Giant-sized Collapse: Cards Fall to 0-2

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals opened the home portion of their 2023 regular season schedule falling to the New York Giants in the closing seconds 31-28 in a heart-breaker at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.

After being shutout 20-0 in the first half, the Giants’ offense caught fire in the third quarter and would eventually take their first of the game, and the season, on Graham Gano’s 34-yarder with less than a minute to play.

It was a brutal loss for a team which seemed to make significant strides on both sides of the ball in the first half. 

The last Cardinal Sunday win at home still dates back to October 24, 2021 against the Houston Texans.

“We gotta coach better,” head coach Jonathan Gannon said after. “We got outplayed in the second half.”

While starter Josh Dobbs wasn’t perfect from the start, he looked far more comfortable running the offense in his second start behind center as Arizona opened the scoring with an efficient nine-play, 86-yard drive capped by James Conner’s four-yard touchdown run. The Cards already had seven first downs through the opening half of the first quarter, after netting just 13 in their Week 1 loss to the Commanders.

Dobbs’ hot start continued into the second quarter when he raced up the middle, nearly untouched before reaching the goal line. The touchdown run, the first play of the quarter, covered 23 yards and pushed the lead to 14-0.

The Cards netted their 14th first down at the 11:00 mark of the second quarter and Matt Prater’s 37-yard field goal made it 17-0.

Meanwhile, the Arizona defense followed up their strong Week 1 performance with another solid effort. The Giants had less than 30 yards of total offense into the second quarter, despite playing with Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker who was inactive due to a hamstring injury.

Following a Jalen Thompson interception on a Daniel Jones’ tipped pass, Prater’s 44-yard field goal made it 20-0 with just over a minute to play before halftime.

New York failed to score a single point in their first six quarters.

That changed early in the third quarter as the New York offense finally woke up. A Jones 58-yard completion to Jaylin Hyatt set up a 14-yard Jones touchdown run down the Cardinals’ sideline.

The Cards would respond with a scoring drive of their own as Dobbs would find a wide open Hollywood Brown in the flat for a three-yard scoring strike.

Gannon would elect to go for two and get it when Dobbs kept it in on the quarterback power making it 28-7.

Playing with an even greater sense of urgency, the Giants would answer the call with a 12-play, 75-yard drive capped by a Saquon Barkley one-yard touchdown run. The drive was aided by a personal foul penalty on rookie defensive lineman Dante Stills.

Barkley would hit the Cards’ defense again, this time on a nine-yard scoring connection from Jones midway through the fourth quarter and things started getting interesting, cutting the Arizona lead to 28-21.

After a quick Arizona three-and-out, a Jones’ scramble touchdown run was washed out by a holding call as Zaven Collins was held in the backfield. The speed bumb would deter a now rolling New York offense and Jones dropped a perfect pass to Isaiah Hodgins from 11 yards out to tie the game at 28 after the PAT.

After another short, penalty-filled offensive possession by Arizona, the Giants kept rolling behind Jones and Barkley as the Cards’ defense gave up big play after big play setting up Gano’s game-winning kick in the closing seconds.

Dobbs played much better in his second start as a Cardinal, finishing 21-31 for 228 yards and touchdown. Conner ran hard and helped keep Arizona balanced with 106 yards on 23 carries (5.1 per attempt) and a touchdown. Brown and Michael Wilson each had 56 receiving yards.

Jones played extremely well in the second half, finishing 26-37 for 321 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also rushed nine times for 59 yards and a score.

Arizona will host unbeaten Dallas next Sunday.