1988: After owner Bill Bidwell’s demands for a new stadium preferably domed were ignored, and years of dwindling attendance in the city of St. Louis, the Cards were on the move again. After considering Baltimore, and Jacksonville Bill Bidwell, decided the Cardinals future was best served in the Arizona desert, as he elected to move the team to Phoenix. On March 15th NFL owners reluctantly, but overwhelmingly approved the move. Bidwell, who had lost 100 lbs and plenty of money since announcing his plans to relocate a year earlier, tearfully described his feelings as “mixed up,” as the Cardinals landed in their new nest Phoenix, Arizona. After a 21-14 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati on September 4th the Cardinals prepared for the first home game in the desert. On September 12th a franchise record crowd of 67,139 showed up to watch a Monday Night match up with the Dallas Cowboys. The new fans would wind up going home disappointed as Dallas beat Phoenix 17-14. The Cardinals first win in Phoenix would come 13 days later against the Washington Redskins, as the Cardinals won 7 of 9 after a 0-2 start to stand at 7-4 and in a first place tie. However, the Cards would go on one of their traditional nosedives, and would lose heir final five games to finish at 7-9.
1989: After a 5-6 start the Cardinals are stunned as coach Gene Stallings departs to take over at the head-coaching job at Alabama. The Cardinals would lose their final five games under interim coach Hank Kuhlmann to finish at 5-11. The news for the Cards would get worse when Quarterback Neil Lomax is forced to retire due to degenerative hip condition.
1990: During an unspectacular 5-11 season with new Head Coach Joe Bugel the Cardinals play the eventual Super Bowl Champion New York Giants tough in both games. In the first meeting on October 21st the Cards hold a lead most the game until the Giants hit a Field Goal with no time left to pull out a 20-19 victory in the Meadowlands. In the December 23rd rematch at Sun Devil Stadium the Cards would only lose by three points.
1991: After starting the season 3-2 to give faint hope to long suffering Cardinals fans, the Cards land in their familiar last place territory by losing 10 of their final 11 games.
1992: Another awful 4-12 season is highlighted by a 24-14 upset of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the elite teams in the NFL.
1993: After a 3-8 start the Cardinals win four of their final five games to wind up with a respectable 7-9 record. However, it does not save Coach Joe Bugle’s job as he fired after the season.
1994: The Cardinals undergo another name change becoming the Arizona Cardinals to sell themselves to the entire state instead of just the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Changes were also made at the top as defensive mastermind Buddy Ryan assumed the coaching reigns. Combined with a strong finish the previous year, and a big named coach excitement filled the Valley of the sun as Cardinal fans anticipated a bright future under “Buddy Ball”. However in typical Cardinals fashion the team gets off to a slow 3-6 start, but the Cards would then catch fire winning five of their next six games to stand at 8-7 with an outside chance of the playoffs heading into the final week of the season. However before even taking the field for their last game the Cards were eliminated, and played a lackluster game losing 10-6 to the Atlanta Flacons to finish up with an 8-8 record.
1995: The excitement is all but gone by the start of year two of “Buddy Ball”, and fans even began to call it “Cruddy Ball”, as the Cards continued to flounder in the NFC East cellar finishing with a woeful 4-12 record that would lead to the departure of Buddy Ryan.
1996: Under new head coach Vince Tobin the Cardinals get off to their traditional bad start and stand at 3-6 after nine games. The Cardinals would then go on a three game winning streak thanks to three outstanding performances by Quarterback Boomer Esaison, but the Cards would come crashing down to earth losing three of their final games to finish at 7-9.
1997: While the Cards were on their way to another mediocre season in 1996, the Arizona State Sun Devils were making a run for the National Championship. Led by Quarterback Jake “The Snake” Plummer the Sun Devils easily ran through the PAC- 10 and entered the Rose Bowl with a shot at the National Title. However, and last minute drive by Ohio State ended ASU’s Championship dreams. When the NFL draft rolled around, it was only natural that the Cardinals select Plummer to be the QB of the future. However, the Cardinals would struggle again with a woeful 4-12 season, while Plummer experienced growing pains in his first preseason at Sun Devil Stadium. The lone highlight of the season comes during the home opener when the Cardinals end a 13 game losing streak to the Dallas Cowboys with a 25-22 win OT.
1998: The Cardinals stumble out of the gate losing their first two games on the road. However, they would bounce back to win their next two games, including a win in their return trip to St. Louis to take on the Rams. Over the next two months the Cards would alternate wins and losses along the way the pulling out games in the 4th Quarter that they normally lost. With three weeks left the Cardinals stood at 6-7, and were looking in the face at mediocrity once again. However, this year would be different. Down 17-10 in the final minutes of a game at Philadelphia against the Eagles the Cards score in the finals minutes to force OT, where the Cardinals pull out the game on a last minute Field Goal to keep their playoff hopes alive. One week later the Cardinals were trailing again in the 4th Quarter before Jake Plummer drove the Cardinals down the field for a game winning FG beat the New Orleans Saints to improve the Cardinals to 8-7. While the Cards were beating the Saints other teams in contention for a playoff spot were falling opening the door for the Cards to make the playoffs with a win in their final game. 71,670 Cardinals fans would show up for their December 27th game against the San Diego Chargers hungry for a playoff spot. The Cardinals would make their fans sweat but Kicker Chris Jacke would knock home a 52-yard Field Goal with no time remaining to clinch their first playoff spot in 16 years. Going into their Wild Card Playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys nobody gave them a shot, as the Cardinals were listed as a double-digit underdog. Considering recent history it was hard to argue since the Cards had lost 16 of their last 17 in against their division rivals. Meanwhile The Cards were fighting history, the franchise had not won a single playoff game since the 1947 NFL Championship cumulating in the longest drought in pro-sports history. However magic was in the air that Saturday afternoon in Dallas, and the Cards jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead. The Cards would then pad the lead to 20-0 in the finals minutes of the 4th quarter. The Cowboys would manage to score a Thouchdown late in the 4th quarter, but the Cardinals held on for the stunning upset. The Cardinals who had suffered for 51 years as the NFL’s doormat finally had a playoff win. However, the dream would only last one more week as the Cardinals fell to the high-powered Vikings 41-21 in Minnesota. However the game was close than the score shows, as the Cardinals were with in ten points midway through the 3rd Quarter.
1999: Coming of their great playoff run in 1998, the Cardinals were expected to do bigger and better things in 1999, but instead returned to their losing ways getting off to a 2-6 start. However the Cards would make another run winning four straight games to get back into the playoff chase, but this year it was not meant to be as Arizona lost their last four games to finish with a disappointing 6-10 record.
