Carson Palmer throws 3 of his 4 touchdowns passes in the second half to lead Arizona to a 34-20 comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns.
A very game Josh McCown — already roughed up from the previous week by a tenacious Rams defense and an unyielding stadium wall — missed practice time during the week while nursing a sore rib cage and shoulder, yet still managed to throw three touchdown passes in the first half of Sunday’s game between Cleveland and the Arizona Cardinals to get his team off to a 20-7 lead. The problem was, there was another half of football to play and the Cardinals could not play theirs too much worse than they played their first, with two fumbles.
The Cardinals were able to do much more in the second half as the defense further pounded on McCown’s ribs, while the heads of Joe Haden and Donte Whitner absorbed enough physicality that they left in the third quarter for concussion protocol and did not return, aiding in Carson Palmer’s second half passing success. He threw for 374 yards (completing 23 of 38 attempts) and 4 TDs with 1 INT. Chris Johnson, the previous week’s hero, ran 30 times for 109 yards (a 3.6 avg), but fumbled the ball away twice and scored no touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald also fumbled one away and finished leading in receptions and targets, but not production. Mike Floyd led all receivers with 4 receptions for 109 yards and 1 TD to Larry’s 9-84-1 stat line. Tight end Troy Niklas added only 2 receptions for 12 yards, but both were scores. The speedy J.J. Nelson saw more action due to receiver John Brown being ruled out, catching 3 of 4 passes his way for 70 yards.
Josh McCown fumbled three times but only one was lost. He went 18 of 34, 211 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and despite sore ribs he strangely led the Browns in rushing yards (18). TE Gary Barnidge led the Browns in receiving with 7 catches for 53 yards and a TD. Brian Hartline added 2 short TDs. McCown was eventually replaced by back-up Johnny Manziel, but late during garbage time. He says he’ll play Thursday night if he’s healthy enough.
|ARI||1st Quarter||7:59||Troy Niklas 11 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Catanzaro kick) Ari 7 – Cle 0|
|CLE||1st Quarter||2:41||Brian Hartline 10 yd pass from Josh McCown (Coons kick) Ari 7 – Cle 7|
|CLE||2nd Quarter||14:48||Gary Barnidge 3 yd pass from Josh McCown (Coons kick) Ari 7 – Cle14|
|CLE||2nd Quarter||4:56||Brian Hartline 2 yd pass from Josh McCown (Coons missed kick) Ari 7 – Cle 20|
|ARI||2nd Quarter||0:00||Chandler Catanzaro 37 yd FG Ari 10 – Cle 20|
|ARI||3rd Quarter||11:46||Michael Floyd 60 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Catanzaro kick) Ari 17 – Cle 20|
|ARI||3rd Quarter||7:35||Troy Niklas 1 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Catanzaro kick) Ari 24 – Cle 20|
|ARI||4th Quarter||9:32||Larry Fitzgerald 6 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Catanzaro kick) Ari 31 – Cle 20|
|ARI||4th Quarter||2:16||Chandler Catanzaro 35 yd FG Ari 34 – Cle 20|
The Cleveland Browns will likely play their divisional Thursday night match-up with the Cincinnati Bengals without two of their best defensive players, out with concussions.
The Arizona Cardinals have a bye week 9 before returning to visit the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 15.