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Isaiah Simmons, Marco Wilson Have Pick Party Against Saints

Two defensive touchdowns turn around game for Cardinals

Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson soars into the end zone for a touchdown during Thursday night's game against the Saints.
Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson soars into the end zone for a touchdown during Thursday night's game against the Saints.

Fresh out of the shower, Isaiah Simmons stood before his locker, preparing to field questions.

Before anything was asked, the Cardinals linebacker made a statement: That's for everyone who didn't think I could catch.

It wasn't anyone in the vicinity. Simmons said it was his friends from home and teammates from Clemson University as the people who would give him grief about that.

He'll have impressive video proof of it now, though, when Simmons made an impressive one-handed interception during the Cardinals' 42-34 win over the Saints Thursday night at State Farm Stadium, racing 56 yards with his track speed for a touchdown.

It was one of two pick-6s for the Cardinals, who also got one from cornerback Marco Wilson.

It was Wilson's first career NFL interception. And for the first time since 2015, the Cardinals had two interception return touchdowns in a single game. The defense -- which wasn't perfect, allowing nearly 500 yards -- also got Antonio Hamilton's interception in the end zone to end a long Saints' drive with no points.

But it was the touchdowns from Simmons and Wilson, two of the young players on Vance Joseph's defense, that were highlight-worthy.

Simmons credited star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for his ability to make the tough catch.

"I had a lot of receiver offers (in high school)," Simmons said, "If you can't catch, you're not going to get receiver offers.

"I've been hanging with Hop. I think it rubbed off on me a little bit."

The play happened after Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway had a pass bounce off his hands and into the grasp of Wilson, who returned it 38 yards a touchdown. Wilson, running alone, decided to leap and dive as he crossed the goal-line, creating a viral moment as the Amazon Prime cameras captured it.

Like Simmons, Wilson has heard jokes about his ability to catch. But it's something Wilson admitted with a laugh.

"I wouldn't say I have the best hands," Wilson said. "But every day after practice, I work on my hands."

The plays switched the momentum of the game. After Hamilton intercepted Dalton at the goal line, followed by Wilson and Simmons, the Saints' chances of winning the game dropped from 68 percent to 2 percent, according to Next Gen Stats.

"We really needed it." coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "The defense did a great job there with Ham making a great play in the end zone to keep them out. And the back-to-back plays turned it in our favor. We were able to play with a lead for the first time all season."

Despite the impressive takeaways contributing to the victory, Simmons wasn't satisfied. The defense did give up 361 passing yards, 30 points, and four touchdowns.

There were missed tackles and moments of miscommunication that hurt them. Overall, Simmons believes the defense is heading in the right direction. The interceptions are just another sign of it.

"We're just starting to get in our groove," Simmons said. "We're working towards the defense we want to be. we're not there yet. We have a lot to be happy about, but we still have ways to go."