2000: The Cardinals return to dreadful ways of old going trough a horrific 3-13 season, their worst since moving to Arizona. However, the Cardinals would emerge victorious in their most important contest of the season winning a bond for the building of a new stadium in Maricopa County. Had the voters rejected the bond issue the Cardinals could have been forced to relocate again. The new stadium, which will feature a retraceable roof as well as a retractable field, is scheduled for competition in 2005.
2001: The Cardinals get off to a miserable 2-6 start, as their offense only manages to score 20 points twice; in fact it was the two games they won. The highlight of the season’s first half was their stunning come behind win in Philadelphia against the Eagles, which was capped by a Hail Mary pass from Jake Plummer to MarTay Jenkins. However the second half would be a different story as the Cards played well and their offense began to click. The Cards ran out three straight wins highlighted by a stunning OT win in Oakland vs. the Raiders. The Cards would win five of seven games and would enter their final game with a crack at the .500 mark, but a loss in Washington to the Redskins would end the Cards season at 7-9. Feeling patriotic Safety Pat Tillman would leave behind the Cardinals to sign up with the US Army Special Forces, to help fight the war on terror, sadly on April 22, 2004; Tillman would be killed in a fire fight near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
2002: Under NFL realignment the Cardinals are finally moved to the NFC West, 15 years after they moved to Arizona. At first the Cardinals took a liking to their new surroundings as they stood in first place after a 4-2 start. However, reality would slap the Cardinals again as they lost their next 6 games while winning just one game the rest of the season to finish in last place again with a terrible record of 5-11. Following the season the Cardinals would be hit hard by free agency as several top players bolted the team including Quarterback Jake Plummer and Wide Receiver David Boston.
2003: Though the team was not very good the Cardinals had some reason for excitement with the signing of All-Time leading rusher Emmitt Smith. However, truthfully Smith was well past his prime and he struggled all year rushing for just 256 yards in an injury plagued year. The Cardinals again were bottom feeders losing five of their first six games. After two straight wins improved them to 3-5 the Cardinals struggled again losing their next 7 games as they entered the final game of the season against the Minnesota Vikings with a 3-12 record. Trailing late in the 4th Quarter 17-6 late in the 4th Quarter the Cards looked like they were heading for another loss. However, Quarterback Josh McCown who established himself as the QB of the future at the end of the season led an amazing comeback hitting Nathan Poole on a 28-yard game winning Touchdown pass on the final play of the game to give the Cards a 18-17 win on the final play of the game to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs. Despite the win it was not enough to save Coach Dave McGinnis’s job as he was fired after a 4-12 season. However, one bright spot would be Rookie Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin who captured the offensive rookie of the year award with 1,377 receiving yards.
2004: Under mew Coach Dennis Green the Cardinals would stumble out of the gate losing their first three games, including a Week 2 game against the New England Patriots where the honored their fallen hero Pat Tillman who was killed while fighting near the Afghan-Pakistan border with his Army Ranger unit. The Cards would finally get their first win for Coach Green in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints. With a chance for two wins in a row the Cardinals saw a 16-point 4th Quarter lead vanish in 31-28 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals would bounce back and would show some promise winning three of their next four games, but it would be short-lived, as Quarterback Josh McCown was benched as the Cardinals went on a four game losing streak which included a second overtime loss to the 49ers, becoming the only team the 2-14 team would beat during the season. The Cardinals would go on to finish the season strong winning two of their last three games to finish with a 6-10 record, as their were slight signs of improvement all around, as Rookie Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald had eight touchdowns with 780 yards receiving to give them a sold duo at wideout. Meanwhile the Cardinals saw the end of a legend as Emmitt Smith rushed 937 yards with a team high nine touchdowns before retiring.
2005: The Cardinals began the season hoping to take a step forward as they played their final season in Sun Devil Stadium with former two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl XXXIV MVP Kurt Warner as their new Quarterback. However, as their 42-19 opening week loss to the New York Giants showed the Cardinals where still miles away from having a contender. The Cardinals would lose their first three games as Warner suffered a groin injury. In Week 4 the Cardinals made history as they played a home game against the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City. With Josh McCown playing for Warner the Cardinals overcame an early 14-0 deficit to win the game 31-14 as Neil Rackers made six Field Goals four of which were longer than 40 yards, as McCown passed for 385 yards. the following week McCown looked strong again passing for 398 yards. However, three costly Interceptions would allow the Carolina Panthers to have a come from behind 24-20 win. Following a bye week the Cardinals would beat the Tennessee Titans. Following a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Kurt Warner would return and would play well passing over 300 yards four of the next five games. However, the Cardinals would win just twice as their running game was stuck in the mud all season, with no individual performance better than 59 yards over the entire season as the Cardinals as a team rushed for just a NFL worse 1138 yards, as the Cardinals suffered another awful 5-11 season. Hoping to final turn things around the Cardinals made a big splash on the Free Agency market signing Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Running Back Edgerrin James, while drafting USC Quarterback and 2004 Heisman Trophy Winner Matt Leinart tenth overall.
