Re-live the top offensive plays of the year
Injuries at quarterback took their toll on the Cardinals in 2014, but they didn't prevent the offense from amassing a host of memorable plays throughout the season. Here are our choices for the five best ones, in descending order:
5. FLOYD DOWN THE SIDELINE
The situation: The Cardinals had a first-and-10 from the 49ers 41-yard-line, trailing 13-10 with 42 seconds remaining in the second quarter in Week 17. The drive started with less than one minute remaining in the half as the offense aimed to get points before intermission.
The play: Quarterback Ryan Lindley lofted a pass down the right sideline, hitting open receiver Michael Floyd at the 9-yard-line. Floyd raced toward the end zone and made it to the pylon before getting knocked out of bounds by San Francisco safety Craig Dahl.
The aftermath: It gave the Cardinals a 17-13 lead and put a cap on the best half of Lindley's career, but the 49ers rallied for the victory. The touchdown catch was Floyd's sixth and final one of the season, which led the team.
4. WATCH FITZ RUN
The situation: The Cardinals faced a third-and-10 from their 20-yard-line with 14:19 remaining in the third quarter of a tie game against the Eagles in Week 8. It was the first strike in an incredibly entertaining half of football between two of the NFL's better teams.
The play: Quarterback Carson Palmer threw a quick-strike slant to Fitzgerald, who caught the ball only four yards past the line of scrimmage but found a running lane and motored his way to the end zone. Wide receiver Ted Ginn gave the key block, and Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher took a poor tackling angle after the catch.
The aftermath: The touchdown gave the Cardinals a 14-7 lead, and while the Eagles rallied later in the half, the Cardinals would eventually win the game. Fitzgerald surely enjoyed the way this touchdown was scored, beating a pair of Eagles in a footrace to the end zone.
3. TIGHT WINDOW TOUCHDOWN
The situation: The Cardinals faced a first-and-10 from their 19, trailing the Broncos 24-13 with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter in Week 5. Rookie Logan Thomas was under center for his third series in place of an injured Drew Stanton, but had gone three-and-out in his first two opportunities.
The play: Running back Andre Ellington ran a wheel route in single coverage against Broncos linebacker Nate Irving. Thomas threw a laser to Ellington, who battled the sun to make the reception and then took off down the sideline for an 81-yard score.
The aftermath: The score pulled the Cardinals to within 24-20 late in the third quarter, but the Broncos pulled away in the fourth. It was Thomas' first career completion and first touchdown pass.
2. FROM COLD TO HOT
The situation: Backup quarterback Drew Stanton came off the bench to take over for an injured Carson Palmer with 9:45 remaining in the fourth quarter against the Rams in Week 10, with the Cardinals trailing 14-10. A pair of completions and a scramble pushed the offense past midfield, setting up a first-and-10 from the St. Louis 48.
The play: Fitzgerald ran an intermediate route which sucked in several defenders, and rookie wideout John Brown went over the top. Stanton stepped up in the pocket and threw the ball to the end zone, where an open Brown made a leaping catch for the game-deciding points.
The aftermath: Once the Cardinals had the lead, it forced the Rams to be more aggressive, and the defense took advantage by adding two touchdowns for a 31-14 win. The victory pushed the Cardinals to 8-1 on the year.
1. SMOKEY LEAVES A VAPOR TRAIL
The situation: The Cardinals faced a third-and-5 from their 25 with 1:33 remaining against the Eagles in Week 8, trailing 20-17. Philadelphia kicked a field goal on the previous possession to pull ahead.
The play: Palmer could have tried to simply move the chains, but found a defensive formation vulnerable to a deep threat and had Brown go vertical. A double-move got him behind the secondary, and Palmer lofted a great pass. Brown hauled it in and ran the rest of the way to the end zone for the exhilarating game-winning touchdown.
The aftermath:In one play, Brown showed off the speed and hands which had the coaching staff raving throughout the offseason. The Eagles had one final chance to win, but the defense forced three straight incompletions in the end zone as the final seconds ticked off.
Images of the top-5 plays by the Cardinals' offense in 2014