Cards blow late lead, still top Titans in OT
Nashville, TN (.com) - Jay Feely drilled a 41-yard field goal with 10:18 left in overtime to lift the Arizona Cardinals to a 37-34 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at LP Field.
Antoine Cason's 20-yard interception return for a score gave Arizona a 34-17 lead with just over six minutes left before Michael Preston hauled in a pair of TD passes around a Rob Bironas field goal to force an extra session.
Tennessee won the toss in overtime and elected to receive, but on the team's third play from scrimmage, Cason came up with his second pick of the game and returned it 16 yards to the Arizona 46.
Rashard Mendenhall then moved the Cardinals to the Tennessee 21 following his 15-yard scamper and three plays later, Feely sent his game-winning field goal through the uprights.
"We never got down after Tennessee tied the game," Cason said. "We kept believing we were going to win."
Carson Palmer finished 20-of-30 passing for 231 yards and a score, while Mendenhall added 69 yards and two scores on 21 totes for the Cardinals (9-5), who won for the sixth time in their last seven games to secure their first winning season since going 10-6 in 2009.
Andre Ellington rushed for 71 yards on 10 carries and racked up a team-high 87 receiving yards on four catches in the win.
Ryan Fitzpatrick put forth a valiant effort in defeat, throwing for 402 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions on 36-of-58 passing for the Titans (5-9), who were eliminated from playoff contention after dropping their third straight game.
"When you have a comeback like that, you're not supposed to lose," Fitzpatrick said. "We felt like we had things rolling there."
Kendall Wright finished with a game-high 150 yards on 12 catches in defeat.
With the Titans trailing by 17 with 6:13 to play, Fitzpatrick led his squad on a 9-play, 67-yard march that Preston capped with a 10-yard TD grab to make it 34-24 with just over three minutes left.
After failing on an onside kick, Tennessee forced an Arizona three-and-out and Wright highlighted the ensuing Titans' sequence with a 23-yard reception to the Arizona 31.
However, the drive stalled at the Arizona 6 and the Titans settled for a 24- yard field goal from Bironas to pull within 34-27 with 49 seconds left.
Tennessee then attempted another onside kick that Larry Fitzgerald appeared to have a beat on, but the Arizona wideout was leveled as he tried to make a leaping grab, and the Titans pounced on the ball at their own 46.
Wright opened the ensuing Tennessee touch with a 26-yard grab and followed that with a 20-yard reception down to the Arizona 8.
Following a spike and an incompletion, Fitzpatrick fired a strike to Preston for an 8-yard touchdown that tied the game with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
Early on, Bironas buried a 45-yard field goal on Tennessee's opening touch to put the home team on top, but Arizona answered with a 9-play, 77-yard trek that Mendenhall capped with a 1-yard surge for a 7-3 lead.
Tennessee didn't face a single third down on its ensuing scoring drive, which Fitzpatrick capped with a 25-yard TD toss to Chris Johnson that put the Titans on top, 10-7, on the final play of the first quarter.
Feely connected on a 25-yard field goal on Arizona's first touch of the second stanza to tie the game at 10-10.
The teams entered halftime still locked at 10-all before Arizona opened the second half with a surprise pooch kickoff. Tennessee's Patrick Bailey muffed the short kick, and Cason jumped on it at the Tennessee 23.
However, the Cardinals failed to pick up a first down and settled for a 47- yard field goal from Feely to give Arizona a 13-10 lead.
Tennessee responded with a lengthy 15-play trek that Delanie Walker capped with a 1-yard TD pass, but the Cardinals countered with a quick 7-play series that saw Jake Ballard haul in a 6-yard score for a 20-17 Arizona edge.
Mendenhall added a 1-yard TD surge early in the fourth and Cason returned a Fitzpatrick pick 20 yards for a score two plays into Tennessee's ensuing touch to create a seemingly comfortable 34-17 lead for the Cardinals.
Walker has six TD receptions this season, the most by a Titans tight end since Frank Wycheck had six in 1996 ... Arizona swept an interconference series for the first time since realignment in 2002 after beating all four members of the AFC South ... Fitzgerald, who finished with a team-high six catches for 49 yards, left the game to be evaluated for a concussion after taking a hard hit on Tennessee's second onside kick ... Tennessee compiled 394 passing yards, compared to 215 for the Cardinals ... Arizona was whistled for nine penalties, while the Titans were called for just three.
December 15, 2013, at 08:48 PM ET
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Cards blow late lead, still top Titans in OT