Cardinals linebacker Pago Togafau can't corral Giants return man Dominek Hixon on Hixon's 83-yard kickoff return in Sunday's 37-29 New York win.
J.J. Arrington was back returning kickoffs for the Cardinals Sunday, and after averaging 29 yards a runback, showed why he deserves consideration to permanently take the job from Steve Breaston.
That turned out to be the lone bright spot of the Cards' special teams play in the 37-29 loss to the Giants.
Multiple breakdowns cost Arizona, a fact unable to be avoided afterward.
"We put our defense in a bad position," special teamer Ralph Brown said. "That hurt us a few times."
Holder Dirk Johnson dropped a snap on an extra point (and then overthrew emergency receiver, the 6-foot-8 Calais Campbell on a pass) that cost the Cards a point. Matt Ware was flagged three times for penalties, one of which gave Giants return man Domenik Hixon a second chance at a kickoff return that Hixon turned into an 83-yard play.
It was Hixon's 83- and 68-yard kickoff returns in the second quarter that boosted an offense in need of a boost at the time.
"A couple of times, I don't think I was touched until the last guy got me," Hixon said.
With four minutes left and the Cards down eight, the Cards seemingly had executed a successful onside kick – except Brown couldn't haul it in.
"It was a little short and I was waiting for it to come up past the 10-yard mark and when it hit the ground it came up on me quick," Brown said. "I saw a guy coming up on me on the right and as it hit my hands I kind of (glanced) away and it went off my hands."
RACKERS GOES FREE
The Cardinals invoked a rare rule at the end of the first half when, after Breaston made a fair catch on his own 42-yard line. In that circumstance, a team is allowed a field-goal attempt without a rush from the spot of the fair catch. With five seconds left, coach Ken Whisenhunt chose to kick instead of a Hail Mary attempt.
Kicker Neil Rackers, trying for extra power for the 68-yard attempt, hit a low squib instead, snapping his streak of 15 straight made field goals.
"How about that?" Whisenhunt said. "We looked like we were prepared for it, other than the kick.
"It was a little far. But with five seconds left (usually) you're supposed to try and get 60 yards throwing in the end zone, (so) I thought this was a good shot. Plus, this is something you don't see often."
The Bears' Mac Percival was the last to convert such a field goal, in 1968.
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner took a beating Sunday, which had been the Giants' plan – even without sacks, they wanted to hit Warner often.
"We had to do something," defensive end Justin Tuck said about the multitude of blitzes thrown at Warner.
Warner tried to downplay the situation, saying "I'll be OK, I'll be alright."
"One of their strengths is the pass rush and when we have to throw as much as we did today, it's going to happen," Warner said after dropping back 53 times (but only being sacked once). "I'll probably be sore for a couple of days, but I'm sure I will be great by Thursday."
The Cardinals play in Philadelphia Thursday night.
WILSON BANGED UP
The only injury the Cardinals reported was safety Adrian Wilson's shoulder. Whisenhunt said he thought Wilson had a sprain but would be reevaluated. Wilson deferred to Whisenhunt's comment. The Cardinals did not have linebacker Clark Haggans (foot) Sunday, and cornerback Rod Hood (ribs) only came in for a couple of plays.
The Giants, without leading rusher Brandon Jacobs (knee), rushed for only 87 yards, only the second time this season they had been held under 112 as a team. The Steelers limited New York to 83 yards. "We didn't put eight or nine people in the box. We got after them," defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "We did our job on that end." …
The Cards rushed for a season-low 23 yards and starter Tim Hightower had just 21 yards on 11 carries, but he did score two touchdowns, tying Ronald Moore's franchise rookie record of nine rushing scores in a season. …
With 351 yards passing, Warner had his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing game, tying Joe Montana and Kerry Collins for the second-longest streak in NFL history. The record is six, shared by Warner (in St. Louis), Rich Gannon and Steve Young. Warner also has a touchdown pass in 19 straight games, tying Neil Lomax for the longest streak in franchise history.
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 11/23/08.