Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton returned to the field in Sunday's 23-0 win over the Giants.
As a career backup, quarterback Drew Stanton has spent most of his NFL career on the sideline.
So when he was called upon to start Sunday's game against the Giants in place of the struggling Blaine Gabbert, he appreciated the chance.
"When you get these opportunities to play, you cherish them," Stanton said. "You want to go out there, especially on Christmas Eve – it's going to make my Christmas that much more enjoyable."
The Cardinals appreciated him getting them back in the end zone.
The offense had been stagnant the past two games but Stanton finished with 209 yards passing and two touchdowns in the 23-0 win. The first scoring strike was a 13-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald, which snapped a drought of 11 quarters without a touchdown. He later hit John Brown for a 15-yard score.
Stanton threw an ill-advised interception in the third quarter when trying to fit a ball into Fitzgerald against double coverage, and was picked off a second time on a screen pass which glanced off wideout J.J. Nelson's hands.
Coach Bruce Arians went with Stanton in this game because he felt it would give the team the best chance to win, and Stanton made the move look like the right one.
"I thought Drew was solid," Arians said. "He put it in the end zone two out of three in the red zone, which was something we had been needing. Two great throws down there on those skinny posts."
ARIANS TIES WHISENHUNT'S WINS MARK
The victory was the 49th of Arians' tenure with the Cardinals, which tied him with Ken Whisenhunt for the most in franchise history. That total includes regular season and playoff games.
"That's fantastic," Arians said. "I can't take any of the credit; it's all the players and coaches. Our coaches have done an unbelievable job with all these young kids and all these injuries, of giving them the game plan to win with."
Arians has the most regular season coaching wins in Cardinals history with 48. He will have the opportunity to pass Whisenhunt and reach 50 career wins next week in the regular season finale in Seattle.
JOHN BROWN SCORES A TOUCHDOWN
Brown returned to the lineup after missing four games with turf toe and made an impact. He had two catches for 28 yards and hauled in the touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter. Brown also drew a 20-yard pass interference penalty.
It has been a trying season for Brown, who has been battling various injuries. Fitzgerald joyfully carried him off the field following the score.
"'Smoke' needed that," Fitzgerald said. "We needed that."
Brown said he didn't do one of his patented touchdown celebrations because he was saving them.
"I thought I was going to score again," Brown said. "I told B.A. I was going to score again and then I was going to do it."
PATRICK PETERSON LEAVES GAME
Cornerback Patrick Peterson left the game after going down violently on a punt return in the fourth quarter. He was evaluated for a head injury but Peterson said postgame that he didn't actually hit his head on the play and was fine.
Justin Bethel took his place the rest of the way.
"I'm good," Peterson said.