2006: After 18 years in Sun Devil Stadium, the Arizona Cardinals finally had a stadium to call their own, as the University of Phoenix Stadium opened in Glendale, with much fanfare, as it was the first stadium built in North America with both a retractable roof and a retractable field. Playing to a sold out stadium the Cardinals got off to a strong start beating the San Francisco 49ers 34-27 with Kurt Warner passing for 301 yards with three touchdown passes. However, the Cardinals offense sputtered in the next three games as Free Agent acquisition Edgerrin James had trouble finding running room and ended the season with a disappointing 1,159 rushing yards and a mere six touchdowns. In Week 5 the Cardinals made a change at Quarterback starting rookie Matt Leinart against the Kansas City Chiefs, who would play well with 253 yards and 2 TD passes, as the Cards held a 20-10 lead in the 4th Quarter. However, the Chiefs would score 13 unanswered points for a 23-20 win. A week later Leinart was even better in a Monday Night Start, passing for 232 yards and tow touchdowns as the Cardinals jumped out to a 23-3 lead against the unbeaten Chicago Bears. However, the Bears would make a stunning comeback returning fumbles by Edgerrin James and Matt Leinart for touchdowns, before taking the lead for good on an 83-yard punt return by Devin Hester. Following the stunning 24-23 loss, Coach Dennis Green exploded in a post game tirade that would become a popular video on YouTube. Still reeling following their Monday Night Collapse the Cardinals were hammered by the winless Oakland Raiders 22-9. The Cardinals struggled would continue the next two games as they entered Week 10 with a 1-8 record, before Leinart finally earned his first win beating the Detroit Lions 17-10. A week later Matt Leinart would pass for 405 yards in a 31-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The following week with Edgerrin James finally topping 100 yards in rushing the Cardinals would earn their first road win stunning the St. Louis Rams 34-20. James would equal his 115 yard output the following week as the Cards stunned the first place Seattle Seahawks 27-21. Following a road loss to the Denver Broncos, James would rush for 105 yards leading the way as the Cardinals ended the 49ers playoff hopes in a 26-20 win. The Cardinals would close the season with a loss to the San Diego Chargers as they finished in last place with a record of 5-11. Following the season the Cardinals would fire Coach Dennis Green, as the Cardinals were quite who their fans, and ownership thought they were when the season began. To replace Green, the Cardinals would hire Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
2007: A new era began for the Cardinals as new Coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to bring the Steelers formula to the desert. In the opener the Cardinals gave the San Francisco 49ers all they could handle on Monday Night, but were stunned in the final minute as an Arnaz Battle touchdown gave the 49ers a 20-17 win with 22 seconds left. A week later in their home opener it was the Cardinals getting a dramatic win as Neil Rackers hit a 42-yard field goal in the final seconds to beat the Seattle Seahawks 23-20. Trailing the Baltimore Ravens on the road 23-6 entering the fourth quarter, Kurt Warner came off the bench to tie the game with two touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin, but in the end the Ravens would rebound and win the game as time expired on a field goal by Matt Stover. Warner would come off the bench again a week later as the Cardinals stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-14, delivering new Coach Ken Whisenhunt a satisfying win against his former team. With Matt Leinart out for the season with a broken collar bone the Cardinals gladly handed the reigns over to Kurt Warner who helped lead the way to a 34-31 win over the St. Louis Rams on the road that helped the Cardinals sit in first place at 3-2. However, the Cardinals hit a bump in the road as they lost their next three games. Needing to get back on track the Cards relied on their defense in Week 10 as LB Kurt Dansby intercepted two passes and forced a fumble as the Cardinals crushed the Detroit Lions 31-21. A week later it would be Antrel Rolle who would be the difference make as he intercepted three passes, returning two for touchdowns as the Cardinals stunned the Cincinnati Bengals on the road 35-27. However, with a chance to get back in the playoff picture the Cardinals suffered a monumental setback losing to the 49ers in heartbreaking fashion again as Kurt Warner fumbled in the endzone in overtime in a 37-31 loss at home. After a rebound win over the Cleveland Browns, the Cardinals again lost with a chance to get back in the playoff picture as they were doubled up by the Seahawks on the road 42-21. The Cardinals would end the season strong losing a shootout with the New Orleans Saints, before closing the season with two straight wins to post an 8-8 record, their best record in nine years.
2008: After a strong finish, the Cardinals entered the new season optimistic they could make a serious run at the playoffs. After splitting their first four games, the Cardinals handed the Buffalo Bills their first loss, in impressive fashion dominating the game behind the passing of Kurt Warner who passed for 250 yards despite missing Anquan Boldin who suffered a facial injury a week earlier in a loss to the New York Jets. A week later against the Dallas Cowboys, the Cardinals showed the can in fact be taken seriously, as they battled the Cowboys in an exhilarating back and forth battle, that saw the Cardinals finally take control in the 4th Quarter, taking a 24-14 lead with 3:17 left on a field goal by Neil Rackers. However, the Cowboys would rally and send the game to overtime. In overtime the Cardinals showed their ability to bounce back as they shutdown the Cowboys first possession and then won the game on a blocked punt by Sean Morey, as Monty Beisel scooped the ball up and into the endzone for a dramatic 30-24 win. Coming off the bye week the Cardinals faced a tough challenge on the road against the Carolina Panthers, jumping out to a 17-3 lead early in the 3rd Quarter. However, the Panthers rallied to win the game 27-23. The loss was just a slight bump in the road, as the Cardinals took firm control of the NFC West, by winning their next three games against the divisional rivals. At 7-3 the Cardinals were all but locks to win their first divisional title since 1975, as they hosted the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. However, the Cardinals would prove no match for the Giants, as they were playing behind all day losing 37-29 as Kurt Warner kept it some what respectable with 351 passing yards. Four days later in a primetime game on Thanksgiving, the Cardinals were upended again losing 48-20 in a road game against the Philadelphia Eagles. After a 34-10 win against the St. Louis Rams secured the division title, the Cardinals continued to appear to be a paper champion as they were beaten by the Minnesota Vikings 35-14 at home. A week later they were flat out embarrassed in the snow by the New England Patriots, losing 47-7, in game in which their defense allowed 514 yards total offense, while collecting 186 yards themselves, with most of the yards gained by the Cardinals coming after the game was out of reach with Matt Leinart leading the second team on the field. The Cardinals would end the season on a strong note, by completing a sweep of all their divisional opponents with a 34-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
2008: At 9-7 the Cardinals were in the playoffs, but with six of their nine wins coming against the weak NFC West, nobody took them seriously, as they were a home underdog against the Atlanta Falcons in the Wild Card round. In their first ever home playoff game in Arizona, the Cardinals gave the fans plenty to cheer early as they jumped out to a 14-3 lead, behind a 42-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald, and a 71-yard TD pass from Warner to Anquan Boldin. However, the Falcons would battle back and take a 17-14 lead into the half. The Cardinals would quickly take back control after halftime as Darnell Dockett interrupted Falcons QB Matt Ryan as he was handing the ball off to Michael Turner creating a fumble, which was scooped up by Antrel Rolle and returned 27 yards for a touchdown that gave the Cards a 21-17 lead. The Cardinals would build on the lead, as Tim Hightower crossed the endzone on a four yard run late in the 3rd Quarter, while Antonio Smith increased the lead to 30-17 by tackling Matt Ryan in the endzone early in the 4th Quarter. The Falcons would score to make it 30-24, but would get no closer as the Cardinals won their first home playoff game in 62 years. A week later on the road the Cardinals were not given a chance against the Carolina Panthers, despite playing well in Carolina earlier in the season. The Panthers would draw first blood taking a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the game, but it would be one of the only the punches the Panthers would land, as the Cardinals scored the next 33 points, powered by their defense which forced six turnovers, as the Panthers scored a cosmetic touchdown late in the fourth quarter, with the Cardinals advancing to the NFC Championship Game with shocking 33-13 victory in Carolina. After the Philadelphia Eagles upset the New York Giants in the Divisional Playoffs, the Cardinals got another playoff home game, this time with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Once again, nobody gave the Cardinals a chance, as the franchise known for losing was just 60 minutes away from playing in the big game. Early on it was all Cardinals, as they jumped out to a 24-6 halftime lead, as Kurt Warner connected with Larry Fitzgerald for touchdown including a 62-yard bomb. However, the Eagle would claw their way back taking a 25-24 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals would not be denied, as they rebounded with a long drive that ended with Kurt Waner hitting Tim Hightower on an eight yard touchdown pass that gave the Cardinals back the lead at 30-25. A lead they would expand to a full seven points, as Warner and Ben Patrick connected on a successful two point conversion. The Cardinals would go on to win the game 32-25 earning an improbable trip to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.
