A 64-second play turned the game around as the Arizona Cardinals beat the New Orleans Saints 42-34 in a thrilling Thursday Night Football showdown.
Deep into the second quarter, Saints quarterback Andy Dalton hit two pick-sixes to give the Cardinals a 28-14 lead at halftime.
After the Commanders’ disastrous 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 be forgiven for missing this one.
Instead, it was a feast of attacking football and aggressive defence, resulting in the highest scoring game of the season.
The Saints took the lead after two minutes when Dalton threw a 53-yard pass to find Rashid Shaheed. After a pair of Cardinals scores, Dalton scored a second touchdown in the second quarter, this time on a three-yard run by Tayson Hill.
The Cardinals got back in with a turnover by Keontay Ingram and a two-point conversion with 2:28 on the clock. Then, the Saints broke the game in the next two minutes.
Dalton, in one of his most inconsistent performances in recent memory, threw a pass to wide receiver Marquez Callaway, who bobbled the catch, allowing Marco Wilson to make the interception and go for the six.
A minute later Dalton, under pressure, threw a loose pass. Isaiah Simmons hauled in a stunning one-handed catch before returning it 56 yards to put the Cardinals up 14 at halftime.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the second half, but after the Saints made a field goal to cut the lead to eight, they missed a last-minute field goal and the Cardinals saw the game out.
For the Saints — and specifically for Dalton — it was a night where they were punished for their inconsistency. Dalton, who is filling in for 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 of a playoff spot alive for the Cardinals, who now sit at 3-4 ahead of a trip to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Oct. 30.
For the 1-4 Saints, who host the Raiders on Oct. 30, all hopes for a playoff berth seem over.