twice with injuries…the second time would be the end of his game. Enter, Landry Jones. All he did was go 8-12 with 2 touchdown passes, leading the Steelers to a 25-13 victory over the Cardinals.
Today, the Cardinals did everything they could do to lose a ball game. They committed penalties that took points off the board, they committed penalties that extended Steelers drives, and lastly they turned the ball over in big situations. Not to mention, they could not solve the Steelers Fourth String quarterback.
Carson Palmer had to feel like a guy that has seen this before here at Heinz Field. He threw for over 400 yards and a touchdown. But he threw two interceptions, both in big situations. Palmer was only sacked once, but was hit 7 other times. The Steelers also had 7 tackles for losses. The one thing the Cards could not do is run the ball as they were only able to scratch out 55 yards, although I am not convinced they really every committed to it. They were going to live or die on the arm of Carson Palmer. And like usual in Pittsburgh, he shriveled up in a big situation.
Arizona would get out to a 10-3 lead by the end of the first half, but left so many more points on the field. They missed a field goal in the first quarter, along a Palmer interception. Every time it looked like they had momentum, they would do something to negate it. Palmer had thrown a second touchdown pass late in the second quarter, but a penalty would nullify the call and they would have to settle for a field goal. They would go into the half with a 7 point lead that should have been 14 points at least.
To start the second half, The Steelers would put a short drive together after a good return from Dri Archer that would allow them to put a second field goal on the board and cut the Cards lead to 10-6. During that drive, Vick would leave the game after hitting his head on the ground. Jones would have to finish the drive.
On Arizona’s next possession, they would fumble the ball and the Steelers would take over at the Cards 32. By this point, Landry Jones was in the game after relieving Vick yet again after a hamstring injury. He would hit Martavis Bryant in the end zone to give them a 12-10 lead. They would go for two, but Jones would throw an interception in the end zone.
After the defense forced a 3 and out, the Steelers would then put another drive together that would allow Boswell to convert his third field goal of the day to extend the lead to 15-10. The Cards would put 3 more points on the board shortly after and as the teams came down the stretch in the fourth quarter, it was 15-13. That is when Landry Jones went to work.
Jones would guide the Steelers down the field for yet another field goal that would extend that lead out to 18-13. Martavis Bryant was open all afternoon and Jones hit him often. Antonio Brown was thrown to but neither Vick or Jones early could get on the same page with him.
Carson Palmer would get another opportunity and would drive his team down into Steelers territory, only to throw another interception in the endzone, that was brought out to the 10. The Steelers would take over at their own 10 yard line looking to convert a couple of first downs to put the game away. After a Le’Veon Bell 2 yard run, Jones would convert on a crossing pattern to Martavis Bryant in which he ended up making a couple of nice moves in traffic and he would finish it by taking it to the house for 88 yards. That would give the Steelers a 25-13 lead.
The game would end on that score and although the stats say the Cards should have won, it was in fact their mistakes and Pittsburgh ability to convert on those mistakes with Landry Jones at the helm.
Some thoughts on this game. Antonio Brown spent most of the game whining on the side line with regards to not getting the ball enough. He would catch a total of 3 passes for 24 yards. Bryant was the go to guy for Jones. Jones would finish with 6 receptions for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns. Boswell would hit four Field Goals today including another 47 yarder and a 51 yard field goal. The Steelers have solved their kicking issues. And if Jones emerges, they have solved their back up QB issue. The Steelers would lose Beachum to an ACL injury and he is now lost for the season. And with the news this week of Injured Center Maurkice Pouncey having to have yet another surgey, it looks like they will have to finish with 2 of their starters out for the season.
Pittsburgh is now 4-2 and they are still 2 games back of the Bengals who still have not lost.