Super Bowl XLIII: The Cardinals were just the second team in Super Bowl history to reach the big game despite a mediocre 9-7 record, not surprisingly the Cardinals were an underdog facing the five time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cardinals kept things close early as they held the Steelers to just a field goal in the 1st Quarter. After the Steelers got into the endzone, the Cardinals quickly answered back as Kurt Warner connected with Ben Patrick, still trailing 10-7 the Cardinals had a chance to take a lead just before halftime as they drove deep into Steelers territory. However, Kurt Warner had a pass intercepted by James Harrison at the goaline. Harrison would return the interception 100 yards for a touchdown as the first half expired. The Steelers would expand the lead to 20-7 with a Jeff Reed field goal in the 3rd Quarter. With time running out on the Cardinals Cinderella run, the Cardinals got back into the game by turning to Larry Fitzgerald, who caught a one yard touchdown pass from Warner with 7:33 left in the game to get the Cardinals back within six points. The Cardinals defense then would turn the pressure on the Steelers, as Justin Hartwig was called for holding in the endzone, getting the Cardinals two points closer with a Safety with just under three minutes left in the game. Down 20-16 with the ball the Cardinals would not take long find some magic in the air, as Warner connected with Fitzgerald on a 64-yard touchdown pass that suddenly had the Cardinals in front 23-20 with 2:37 left in the game. However, it was too much time to give the Steelers, as QB Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field, and connected with Santonio Holmes, who somehow was able to keep both toes in bounds while catching a six yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to put the Steelers back in front 27-23. For the Cardinals it took the air out, as time would simply run out, as the Steelers won their record sixth Lombardi Trophy. Regardless of winning or losing the Cardinals were still greeted with a heroes welcome when they returned to Arizona, as they finally won over many fans who had wanted to root for the Cardinals, but were reluctant to do so with the team’s struggles.
2009: Coming off their trip to Super Bowl XLIII, the Cardinals were hoping to prove they were not a fluke by reaching the playoffs for a second straight season. However, they got off to a rough start as they lost the season opener to the San Francisco 49ers 20-16. After a road win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cardinals again stumbled at home losing to the Indianapolis Colts 31-10 in a Primetime showdown. Coming out of the bye week, the Cards finally resembled a Super Bowl team as they won their next three games, including a 27-3 road win over the Seattle Seahawks and a 24-17 win over the New York Giants in the Meadowlands. However, they continued to struggle at home as they lost to the Carolina Panthers 34-21. Back on the road the Cardinals would rebound with an impressive 41-21 win over the Chicago Bears, igniting another three game winning streak which put them in the driver’s seat for the NFC West. The streak would end in Week 12, as Quarterback Kurt Warner missed a game with a stiff neck as the Cardinals lost their first road game of the season to the Tennessee Titans 20-17. Warner would return a week later and lead the Cardinals to an impressive 30-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings, as the Cardinals defense held Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson to 19 yards rushing, while Larry Fiztgerlad led the way with a season 143 receiving yards. After a road loss to the 49ers, the Cardinals wrapped up the division title with back to back wins over the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams. With their playoff fate secure the Cardinals rested their starters in the finale, losing at home to the Green Bay Packers 33-7 to finish the season with a 10-6 record. A week later they would host the Packers again, and things would be different as the two teams marched back and forth all day the highest scoring playoff games in NFL history. The Cardinals got off to a fast start in the game, scoring 17 points in the 1st Quarter. After taking a 31-10 lead early in the 3rd Quarter, the Cardinals defense began to suffer a letdown, as the Packers scored on each of their next two drives. The Cardinals would answer to take a 38-24 lead into the 4th Quarter. However, the Packers second half surge continued as they scored two Touchdowns in the first five minutes to tie the game 38-38. The Cardinals would answer back with 4:55 left, as Kurt Warner found Steve Breaston in the endzone for a 17 yard Touchdown pass. The Packers though would answer again tying the game 45-45 on an 11 yard from Aaron Rodgers to Spencer Havner. The Cardinals would get the ball and drive down the field to set Neil Rackers up for a game winning field goal. However, 34 yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left sailed wide left sending the game to overtime. In overtime the Packers would get coin flip. After 90 points scored in regulation, and a five touchdown 379 yard passing game from Kurt Warner it would be the Cardinals defense that would win the game as Michael Adams stripped Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, the ball would be scooped up by Karlos Dansby who would return the fumble 17 yards for a Touchdown giving the Cardinals a 51-45 win. A week later in the Divisional Round the Cardinals got off to a fast start against the New Orleans Saints, as Tim Hightower had a 70 yard Touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. However, it was the only good moment the Cardinals would have as the Saints scored three touchdowns in the 1st Quarter. The Cardinals would answer back on a Beanie Wells Touchdown run in the 2nd Quarter, but the Saints offense was too much adding two more scores to take a 35-14 halftime lead. The Saints would go on to win the game 45-14, and would go on to win the Super Bowl. Following the season the QB Kurt Warner who went from Grocery Bagger to Super Bowl MVP with the St. Louis Rams, and from watched up has been to leader of the resurgent Cardinals would announce his retirement. The Cardinals also suffered losses in free agency, as Karlos Dansby, Anquan Boldin, and Antrel Rolle all signed deals elsewhere.
2010: After the retirement of Kurt Warner, the Cardinals had planned to give the job to Matt Leinart. However, Leinart was released during the preseason, as Free Agent Derek Anderson formerly of the Cleveland Browns was named the starter when the season began. Anderson played well in the season opener, connecting with Larry Fitzgerald on a 21 yard Touchdown pass in the 4th quarter as the Cardinals beat the St. Louis Rams on the road 17-13. After a blowout loss at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons, the Cardinals beat the Oakland Raiders 24-23 in their home opener, as Raiders usually reliable kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed three Field Goals. After another ugly 41-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Cardinals defense responded with their best game of the season, stunning the defending champion New Orleans Saints 30-20 with undrafted rookie Max Hall taking over for Derek Anderson. However, it was the Saints defense with a 27 yard fumble return by Kerry Rhodes and a 28 yard interception return by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the 4th Quarter making the difference. After going into the bye week with a 3-2 record, the Cardinals would suddenly go into a season killing slump, losing as both Max Hall and Derek Anderson struggled during a seven game losing streak. The final three games of the streak saw the Cardinals unable to even score a touchdown. The Cardinals would make a change at Quarterback as they hosted the Denver Broncos, starting John Skelton a fifth round pick out of Fordham. However, it would be Kicker Jay Feely that would be the star, as the Cardinals ended their losing streak. Feely would hit five field goals, and score a Touchdown off a fake field goal as the Cardinals clobbered the Broncos 43-13. After a 19-12 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Cardinals would host the Dallas Cowboys in a primetime special on Christmas Day. The Cardinals would get off to a fast start as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler both returned interceptions for touchdowns in the 1st Quarter. The Cowboys would crawl back into the game and take a 26-24 lead with 1:41 left. The Cardinals would catch a break as the Cardinals botched the PAT. They would than drive down the field as Skelton connected with Larry Fitzgerald on a 19 yard pass converting a desperation 4th and 15. Skelton would get the Cardinals in position, as Jay Feely drove home a 48 yard field goal to give the Cardinals a dramatic 27-26 win. The Cardinals would go on to end the season with a 38-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, closing the year with a record of 4-12.
