There are three phases in football, and special teams is often the one that gets overlooked. However, it can have a big impact on a game's outcome, as the Cardinals saw this season. Here are the top five special teams plays of the 2020 season:
5. Cardinals Get A Kick Out Of Kylie Fitts In New York
The situation: The Giants were receiving a kickoff with 8:28 remaining in the second quarter, trailing 6-0.
The play: New York running back Dion Lewis caught the ball in the end zone and ran to his left. Outside linebacker Kylie Fitts zeroed in on him but was blocked as he got close. Fortuitously, Fitts' foot popped up and accidentally kicked the football, which squirted away from Lewis. Wide receiver Trent Sherfield recovered for the Cardinals.
The aftermath: The Cardinals were having trouble pulling away from the Giants up until this point, but the fumble recovery gave them possession at the New York 21. Four plays later, quarterback Kyler Murray found tight end Dan Arnold for a touchdown and the Cardinals never looked back.
4. Ezekiel Turner Flies Up The Middle Against The Eagles
The situation: The Eagles had a fourth-and-19 from their 42 with 2:34 remaining in the first quarter, trailing 9-0.
The play: Linebacker Ezekiel Turner had a huge day on special teams against Philadelphia. This was the first act, zooming up the middle of the formation to block Cameron Johnston's punt. The Cardinals would have scooped the ball and returned it for a touchdown, but it rolled out of bounds at the Eagles' 6-yard-line.
The aftermath: The offense took advantage, as running back Chase Edmonds scored on a 6-yard touchdown reception two plays later. It gave the Cardinals a 16-0 lead and they needed every one of those points, as they held on for a 33-26 win.
3. Zane Gonzalez Gets His Redemption Against Seattle
The situation: The Cardinals had a fourth-and-3 from the Seattle 30 with 20 seconds left in overtime of a tie game.
The play: Gonzalez had a chance to beat Seattle earlier in overtime but missed a 41-yard field goal attempt. An interception by Isaiah Simmons gave him a second shot, and Gonzalez came through. He hit from 48 yards out for the 37-34 victory.
The aftermath: The Gonzalez field goal capped an impressive comeback by the Cardinals and lifted them to a 5-2 record on the season heading into the bye week. However, Gonzalez would miss some crucial kicks in ensuing weeks and ended up on injured reserve with a back injury.
2. Ezekiel Turner Gives Cardinals A San Francisco Spark
The situation: The 49ers had a fourth-and-5 from their 36, leading 10-0 with 7:14 remaining in the first quarter.
The play: The Cardinals were off to a slow start in the season opener, but Turner changed that in a hurry. Like he did later in the year against the Eagles, Turner shot up the middle and blocked the punt by Mitch Wishnowsky. Outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck recovered at the San Francisco 10-yard-line.
The aftermath: The Cardinals scored a touchdown on the next play to cut the deficit to three points, and ended up capturing a 24-20 win. The rally would have been much tougher if Turner didn't come up with the big special teams play early in the contest.
1. Andy Lee And Ezekiel Turner Prove Special Against Philly
The situation: The Cardinals had a fourth-and-2 from their 33, tied at 26 with 14:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The play: Punter Andy Lee had shown off his throwing prowess on fake punts in the past, and did so again versus the Eagles. He lofted a beautiful pass to Turner, who snagged it fluidly for a 26-yard gain. Turner said afterward it was his first reception since high school.
The aftermath: The Cardinals drove down to the Philadelphia 33 but ended up turning the ball over on downs. The reception did help flip the field position, and the Cardinals scored a touchdown later in the quarter for a 33-26 victory.