Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints: Two touchdown returns in one minute give Cardinals victory over Saints


A 64-second play turned the game on its head as the Arizona Cardinals defeated the New Orleans Saints 42-34 in a thrilling game Thursday night.

Midway through the second quarter, Saints stand-in quarterback Andy Dalton threw two pick-sixes in back-to-back drives that gave the Cardinals a 28-14 lead at halftime.

After the Commanders’ dismal 12-7 win over the Bears last Thursday – and with two of the league’s lowest-scoring teams going head-to-head this week, fans could have been forgiven for missing that game.

Instead, it was a celebration of attacking football and aggressive defence, resulting in one of the highest-scoring games of the season.

The Cardinals ended the longest consecutive streak in the NFL without scoring 40+ goals (87 games).

The Saints took the lead after two minutes when Dalton threw a 53-yard pass to find Rashid Shaheed. After a couple of Cardinals field goals, Dalton threw his second touchdown of the second quarter, this time just three yards to Tayson Hill, who shot over the line.

The Cardinals came back with a run-in by Keontay Ingram and a two-point conversion at 2:28 on the clock. Then the game fell apart for the Saints over the next few minutes.

Dalton, having one of the most inconsistent performances in recent memory, threw a pass to receiver Marquez Callaway, who bobbed the catch and let Marco Wilson intercept and run in for six.

Just a minute later, under pressure, Dalton threw in an easy pass. Isaiah Simmons pulled off a stunning one-handed catch before returning 56 yards to give the Cardinals a 14-yard lead at halftime.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the second half, but after the Saints scored a field goal to reduce the deficit to eight, they failed with a last-minute onside kick and the Cardinals saw the game.

For the Saints – and Dalton in particular – it was a night of being punished for their inconsistency. Dalton, playing in place of the injured Jameis Winston, threw for four touchdowns and 361 yards but also threw three interceptions, two of which were returned.

The win keeps hopes alive of a playoff spot for the Cardinals, who now sit 3-4 ahead of their trip to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Oct. 30.

For the 1-4 Saints, who host the Raiders on October 30, all hopes of a playoff spot seem as good as at an end.