2011: Looking for a new Quarterback, the Cardinals acquired Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles for Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 2nd-round pick. Opening the season at home, the Cardinals used the big play in the fourth quarter to beat the Carolina Panthers who had a record breaking debut from their Quarterback Cam Newton. Trailing 21-14 in the fourth quarter the Cardinals tied the game on a 70 yard touchdown pass from Kolb to Early Doucet, and later won it on a dramatic 89 yard punt return by Patrick Peterson who was also making his NFL debut. Peterson was the Cardinals top pick in the draft, selected with the fifth overall pick out of LSU. A week later, the Cardinals would see a lead disappear in the fourth quarter on the road as the Washington Redskins scored 12 points in the fourth quarter for a 22-21 comer from behind victory. Blown leads would be a problem early in the season, as the Cardinals held a halftime lead on the road against the Seattle Seahawks before losing 13-10 as they came home with a record of 1-2. Coming home to take on the New York Giants the Cardinals suffered another fourth quarter meltdown, allowing 21 points as they lost the game 31-27. Following a loss to the Minnesota Vikings on the road, the Cardinals the Pittsburgh Steelers in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIII. Sadly the result would be the same, as the Cardinals dropped their fifth straight game 32-20. The lone highlight for the red birds was 73 yard pass from Kevin Kolb to LaRod Stephens-Howling to open the second half. A week later highlighted by an 82 yard punt return from Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals jumped out to a 24-3 lead against the Baltimore Ravens on the road. However, with Ray Rice scoring three touchdowns the Ravens clawed their way back and won the game 30-27 on a 25 yard Field Goal by Billy Cundiff. At 1-6 the Cardinals made a change at quarterback, as Kolb was sidelined with foot injury as the team took on the St. Louis Rams at home. For most of the game, backup John Skelton struggled was the Rams took a 13-6 lead into the fourth quarter. In the third quarter Skelton suffered the embarrassment of getting caught for two safties. Though he would recover and hit Larry Fitzgerald to tie the game with a 13 yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. In overtime it would be Patrick Peterson who ended the losing streak in dramatic fashion, returning a punt 99 yards for a Touchdown to give the Cardinals a 19-13 win. A week later the Cardinals would get a second straight win as they upset the Philadelphia Eagles on the road 21-17, as John Skelton recovered from an early pick-6 to throw touchdown passes. Following a 23-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on the road, the Cardinals used another punt return by Patrick Peterson to beat the Rams. This time the 80 yard touchdown run in the third quarter as the Cardinals won the game 23-20 on Jay Feely’s 22 yard field goal. Kevin Kolb would return as the Cardinals hosted the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13. Trailing 13-6 in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals would rally to force overtime on a four yard touchdown run be Beanie Wells. From there it would be another dramatic big play in overtime that delivered a win for the Cardinals, as Kolb connected with LaRod Stephens-Howling on a game winning 52 yard Touchdown pass. A week later Kolb would be forced to the sidelines again as the 49ers built a 19-7 lead in the third quarter. However, with John Skelton coming on and providing another solid game, the Cardinals rallied to win the game 21-19, as Andre Roberts caught the game winning pass from Skelton early in the fourth quarter, with the suddenly toughened Cardinals defense holding on for the win. A week later, the Cardinals would need another fourth comeback against the Cleveland Browns, as John Skelton overcame a pick six to rally the Cardinals for ten unanswered points to tie the game 17-17. In overtime it would be Jay Feely who brought home the win, with a 22 yard Field Goal as the Cardinals reached .500 with a 20-17 win at home. Playing on Christmas Eve, the Cardinals were again in an early hole against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, despite 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals comeback fell seven points short, losing 23-16 as the Cardinals simply ran out of time with John Skelton driving them down to the 15 yard line of the Bengals before time ran out. In their season finale at home, the Cardinals found themselves in overtime again as they hosted the Seattle Seahawks. With LaRod Stephens-Howling carrying the load in overtime the Cardinals capped their season with a 23-20 win, as Jay Feely won his third overtime game with a 28 yard field goal. The win allowed the Cardinals to finish with a record of 8-8, with a NFL record four wins coming in overtime.
2012: After a long battle in the pre-season, John Skelton began the season as the Cardinals starting quarterback as they hosted the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. Skelton struggled and eventually left the game with an injury, as Kevin Kolb came on and completed six of eight passes including a game winning six yard pass to Andre Roberts as the Cards won the game 20-16. Kolb would get the start in Week 2, but the Cardinals defense was the star of the game, as they held the New England Patriots to five Field Goal attempts. Kolb meanwhile connected with Roberts again and scored a Touchdown on his own as the Cardinals won in Foxboro 20-18, as Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42 yard Field Goal in the game’s final seconds. Kevin Kolb passed for 222 yards with two touchdowns, while James Sanders returned a fumble 98 yards as the Cardinals continued their good start with a 27-6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite falling behind 13-0 in Week 4, the Cardinals strong September continued with a 24-21 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins as Kevin Kolb and Andre Roberts connected on two second half scores, while Jay Feely hit a 46 yard Field Goal to win the game. However, as October arrived the Cardinals faded like the leaves on the trees losing to the St. Louis Rams 17-3. A week later Kolb was knocked out and John Skelton returned as the Cardinals suffered a 19-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills in a game in which Jay Feely hit three long Field Goals including a game tying 61 yarder in the 4th Quarter. Over the next three weeks John Skelton would struggle as the Cardinals 4-0 start was erased by a five game losing streak. Coming out of the bye, Skelton continued to struggle and was benched in favor of Ryan Lindley as the Cardinals faced the Atlanta Falcons. The game was winnable for the Cardinals as they failed to take advantage of six turnovers and dropped their sixth straight 23-19. The streak would continue as Ryan Lindley put up some of the worst numbers ever by a starting quarterback throwing four interceptions in a 31-17 loss to the Rams, while completing just 10 of 31 passes in a tedious 7-6 loss to the New York Jets. The Cardinals would hit rock bottom a week later as they turned the ball over eight times and suffered a 58-0 loss to the Seahawks on the road. The loss was the worst in franchise history as Lindley was finally benched in favor of John Skelton. In Week 15, Ryan Lindley continued his atrocious play, but thanks to a 53 yard interception return by Rashad Johnson and a 102 yard return by Gregory Toler the Cardinals losing streak ended at nine games with a 38-10 win over the Detroit Lions. Lindley and Brian Hoyer bot saw action the following week and both struggled as the Cardinals lost to the Chicago Bears 28-13. Hoyer would start the finale as the Cardinals seas ended with a 27-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Losing 10 of their last 11 games would lead to the firing of Coach Ken Whisenhunt, while three of the four quarterbacks that started for the Cardinals were released. Ryan Lindley a rookie was the only one kept on despite putting up perhaps the worst numbers ever for a quarterback.
