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Saints pick up first win in Arizona since 2000 in ‘defense optional’ contest with Cardinals

Defense was optional in a Saints-Cardinals shootout in the desert.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints got their first road victory against the Arizona Cardinals sine 2000, as they won 48-41 in a wild one.

The Saints deferred the opening kickoff for the second straight week, and it proved to be meaningless as the Cardinals got into the end zone in just six plays after Kerwynn Williams took a toss 49 yards to put the Cardinals on the board.

The Saints offense would counter with a long drive that only ended in three points, as they marched 56 yards in 14 plays in a drive that took seven minutes. A pre-snap penalty by Senio Kelemete and a 3rd and 12 play call that was a draw were the downfalls of the drive.

However, Dennis Allen’s defense would force a turnover after Paul Kruger forced a fumble on Larry Fitzgerald that Craig Robertson would recover. The Saints would take advantage just a few plays later when Drew Brees found Travaris Cadet to put the black and gold up 10-7.

Just when you thought the Saints had found their groove on offense, Brees would be sacked by Markus Golden after he beat Zach Strief with ease, and Calais Campbell would take the scoop and score to put the Cardinals up 13-7. The ensuing extra point would be missed.

In typical fashion customary to the season, the Saints would answer quickly after Brees found Brandin Cooks for a 65-yard touchdown in just two plays. Fast forward to another Saints drive after they held the Cardinals, and Brees would hook up with Cooks again for another score, this time it was a 45-yard touchdown from a big run after the catch.

The defense would surrender a Carson Palmer touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson before the half to cut the Saints lead to 24-20. To only lead by four points after dominating the time of possession battle, total yards, going 5-for-7 on 3rd Down conversions, and winning the first down battle, it was a bit disappointing.

After receiving the second half kickoff, the Saints would turn in a quick 3-and-out to give the Cardinals the ball, but would hold on defense to force a punt. Payton’s squad would be swindled out of a touchdown pass to Willie Snead, as it was ruled incomplete on the field but clearly looked like a good catch. After a Wil Lutz field goal, the Cardinals would drive down the field to tie the game at 27 with 3:19 left in the third quarter.

The Saints would strike pay dirt again after the Cardinals would be guilty of an offsides call during a chip shot field goal attempt by Wil Lutz. Tim Hightower would cash in on a 4-yard touchdown rush against his former squad to put the Saints up 34-27. The Cardinals would respond with little resistance from the Saints to tie things up at 34 with less than 10 minutes to play.

Not to be forgotten, the Saints would get into 40-point territory after Brees hooked up with Michael Thomas for a 4-yard grab. Dennis Allen’s defense would get the ball back after a great play from Nick Fairley and Vonn Bell, who forced a fumble that Ken Crawley recovered. The Saints would go up 48-34 after Hightower picked up his second touchdown.

A late touchdown by the Cardinals would cut the lead to 48-41, but the onside kick would fail and the Saints would run out the clock. The black and gold improved to 6-8.