Monday, November 27, 2017

Cardinals derail Jaguars on Dawson's 57-yard FG

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Dawson kicked a career-long 57-yard field goal with one second remaining in regulation to lift the Arizona Cardinals to a 27-24 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Dawson made all four of his field-goal attempts on the afternoon, also connecting from 34, 42 and 48 yards.

“He might be old, but he’s still got it,” Cardinals guard Alex Boone said of Dawson, the 42-year-old veteran. “Phil’s always going to respond. He’s Phil Dawson. He like owns the league. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he’s been around for 30 years, I mean look at the guy.”

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Cardinals (5-6) and ended a four-game winning streak for the Jaguars (7-4).

“Like I told the team, I give credit to Arizona,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. “I knew that they would be ready to go, being on a three-game home stretch. I told the team the truth. It starts with me. I’ve got to do a better job of preparing the team, getting them ready.”

The Cardinals had a 13-point lead following Dawson’s third field goal with 11:29 remaining in the third quarter. But things started to get wild after that and momentum began swinging back and forth.

First, it went to the Jaguars, who drove 75 yards on seven plays, capped by a 1-yard bootleg run by quarterback Blake Bortles for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 16-10. Jacksonville’s defense, the best in the league in scoring defense, sacks and forcing turnovers, then rose to the occasion.

Linebacker Paul Posluszny knocked the ball out of Blaine Gabbert’s hands while the quarterback was under pressure and ex-Cardinals lineman Calais Campbell picked it up and returned the fumble 10 yards for a touchdown with 12:10 remaining to give the Jaguars their first lead at 17-16.

Gabbert, though, found some redemption in going deep down the field on Arizona’s ensuing possession and finding Jaron Brown open for a 52-yard touchdown pass. The Cardinals went for the two-point conversion and Gabbert hit Larry Fitzgerald to make it 24-17.

The Jaguars tied it up thanks in part to a 68-yard kickoff return by Corey Grant. Four plays later, Bortles ran for another touchdown, picking up a perfect block from receiver Keelan Cole and scoring from 17 yards out to tie the score at 24.

Bortles led Jacksonville in rushing with 62 yards on six carries.

Dawson’s winning kick came after a critical 12-yard pass from Gabbert to running back D.J. Foster, who was pushed out of bounds and gave his kicker a chance to nail the winner.

“It was a great snap, hold and kick,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said, adding of Dawson, who had missed a total of six field goals entering Sunday’s game, “He’s very resilient. He’s a pro. He’s been through snappers, holders, a lot of things that affect kickers. But he’s been resilient and I thought he kicked off great, too.”

Gabbert, making his second start for Arizona, completed 23 of 38 passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was only sacked once.

“They did a nice job of getting rid of the ball quickly,” Marrone said. “He made some scrambles for first downs and was moving around in the pocket. We’ve got to get that little extra, but they did a nice job. You have to give them credit.”

Bortles was 19 of 33 for 160 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

“I think everybody understands that obviously you’re upset and frustrated with the loss,” Bortles said. “We’re just not playing the way we want to play. But I think everybody understands where we’re at, the work we put in to get here, and the opportunity is still in our control.”

After a slow start and getting virtually shut down by opposing defenses in his last two games, Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson finished with 79 yards on 20 carries.

With a handful of runs in the third quarter, Peterson passed Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (12,243 career yards) for 13th place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list and also eclipsed Edgerrin James (12,246) for 12th place. With 12,275 career yards, he is now just five yards shy of surpassing Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (12,279) for 11th all-time.

“It’s always an honor because these are the guys who paved the way for me and gave me something to shoot after and guys I grew up watching and inspired me,” Peterson said. “So just to be in this position that I‘m in and to continue to climb that ladder, it’s a blessing.”

Chandler Jones had two sacks for Arizona, giving him 13 on the year. He had five tackles for loss overall.

The Cardinals led 13-3 at halftime thanks to Gabbert’s touchdown pass to tight end Ricky Seals-Jones and field goals of 34 and 42 yards by Dawson.

Arizona scored on its opening possession as Gabbert completed four of his first five passes, including a 26-yard hook-up with Seals-Jones on third down, before having to settle for Dawson’s 34-yarder.

Neither team could get much going offensively, and with the Jaguars driving into Cardinals’ territory early in the second quarter, running back Chris Ivory fumbled. Linebacker Josh Bynes forced it, linebacker Karlos Dansby recovered and five plays later, Dawson kicked his second field goal of the half for a 6-0 lead.

After another tough defensive stand by Arizona, the Jaguars were forced to punt on their ensuing possession and four plays later, Gabbert hit Seals-Jones over the middle for a 29-yard catch and run for the score and a 13-3 lead. It was the third touchdown catch for Seals-Jones, an undrafted rookie free agent, in the past two weeks.

The Cardinals lost starting inside linebacker Deone Bucannon in the first quarter to a right ankle injury. Bucannon missed the final three games of last season and the first three games of this season due to a severe ankle injury that required offseason surgery.

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