2013: The Cardinals were starting over again with a new coach in Bruce Arians and a new quarterback with the acquisition of veteran Carson Palmer. However, it was the Cardinals secondary featuring former LSU teammates Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu aka the Honey badger that had fans talking in the desert. However in Week 1 it was Dan Williams who had the pick six as the Cardinals built an early 24-13 lead against the St. Louis Rams on the road. The lead would not last as the Rams taking advantage of Carson Palmer fumble quickly rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter. The Rams would win the game 27-24 on a Field Goal by Greg Zuerlein with 40 seconds left. A week later in their home opener, the Cardinals would be the team winning with a fourth quarter comeback as Jay Feely kicked four field goals, while Rashard Mendenhall’s TD at the two minute warning was the difference in a 25-21 win. Following a 31-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome, the Cardinals began to show just how good their defense was as they rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10, with the help of two Patrick Peterson interceptions in the fourth quarter. A week later, returning home the Cardinals would dominate the Carolina Panthers 22-6, forcing four turnovers which did not include Calais Campbell bringing down Cam Newton in the endzone for a safety. Following back to back losses to the two monster teams in their division, the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, the Cardinals closed the first half of the season with a 27-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons, as Andre Ellington broke the game open with an 80 yard touchdown run. After entering the bye week at 4-4, the Cardinals got into the playoff race thanks to back-to-back 27-14 wins over the lousy Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. They would prove they were for real as they stunned the Indianapolis Colts 40-11 at University of Phoenix Stadium. A year earlier Coach Bruce Arians earned Coach of the Year honors for leading the Colts to the playoffs after their regular coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia. Arians redbirds limited the Colts high powered offense to 239 total yards, as Karlos Dansby had a key interception return to get the Cardinals to 7-4 on the season. In a battle of two of the hottest teams in the NFC, the Cardinals would see their winning steak come to an end with a 24-21 loss on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. The loss would be a slight bump in the road for the surging Cardinals as they got back on track with a dominant 30-10 over the Rams at home. The Cardinals appeared to be hearing for another win a week later against the Tennessee Titans on the road, as they took a 34-17 lead on a 20 yard interception return from Antoine Cason. However, the Titans taking advantage of an on-side kick scored 17 unanswered points in the final 3:12 to tie the game. The Titans would get the ball in overtime and where on the move again, when Cason picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick at their own 43 yardline. The Cardinals would go on to win the game 37-34 on a 41 yard Field Goal by Jay Feely to improve to 9-5. A week later the Cardinals delivered perhaps their greatest performance of the season, stunning the Seattle Seahawks on the road 17-10, silencing the infamous 12th man. The Cardinals dominated the game with defense as Seattle managed just 192 yards total offense as their 14 game winning streak at home came to an end, as Carson Palmer’s 31 yard TD pass to Michael Floyd with 2:13 left proved to be the game winner. With the win the Cardinals had just their second ten win season since moving to Arizona, but they were far from grabbing a playoff spot as they needed a win and help in their final game. The Cardinals would not get the help they needed as both the Panthers and Saints won their final games. They also would not get the win, as they lost to the 49ers 23-20 on Phil Dawson Field Goal as time expired, finishing with a record of 10-6.
2014: After winning ten games and missing the playoffs the Arizona Cardinals looked to keep up the winning pace and take a step forward at the same time. The Cardinals would host the San Diego Chargers in the second game of an opening week Monday Night double header. The first half was a defensive struggle, with Chandler Catanzaro making two Field Goals in his first NFL game to give Arizona a 6-3 lead. The Chargers came out strong in the third quarter taking the lead with a pair of touchdowns. The Cardinals would recover and score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the game winner 13 yard pass from Carson Palmer to John Brown with 2:25 left. Although the Cardinals missed the two point try on each score, they managed to hold on for an 18-17 win. In Week 2 the Cardinals also had a big fourth quarter led by Drew Stanton playing for an injured Carson Palmer to beat the New York Giants on the road 25-14, as they scored 15 unanswered points, highlighted by a game breaking by a game breaking 71 yard punt return by Ted Ginn Jr. Drew Stanton started again and led another comeback win, as the Cardinals overcame a 14-6 halftime deficit to beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-14 in Glendale. The big plays were a pair of touchdown receptions by John Brown in the third quarter. Following a bye week the Cardinals would suffer their first defeat against the Denver Broncos 41-20 on the road. Coming into the game the Cardinals were the last unbeaten team in the NFL. Carson Palmer returned for Week 6 as the Cardinals returned home to face the Washington Redskins. Palmer was solid passing for 250 yards with a pair of touchdowns, as the Cardinals picked off Kirk Cousins three times, including Rashad Johnson returning an interception 28 yards to seal the 30-20 win. Carson Palmer returned to one of his old haunts as the Cardinals faced the Oakland Raiders on the road in Week 7. With two first half touchdowns, Palmer passed for 237 yards as Arizona improved to 5-1 with a 24-13 win over the Raiders. Returning home, the Cardinals late magic continued in Week 8 as they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-20, with Carson Palmer passing for 329 yards with two touchdowns including a 75 yard bomb to John Brown with 1:21 left. The Cardinals strong start continued as they beat the Dallas Cowboys on the road 28-17. After spotting the Cowboys ten points in the first quarter, the Cardinals took the game over with Palmer having another strong game with 249 yards and three touchdown passes. Returning home to face the St. Louis Rams, the Cardinals season suffered a potentially devastating blow when Carson Palmer suffered a season ending knee injury. The injury came just two days after the Cardinals quarterback agreed to a three year $50 million dollar contract extension. Trailing 14-10 at the start of the fourth quarter, Drew Stanton completed a 48 yard TD pass to John Brown to put the Red Birds back in front. It was a breakout season for John Brown, who had 696 receiving yards with five touchdowns. Arizona would go on to win the game 31-14 as Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie capped the scoring with defensive touchdowns. The Cardinals would go in Week 11 with the best record in the NFC at 8-1, with dreams of hosting the Super Bowl as they faced the 8-2 Detroit Lions at the University of Phoenix Stadium. With a pair of touchdowns by Michael Floyd the Cardinals quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead. From there it would be up to their defense as the Lions managed just two Field Goals by Matt Prater. At 9-1 the Cardinals were off to the best start in franchise history and held a three game lead in the NFC West, and appeared to be in the driver’s seat. Facing the second place Seattle Seahawks in Week 12, the Cardinals would see things beg8in to turn in the wrong direction as their offense could not get anything going facing the Seattle defense assisted by their 12th man. The Cardinals defense would keep them in the game, limiting the Seahawks to three first half field goals. However it would not be nearly enough as the Seahawks pulled away in the third quarter to win the game 19-3. Drew Stanton struggled again a week later throwing two interceptions as the Cardinals suffered a second straight loss on the road against the Atlanta Falcons 29-18. Staring a third straight loss in the face, the Cardinals showed some of the early season late magic again as they rallied to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-14. The big play came with 3:26 left as Jaron Brown caught a 26 yard pass from Stanton to win the game. Stanton would add a two point pass to John Carlson to add some comfort as the Chiefs tried to answer in the game’s final minutes. Facing the Rams in St. Louis four nights later, the Cardinals would lose Drew Stanton to a knee injury. Fortunately they managed to hang on to win the game 12-6, behind four Field Goals from Chandler Catanzaro, three of which were longer than 40 yards. The Cardinals were still in first place heading into a Sunday Night showdown with the Seahawks, but without a reliable passer the Cardinals Super Bowl dreams were unraveling. Ryan Lindley would complete just 18 of 44 passes for 216 yards, as the Seahawks took over first place with a 35-6 win. Lindley would also struggle in the season finale, throwing three interceptions as the Cardinals lost to the 49ers 20-17. Despite limping to the finish line the Cardinals 11-5 record was their best since moving to Arizona and good enough to earn them a playoff spot.
