Two overtime games, two wins. It’s not ideal, the way the games got to overtime, because in both cases the offense couldn’t score the kind of points that were expected against the competition – the 49ers gave up 41 to the Rams their last game before keeping the Cards out of the end zone all the way until the final play – but the Cardinals made it work in beating San Francisco, 18-15.
It was close. A 17-play field goal drive almost sapped all of the now-10-minute overtime period before the Cardinals could even get the ball. Thanks in large part because of the previous OT game at University of Phoenix Stadium – the 6-6 tie that ate up all 15 extra minutes last year – overtime was changed to 10 minutes. Bruce Arians, on the competition committee, was part of that, and don’t think it didn’t cross his mind as time ticked down.
“I was kicking my ass for bringing up this 10-minute overtime rule, but it worked out pretty good,” he said.
Things are not perfect. At this rate, Carson Palmer will not last the season getting hit so much. He was hit 16 more times Sunday, bringing his season total to 43, with 17 sacks.
“I’m tired, but hopefully we have a walkthrough Wednesday and we don’t have to practice,” Palmer said.
There were some key penalties too, ones that prevented the defense from getting off the field in overtime, especially. But there was an offense that was clicking in the extra frame, there was a Smokey Brown sighting, a Jaron Brown career-high 105 yards, and there was Fitz. And there was a win.
— There is no official update on linebacker Markus Golden and his knee injury, but it’s never a good sign to see a guy writhing around on the ground after it happens and then later getting up to walk off. That usually means the writhing was less about pain than anger about something bad, and multiple reports say it could be torn ligaments. We will see what happens. Carson Palmer talked about Kareem Martin getting his chance, and if Golden is down, Haason Reddick can play some rush linebacker too. But losing Golden, sackless but the team’s 2016 leader, would be a rough one.
— I was thinking John Brown’s two-toes-down OT catch in the end zone was going to be overturned.
— From my view, it sure seemed like the 49ers got very conservative in OT. I get it — the Cardinals had done little on offense, and you figure a field goal might be too much to overcome — but I thought the Niners should’ve gone for the kill. It end up biting them, especially when they were playing that prevent defense, for whatever reason.
— Andre Ellington did have a couple of drops, but he too had a TD-that-wasn’t that left Cardinals scratching their heads on the call, and he was huge in overtime. His catches on the first two plays, dump-and-runs gained 11 yards each and jump-started the offense.
— The Cards got good receiving production from both Ellington and Chris Johnson. Now they just need to get production in the running game.
— Fitzgerald ended the game with a game-winning touchdown. He began the game with a blocking assignment on rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, and it didn’t go well. Thomas belted Palmer on an incompletion.
“The first play, I felt so bad,” Fitzgerald said. “I had to block a defensive end and got him hit. I told him as soon as (I could), ‘Carson, I’m so sorry man. I’m sorry, man.’ ”
Understandable. That’s not why Fitz is out there. Asked why he was blocking Thomas, Fitz just said, “I don’t ask those questions.”
— Fitzgerald becomes the only player in NFL history with an overtime touchdown catch in both the regular season and the postseason.
— I want to go back at look at the video. I didn’t notice right tackle Jared Veldheer in a bad way as I had the previous two games. With the pressure Palmer was under, it doesn’t mean he was perfect. But I want to see him against the others across the line.
— Kicker Phil Dawson goes 4-for-4 on field goals. The Cards win. But he said it doesn’t make up for missing three field goals in the first three games. “There’s no getting those back,” Dawson said.
— Patrick Peterson had a big smile, telling me he was 8-0 in overtime, dropping last year’s tie with Seattle. Close, Patrick, but not quite. You’re forgetting the 2012 overtime loss to Buffalo, the game when Jay Feely booted a 61-yard field goal to tie it. Peterson is now 8-1-1 in 10 OT games since arriving with the Cards.
And the Cardinals are 2-0 this season, which keeps them breathing in the NFC West.
Tags: 49ers, Andre Ellington, Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, Jared Veldheer, John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Markus Golden, overtime, Patrick Peterson, Phil Dawson, Solomon Thomas
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Once upon a time, Donovan McNabb took a lot of heat — deservedly so — because he didn’t know an NFL regular-season game ended in a tie if a scoreless overtime quarter was played. McNabb was not alone, however.
Sunday, the 49ers and Rams played to a 24-24 tie (which was brutal for the Rams, who had three good chances to win at the end of regulation and overtime and botched all three on their own.) Afterward, players on both sides expressed surprise there could be a tie, a facepalm moment if there ever was one. Rams receiver Danny Amendola was expecting a second overtime and 49ers safety Dashon Goldson was more incredulous.
