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Kicking Miscues Haunt Cardinals Against Dolphins

Extra-point struggles, missed field goal played big role in game's outcome


Cardinals punter Drew Butler (left) and kicker Chandler Catanzaro watch as an extra-point attempt is blocked.

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida – The weather was dreadful and a couple of the snaps were high.

Chandler Catanzaro didn't want to hear it.

The Cardinals kicker missed a pair of extra points – one of which was blocked and returned for two points by the Dolphins – and a field goal in the 26-23 loss, and he knew full well what it meant to leave those points on the board.

Despite all the craziness going on during the game, if the 41-yarder slipped through the right upright instead of clanking off it, or if the second extra point wasn't blocked and returned, maybe the Cardinals escape with their playoff hopes alive.

Instead, the latest round of special teams miscues played a role in the loss.

"Any time you miss, it's tough," Catanzaro said. "I can stand here and say I've done my best this year, and it hasn't been good enough. … I apologize to my teammates who worked so hard today, and to the organization. They deserve better."

The Cardinals were within six points with 7:05 left when Catanzaro lined up for his second extra point attempt. The snap was high and the Dolphins blocked it, and safety Walt Aikens picked it up and took it to the house, increasing the deficit to eight points.

"I just hit it and heard the double-thump, which is never good as a kicker," Catanzaro said.

The Cardinals scored again on their next possession but could only tie the game instead of taking the lead.

"The poor snap on the extra point, two points, and the ball hits the upright, that's five points," coach Bruce Arians said. "In this game, that's the winner. They're always winners on the road."

One special teams bright spot was punter Drew Butler. The Cardinals signed Matt Wile to the practice squad on Tuesday to look at a potential replacement, but Butler got the nod against Miami and finished with five punts for 236 yards, an average of 47.2 yards per punt.

Butler boomed a 62-yarder from his own end zone and also did a nice job getting the holds down on two high extra-point snaps.

"I've never second-guessed my talent," Butler said. "I'll leave that up for y'all (the media) to do. My mind's bulletproof. I know exactly what I'm capable of. I believe in my talents, and I'll continue to, regardless, week in and week out.

"I was happy with how I hit the ball today. It was tough (with the conditions). One slipped off the side of my foot. I thought Matt (Darr) did a pretty good job for the Dolphins as well. Just no room for error really. I could have done better, for sure."

Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks made all three of his extra-point attempts and hit the game-winning 21-yard field goal as time expired. That didn't come without its share of drama, though.

The Dolphins ran a play with 11 seconds remaining and it took so long that they didn't get a timeout called until there was one tick left on the clock. Franks ended the drama by booting his kick through.

"I thought it was very questionable whether a second was on that clock," Arians said. "Thank God home teams do not run the clock, the NFL does, or you'd really have a (expletive) storm."

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