2014 Playoffs: Despite having a better record than the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers, the Cardinals would play the Wild Card Game on the road against the NFC South champs. With an infection added to the sprained MCL, Drew Stanton was unable to play forcing the Cardinals to once again use Ryan Lindley as their quarterback. With their strong defense the Cardinals still felt they had a punchers chance and landed pair of power punches with two scores in the second quarter. However, Lindley would manage just 82 yards passing as the Cardinals were held to an all-time worst 77 yards total offense as they spent most of the second half going backwards. The Panthers would win the game easily 27-16.
2015: After a knee injury ended his season early, Carson Palmer returned for the Arizona Cardinals as they faced the New Orleans to open the season at home. Palmer picked off where he left off when he got hurt, passing for 307 yards with three touchdowns. A week later, the Carson Palmer was even better, with four touchdowns as the Cardinals went on the road and dominated the Chicago Bears 48-23. In the same game Larry Fitzgerald had three touchdown receptions, while collecting 112 yards. Larry Fitzgerald had another big game in Week 3, with a 134 yard, two touchdown performance in Week 3 as the Cardinals slammed the San Francisco 49ers 47-7. Also highlight the game in Glendale were pick sixes from Justin Bethel and Tyrann Mathieu. After two blowout wins, the Cardinals stumbled at home, losing to the Rams 24-22. The Cardinals would rebound to beat the Detroit Lions 42-17 in Week 5, as they got a strong effort from their rushing game with a total of 187 yards, with Andre Ellington’s 63 yard touchdown run leading the way. The Cardinals would suffer a 25-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6, despite 421 passing yards from Carson Palmer as they shot themselves in the foot three costly turnovers. Returning home the Cardinals beat the Baltimore Ravens 26-18 on Monday Night Football. Chris Johnson led the way in the win over the Ravens with 122 rushing yards highlighted by a 62-yard where he rolled over the defender’s stomach and continued to march down the field. The Cardinals would go into the bye week with 6-2 record after a 34-20 win over the Cleveland Browns, as Carson Palmer passed for 374 yards with four touchdown passes. Following the by, the Cardinals would face the Seattle Seahawks on the road looking to take a stranglehold of the NFC West. With Carson Palmer passing for 363 yards with three touchdowns, the Cardinals built a 22-7 lead at the half. However, the Seahawks would rally and took 29-25 lead on Bobby Wagner’s 22 yard fumble return. Palmer and the Cardinals would respond driving 83 yards to retake the lead on a 14-yard pass to Jermaine Gresham. After turning Seattle aside, the Cardinals got an earth shaking 48-yard TD run by Andre Ellington to all but seal the win, as they moved to 7-2 with a 39-32 win on the road. A week later the Cardinals were back on Sunday Night for the second straight week as they hosted the Cincinnati Bengals in a battle of first place teams. Facing his former team, Carson Palmer had another big game, passing for 317 yards with four touchdowns. The Cardinals still needed a 32 yard Field Goal by Chandler Catanzaro late in the game to win it 31-28. A week later the Cardinals beat the 49ers for the first time on the road in seven years, winning 19-13 on Palmer’s yard stumble into the endzone. After a 27-3 win over the Rams in St. Louis, the Cardinals once again were primetime players hosting the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. Highlighted by long Touchdown passes to John Brown and Malcom Floyd, the Cardinals held a 20-10 lead early the fourth quarter. After the Vikings rallied to even the score, Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 47-yard Field Goal to clinch a playoff spot with a 23-20 win. The Cardinals would clinch the division a week later, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 40-17 at Lincoln Financial Field with David Johnson having a breakout game with 187 yards rushing and three touchdowns. A week later the Cardinals would get a first round bye with a 38-8 win over the Green Bay Packers. The Cardinals defense had a game for the ages that afternoon, sacking Aaron Rodgers nine times, with Dwight Freeney taking down Rodgers three times and Calais Campbell getting credit for two and half sacks. In the swarming of Aaron Rodgers the Cardinals defense also got fumble returns from Cory Redding and Jerraud Powers. The Cardinals would see their nine game winning streak end a week later, as they were beaten by the Seahawks 36-6 in the last game of the season with nothing on the line as they had the #2 seed locked up and finished at 13-3.
2015 Playoffs: In the Division Round the Arizona Cardinals would face Green Bay Packers for the second time in a month. This game would not be as easy as Aaron Rodgers had a much stronger performance, passing for 261 yards with two touchdowns. Carson Palmer meanwhile was shaky with two interceptions, as the Packers held a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter. After a costly Carson Palmer interception in the endzone early in the fourth quarter by Damarious Randall, the Cardinals found themselves still behind as they looked for the lead late in the game. In a moment that made all of Arizona gasp, Sam Shields had a potential back break interception slip through his hands. Given a reprieve the Cardinals kept the drive alive on a first down reception by David Johnson. The following play Palmer nearly was picked again as the ball went through the hands of Damarious Randall and into the hands of a diving Malcolm Floyd in the endzone. The Cardinals not only dodged a bullet but had a 17-13 lead. After stopping the Packers on downs, Chandler Cantazaro added a Field Goal to seemingly seal the win. However, the Packers forced overtime on an unbelievable Hail Mary pass from Aaron Rodgers to Jeff Janis as time expired. Stunned by not dead, the Cardinals won the overtime coin toss and drove 80 yards on three plays led by the exploits of Larry Fitzgerald, who after catching a pass at the Cardinals 35 and rumbled down to Green Bay five yard line. After an incompletion, Rodgers completed a five yard shovel pass to Fitzgerald to win the game 26-20. A week later the Cardinals would hit the road to face the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game. As most fans watched the end of the AFC Championship Game, the Cardinals hopes of a trip to Super Bowl 50 were imploding as the Panthers raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. Things would not get better as they game went along as the Cardinals committed seven turnovers, including four interceptions from an ineffective Carson Palmer. When it was all over the Panthers had a convincing 49-15 win as the Cardinals suffered one of the worst losses in the history of the NFC Championship Game in the Super Bowl era.