“I’ve never heard of a tie in football,” Goldson told reporters. “Where’s everybody going? Did somebody quit? Forfeit?”
I get that players don’t want to end up in a tie. But to not understand one is coming? Crazy. Makes you wonder about the urgency players were feeling — or not feeling — near the end of overtime. In college, of course, there can’t be ties anymore, so maybe that’s the thought process. Now, I’m sure many players do know there can be a tie, but it happens so rarely — McNabb’s faux pas came after the last NFL tie, back in 2008 — that guys forget. The last time the Cardinals had a tie game was a 10-10 final at Philadelphia in 1986, long before the franchise even moved to Arizona. The Cardinals have played 32 regular-season overtime games since then without a tie. For all the overtime games, someone usually is able to score at least once.
Tags: 49ers, overtime, Rams
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We already know the Cardinals did the unprecedented this season by winning four overtime games. But it’s dominance in overtime was deeper than just the victories (and, given the probabilities of such things, unlikely to happen again for the Cards anytime soon. Or even later. Or maybe ever.)
The Cards ended up with an NFL-record 18 points scored in overtime, breaking Pittsburgh’s record of 15 set in 1997.
(The Cards also played four overtime games in 1997. They went 1-3, beating Dallas at home and then losing to the Redskins and Eagles on the road before falling to those 1997 Steelers at home.)
This season, in wins over the Rams, Cowboys, Browns and Seahawks, the Cardinals got their 4-0 record despite losing three of the coin tosses. Only against the Cowboys did the Cards get the ball and keep it; in the other three games the defense had to come up with a stop first. It makes the incredibly one-sided stats even more impressive.
In the four games, the Cards gained 193 yards compared to 36 for the opponent, despite running just 20 plays compared to the opponents’ 13. The net passing yards disparity in overtime? A stunning 165 to 2. The Cards have also won six straight home overtime games, tying the Steelers, who had six from 1978 to 1997, for the longest such streak in NFL history. (Postseason is included, for instance, the Cards’ 51-45 wild-card win over the Packers a couple of years ago.)
Overall, the Cardinals are now 23-15-2 all-time in overtime games, a .600 winning percentage. The 40 overall OT games are the second-most in NFL history behind Denver (which got its 44th last weekend in the playoff win over the Steelers). The Cards’ 23 wins are tied with the Bears for second-most behind the Broncos’ 27.
The Cards’ OT win percentage of .600 is fifth all-time, if you are willing to include Jacksonville and their tiny sample size of 11 games:
- .636, Denver (27-15-2)
- .636, Jacksonville (7-4)
- .613, Buffalo (19-12)
- .608, Washington (22-14-1)
- .600, Arizona (23-15-2)
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The first time the Cardinals went into overtime with Ken Whisenhunt as head coach, they should have won. If Sean Morey was just a little faster, or if the Cards didn’t have a bad penalty, or if Neil Rackers wasn’t going through his late-game issues, the Cardinals would have won — but instead, they lost to the 49ers, 37-31.
Since then, though, the Cards have been efficient when their games have gone into an extra period. Including the playoffs, the Cards have won five of their last six overtime games. They toppled reeling Atlanta, 30-27, later that year in 2007, helping the Cards finish .500 that season. There was the famous blocked punt to beat Dallas in 2008 and the more famous Michael Adams forced fumble against the Packers in the 2009 playoffs. The Cardinals did lose in Minnesota last season — Derek Anderson had time and a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald on a down-and-in on the first play of the extra frame that probably would have set up a scoring chance, but the pass was low and behind Fitz — but have rallied for their St. Louis and Dallas wins this year.
You’d rather win in regulation, of course, and there have been some breaks (I keep thinking how Greg Jennings had beaten Antrel Rolle badly in that playoff game and Aaron Rodgers — the last time he lost a playoff game — simply overthrew Jennings and what would have been the game-winning touchdown). But the Cards have found ways to win.
Another overtime nugget to note: The Cards and the 1995 Chiefs are the only teams with two 50-yard-plus touchdowns in overtime in a season. The Chiefs didn’t have either on offense, by the way. Tamarick Vanover had an 86-yard punt return Oct. 9 against San Diego, and defensive back James Hasty had a 64-yard interception return Sept. 17 against Oakland.
Tags: Ken Whisenhunt, overtime
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