The 10 Best Moments from the Arizona Cardinals' Season
Carson Palmer has had a helluva season and helped take the Arizona Cardinals all the way to the NFC Championship game.
It’s been an amazing season for the Arizona Cardinals. Not only did the team achieve its best regular-season record in the franchise's 118-year history at 13-3 (including a nine-game winning streak) and led the league in total offense, its players amassed hefty accomplishments in the process.
Quarterback Carson Palmer had the best year of his career and, more importantly, stayed healthy. The always classy Larry Fitzgerald, who re-upped his contract with Arizona before the season, was one of the top receivers in the NFL and also smashed team records along the way. And rookie running back David Johnson simply was on fire.
Sure, there were a few bumps in the road, including star safety Tyrann Mathieu's injury, but that woe was tempered by all the glory that Arizona enjoyed. The Cardinals vanquished divisional rivals, won every prime time game they played, and triumphed during a few nail-biters.
Oh, yeah, and the Cardis emerged victorious from one of the greatest playoff games ever played last weekend against the Green Bay Packers.
There were scads of outstanding moments for the team this season, and we’re definitely hoping for a more. Like, say, during this weekend’s showdown with the Carolina Panthers for the NFC championship Sunday, and in Super Bowl 50 next month against either Denver Broncos or the New England Patriots.
Arizona is a three-point underdog this weekend against the Panthers. But the Red Birds have overcome the odds many times this season, and if players can show the same chutzpah that got them to the NFC title game, its definitely possible they will make the trip to Levi’s Stadium in Northern California in early February.
So as we look forward to Arizona's making their final drive toward the Super Bowl, we’d like to offer our fellow members of the BirdGang a look back at some of the best moments from this season.
10. Tyrann Mathieu swats Drew Brees’ pass.
The Cardinals were dealt a major blow when defensive standout Tyrann Mathieu suffered the second ACL injury of his burgeoning career in December, cutting short what was shaping up to be a fantastic season for the 23-year-old free safety. That’s because the “Honey Badger” was fierce in the 14 games in which he played, tearing through Arizona’s opponents while posting a career-best 80 tackles and five picks. (Some sports wags called him one of “best blitzers in the NFL,” and they weren't wrong.)
One of our favorite Mathieu moments came was when he leaped into the air and swatted down a pass by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in week one that could’ve been a turnover had Kareem Martin not let the ball touch the ground. Who knew honey badgers could fly?
Aaron Rodgers sacked again, fumbles, Cory Redding returns it for the TD. pic.twitter.com/7048vIOP7D— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD_) December 27, 2015
9. Cory Redding's fumble recovery.
Arizona’s defense was merciless to Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers when the Red Birds routed the Packers, 38-8, in December. Cardinals defenders turned A-Rodge into a tackling dummy by sacking him nine times through the game. On one such occasion, Cory Redding was there to scoop up the fumble and run the ball in for the TD. And he did it with style, stiff-arming a Green Bay behemoth and strutting like wrestling legend Ric Flair after the score. No, seriously.
8. Cory Redding's one-handed pick.
It certainly wasn’t Cory Redding’s only stellar moment of 2015, as the dude also managed a one-handed interception of a throw by Lions quarterback Matt Stafford in the blowout of Detroit. And it would’ve turned into touchdown to boot, had Stafford not scrambled and taken Redding out at the five-yard line.
7. Carson Palmer’s long bomb.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer had an MVP-worthy season, his uneven performance in last weekend's victory over the Packers aside, racking up 4,671 yards and nailing 35 touchdown passes, both of which are team records. One of his biggest throws of the season so far, however, was a 64-yard bomb to wideout J.J. Nelson that helped Arizona topple the Cincinnati Bengals, his former team, in November.
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