2016: After their disappointing loss in the NFC Championship Game, the Arizona Cardinals looked to take the next step as they opened the season with a Sunday Night showdown with the New England Patriots in the battle of the Conference Championship Game losers. Despite the Patriots being without Tom Brady, the Cardinals fell behind early 10-0. The Cardinals would battle back and took a brief 21-20 lead in the fourth quarter. The Patriots would regain the lead on a field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. The Cardinals had a chance to answer, but in the closing seconds, Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal allowing New England to hold on for the 23-21 win. The Cardinals bounced back a week later to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 40-7. When they played their first road game, the Cardinals laid an egg, falling to the Buffalo Bills 33-18 as Carson Palmer threw four interceptions. Returning home, they would not play much better, losing to the Los Angeles Rams 17-13. With Drew Stanton getting the start four days later, the Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers 33-21 to get back on track. The Cardinals got back to .500 a week later as Carson Palmer returned for a Monday Night home game against the New York Jets. The Cardinals were in control all night, beating the Jets 28-3 as David Johnson, rushed for 111 yards and had three touchdowns. In primetime again in Week 7, the Cardinals looked to get back to the top of the NFC West as they hosted the Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals dominated the game most of the night, but failed to capitalize on several chances to put the game away as each team only managed a field goal during regulation. In overtime, the Cardinals and Seahawks again traded field goals as the game went into sudden death. The Cardinals appeared on the verge of winning the game, but Chandler Catanzaro missed a 24-yard chip shot, the Seahawks would themselves drive down the field, but Steven Hauschka missed a 28-yard attempt, allowing the game to end in a 6-6 tie. It was the Cardinals fist tie since moving to Arizona. Following the tie, the Cardinals suffered more disappointments as they were beaten by the Carolina Panthers 30-20 in a NFC Championship rematch. After hitting the bye week with a record of 3-4-1, the Cardinals got back to .500 again, by beating the hapless 49ers 23-20 as Catanzaro hit a 34-yard field goal as time expired. The Cardinals continued to fail in their efforts to climb over .500 as they lost their next two games on the road against the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons as Carson Palmer had a pair of interceptions in each game. Returning home for Week 13, Carson Palmer had his best game of the season, passing for 300 yards with three touchdowns as the Cardinals beat the Washington Redskins 31-23. Looking to again get back to .500, the Cardinals rallied in the fourth quarter to tie the Miami Dolphins 23-23, but Miami would answer with a 21-yard field goal by Andrew Franks to win the game 26-23, eliminating Arizona from playoff contention. Once again Palmer’s interceptions proved to be costly as the Dolphins early lead was built in large part by two more turnovers from the Cardinals quarterback. Returning home saw more disappointment for the Cardinals as they lost a shoot out to the New Orleans Saints 48-41. The Cardinals would end the season on a high note, as they stunned the Seahawks on the road 34-31 and crushed the Rams in Los Angeles 44-6 to finish the season at 7-8-1. Despite the disappointing season, David Johnson emerged as one of the best backs in the NFL, with 2,108 All-Purpose Yards and 20 touchdowns.
2017: The Arizona Cardinals were led for most of the season by veteran quarterback Carson Palmer playing in his final season. The season could not have started worse for the Arizona Cardinals as they suffered a 35-23 loss on the road against the Detroit Lions. However, more painful was the loss of star Running Back David Johnson who suffered a dislocated wrist and missed the rest of the season. Without Johnson, the Cardinals rallied to score ten points in the fourth quarter to force overtime and beat the Indianapolis Colts 16-13 in Week 2. In the home opener, the Cardinals suffered a 28-17 Monday Night loss to the Dallas Cowboys. A week later it was a battle of field goals as Phil Dawson booted four through the uprights as the Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers went into overtime tied 12-12. The Niners added a fifth field goal by Robbie Gould on the first overtime possession, while the Cardinals not answered but they did one better, as Larry Fitzgerald caught a 19-yard pass from Palmer in the end zone to win the game 18-15. Following an ugly 34-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cardinals in an attempt to fix their backfield issues without David Johnson traded for former MVP Adrian Peterson sending a sixth-round pick to the New Orleans Saints in return on October 11th. The move worked out right away as Peterson rushed 134 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns as the Cardinals beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-33 at University of Phoenix Stadium. A week later, the Cardinals crashed and burned in London, losing to the Los Angeles Rams 33-0 as Carson Palmer suffered a broken arm, ending his season and career. The rest of the way Arizona got significant from Blaine Gabbert, and Drew Stanton as they began looking for a new quarterback. Holding a 3-4 record and coming off the bye in Week 9 for the Cardinals coming off of the bye saw a 20-10 win over the 49ers in San Francisco, sweeping the season series. However, they continued to alternate wins as they lost to the Seattle Seahawks at home 22-16 on Thursday Night Football. The Cardinals pattern of alternating wins ended in Week 11, as they were beaten by the Houston Texans 31-21, falling to 4-6. Things began to turn around for the Cardinals Week 12 when the Jacksonville Jaguars came to town as Arizona stunned the Jaguars 27-24, with Phil Dawson hitting a 57-yard field goal with six seconds left. That win put the Cardinals back in the pattern of alternating wins and losses as they lost the following week at home to the Rams 32-16. That was followed with a 12-7 win over the Tennessee Titans, with Dawson hitting four field goals in the second half. After a frustrating 20-15 loss to the Washington Redskins, the Cardinals came home and blanked the New York Giants 23-0 in their final home game. The dominating defensive game was capped by a 21-yard run by Robert Nkemdiche. A week later the Cardinals would end the season in Seattle, with a 26-24 win that eliminated the Seahawks from the playoffs, as they finished 8-8, in a year of wild inconsistency, finishing third in the NFC West behind the Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle Seahawks. Arizona also saw key contributions from All-Pro wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald who, despite having three different quarterbacks managed to play at an All-Pro level with 109 receptions for 1156 yards and six touchdowns. Carson Palmer was not the only Cardinal to retire, as Coach Bruce Arians also stepped down following the season.
Written by Ryan McCormick