Ginn return, backup QB lead Cardinals over Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals are finding ways to win, even without starting quarterback Carson Palmer.
Offense, defense, special teams, everybody is chipping in.
Ted Ginn Jr. ran 71 yards on a punt return for a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown, backup Drew Stanton was solid in his first regular-season action since 2010 and the defense forced three of New York’s four turnovers in a 25-14 win over the bumbling Giants on Sunday.
It marked the second straight game the Cardinals (2-0) have rallied in the final quarter, and this comeback gave them their ninth win in 11 games.
“It goes to show the leadership we have in this locker room,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “We faced a lot of adversity. We let these games slip away last year, getting into the fourth quarter down. We didn’t know how to dig out of the hole. Now we understand how to win ballgames. How to finish out the fourth quarter. That’s what it’s all about. It was a great team win out there today.”
It also sent New York to its second straight loss and left many wondering if Tom Coughlin’s team is headed for another horrible start. Last year it was 0-6.
“Criticism of this team now is rightfully administered,” Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. “We understand what 0-2 means in this league, and we understand we are the team that accomplished the ultimate after going 0-2 (2007). We have to stay with that mindset.
“There is no shortage of confidence here.”
Stanton showed his own level of confidence after finding out he would be starting less than two hours before kickoff. Palmer was experiencing a nerve problem in his shoulder.
Stanton threw for 167 yards and led the Cardinals on three long scoring drives.
“You have to start betting on yourself,” said Stanton, who was 14 of 19 and did not turn over the ball. “You have to worry about the stuff you have control over. I say that constantly, but until you start believing in that, you’re not going to be any good.”
Jonathan Dwyer scored on a 1-yard run and Chandler Catanzaro kicked field goals 49, 37, 32 and 33 yards, the shortest one a minute after Ginn’s electrifying return.
The 37-yarder had come just before that and capped a 13-play drive that cut the Giants lead to 14-13 early in the fourth quarter.
The lead had been set up by Eli Manning’s touchdown passes of 7 yards to Rueben Randle in the second quarter and 1 yard to Daniel Fells late in the third.
The Giants went three-and-out after Catanzaro’s 37-yarder, with Victor Cruz dropping a third-down pass that would have been enough for a first down.
It proved costly.
Steve Weatherford, who tore ligaments in his left ankle in the season opener, got off a low punt. Ginn bounced off an initial tackle by Zack Bowman, circled right and turned upfield. Only Weatherford had a chance to tackle him and it was a mismatch.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time than that,” Ginn said. “You know ... you just let the game come to you. You just play the plays. That one was a great play that we had in the ballgame.”
The Cardinals missed the 2-point conversion but got the ball back right away after Quintin Demps fumbled the ensuing kickoff return. Catanzaro converted from 32 yards for a 22-14 lead.
New York had a chance to tie, moving into Cardinals territory with less than five minutes to play. Then running back Rashad Jennings lost his footing after catching a swing pass and fumbled at the 15.
Stanton led the Cardinals to 10 points on their first two possessions.
Manning got the Giants back in the game with a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that ended with Randle making a one-handed catch of a 7-yard fade pass to the corner of the end zone. Manning hit 6 of 7 passes on the drive, including a 25-yard to Cruz on third-and-11.
NOTES: Hall of Famer Frank Gifford served as the Giants’ honorary captain. ... Giants CB Walter Thurmond left in the second half with a pectoral injury. He did not know the extent of his injury. Giants MLB Jon Beason left with a toe injury. ... Ginn’s return for a touchdown was the first by the Cardinals since Peterson’s 80-yarder in 2011. ... The Giants outgained the Cardinals 341-266. ... Ellington had 91 yards on 15 carries and Larry Fitzgerald caught six passes for 51 yards. ...Tight end Larry Donnell led New York with seven catches for 81 yards.
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