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Cardinals' Top Plays Of 2019: Special Teams

It was an adventurous season for the Cardinals' special teams unit. There was some bad – a blocked punt for a touchdown against the Giants, a punt-return score by the Steelers – but also plenty of good. Here are the top five special teams plays of 2019:

5. Darrell Daniels Flattens Jordan Berry

The situation: The Steelers had a fourth-and-6 on their 40 with 8:13 left in the fourth quarter, leading 20-10.

The play: Pittsburgh called a fake punt before checking out of it. Everyone heard the change except punter Jordan Berry, who began sprinting forward in hopes of converting the first down. The Cardinals only had a few players rushing, but luckily tight end Darrell Daniels was one of them, as he crushed Berry and forced a fumble that linebacker Dennis Gardeck recovered.

The aftermath: The Cardinals took over at the Pittsburgh 32 and sliced the deficit to three points on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Kyler Murray to David Johnson three plays later.

4. Dennis Gardeck, Chris Banjo Stuff The Rams' Fake

The situation: Los Angeles had a fourth-and-7 from its 17 with 4:45 left in the first quarter, leading 3-0.

The play: The Rams took a page out of the Cardinals' playbook, hiking the ball to up-man Nick Scott in hopes of running for a first down on a fake punt. The defense sniffed it out, as safety Chris Banjo alertly cut off the edge and linebacker Dennis Gardeck finished the play with a tackle short of the first down marker.

The aftermath: The Cardinals took possession at the Los Angeles 22 and scored a touchdown two plays later on a pass from Murray to tight end Dan Arnold.

3. Zane Gonzalez, For The Win In Cincinnati

The situation: The Cardinals had a second-and-8 at the Cincinnati 13 with two seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of a 23-23 game.

The play: Zane Gonzalez was counted on heavily in 2019, but rarely in critical situations. It didn't get any bigger than this spot, and Gonzalez calmly lined up at the left hash and split the uprights perfectly for the game-winning 31-yard field goal.

The aftermath: The successful kick clinched the Cardinals' first victory of the season. Gonzalez finished the year 31-of-35 on field goals and 34-of-35 on extra points.

2. Chase Edmonds' Tightrope Act Against The Steelers

The situation: The Cardinals had a fourth-and-8 at the Arizona 41 with 11:32 left in the third quarter, trailing 13-10.

The play: Running back Chase Edmonds saw an unbalanced defensive front from the Steelers and checked into a fake punt. He took the direct snap, and, with the help of a block from linebacker Ezekiel Turner, turned the corner and stayed in-bounds long enough to get the first down.

The aftermath: The Cardinals drove the ball down to the Pittsburgh 26, but Murray threw an interception on a pass intended for Edmonds to end the drive.

1. Andy Lee To Pharoh Cooper Trickery In Tampa Bay

The situation: The Cardinals had a fourth-and-10 from their 36 with 8:39 left in the fourth quarter, trailing 23-20.

The play: It was a doozy, as punter Andy Lee ended up throwing the pass, but not before Ezekiel Turner took the direct snap and pitched the ball to wideout Trent Sherfield, who then pitched it back to Lee. In the midst of this, wide receiver Pharoh Cooper feigned a block and shot down the sideline on a wheel route. Lee found him for a 26-yard gain to keep possession.

The aftermath: The Cardinals capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Christian Kirk to take a fourth-quarter lead.

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