The Arizona Cardinals defeat the New Orleans Saints to break their home losing streak and win their first game at State Farm Stadium in over a year.
Hopkins' return, rookie talent and pick-sixes highlight this Week 7 matchup, but there's plenty to look at from October 20, 2022. So, let's get started.
Arizona welcomed the long-awaited return of Deandre Hopkins for Thursday Night's football game - marking a hopeful turning point for a Cardinals offense that has been electric at times, but not overly consistent as they struggled to find the endzone.
Hopkins hauled in 10 catches for 103 yards - more than the rest of the team combined. It's clear his connection with Kyler Murray is still there, who will be more than thankful that he has one of the league's most talented receivers back on the field.
Despite Hopkins shining in the passing game, Greg Dortch collected the only touchdown through the air, taking a 5-yard reception into the endzone.
Murray threw for 204 total yards, as Arizona's offensive line led a Cardinals run game that really took command in this matchup. Eno Benjamin logged 92 yards and a touchdown, while Keaontay Ingram scored the first touchdown of his career.
That @keaontay_ingram kid is elusive. 😯#NOvsAZ on Prime Video— NFL (@NFL) October 21, 2022
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Although the offense is looking much healthier with Hopkins back in the line-up, it was the defense that made the difference in the desert.
Andy Dalton's Rollercoaster Night
Kyler Murray and his offensive cohort deserve all the praise for putting up 42 points on the Saints defense, but the major story of this matchup, is New Orlean's quarterback Andy Dalton having a complete whirlwind of a night and the Cardinals defense coming up big in the first half.
Without Michael Thomas or Jarvis Landry, Dalton started off surprisingly solid, with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Rashid Shaheed - who grabbed his first NFL touchdown just last week.
Rashid Shaheed just might be that guy.— PFF NO Saints (@PFF_Saints) October 21, 2022
But Dalton threw three interceptions in the next four drives, including one in the endzone to bring a solid drive to disappointing end, while the other two were returned for touchdowns.
The scores were tied 14-14 with just 2 minutes left in the second quarter, and Andy Dalton threw two pick-sixes on back-to-back drives. So, instead of going into the half ahead, New Orleans were left trailing 28-14 and they could never quite recover.
Marco Wilson and Isaiah Simmons were the two Cardinals to cash in on the Saints mistakes. Although one pick may have been the fault of Marquez Callaway - who failed to secure quite an accurate pass - the other was wildly underthrown by Dalton, who was hit while releasing the ball.
Another Pick-6?! @isaiahsimmons25's turn.#NOvsAZ on Prime Video— NFL (@NFL) October 21, 2022
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Despite having a pretty good game for the most part - throwing for 361 yards and 4 touchdowns - and putting together some solid drives in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late after the first half mishaps.
This rollercoaster performance indicates to me that Dalton may still not be ready for a starting spot in the big league. He may be a step up from Jameis Winston, but I still stand by believing that Taysom Hill is the better choice in New Orleans right now, despite being a TE for the most part.
On his only target of the night, Hill secured a catch and run in the red zone and took it in for a touchdown. He also completed 2 passes for 48 yards and took 3 carries for 9 yards.
Taysom Hill showed exactly what he's capable of when he takes the snap, when he linked up with Chris Olave for - who led the Saints receivers with 106 yards on 7 catches.
Taysom Hill to Chris Olave 🙌#NOvsAZ on Prime Video— NFL (@NFL) October 21, 2022
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Honestly, 6 touches are nowhere near enough for Hill - I really struggle to understand why Dennis Allen doesn't use him more in the offensive scheme, when everything he touches turns to gold. Baffling...
We could talk about Dalton's mistakes and downfalls in his inconsistent performance last night, but there were some highlight moments for the Saints offense. This isn't much of a surprise when you realise that they had almost 500-yards of total offense.
Alvin Kamara was his usual talented self, with 101 yards rushing and receiving. Although he failed to find the endzone, the star running-back continues to lead the offense on the ground.
The air-raid game-plan worked well for New Orleans (minus the interceptions) as Chris Olave continues his campaign for Rookie of the Year. The first-year wide-out logged 106 yards on 7 receptions, and was followed by Kevin White, who clocked 64 yards this Dalton pass - his only catch of the night.
Kevin White stays inbounds on the 64-yard catch-and-run! @mrkevinwhite#NOvsAZ on Prime Video— NFL (@NFL) October 21, 2022
Also available on NFL+ https://t.co/aKjbRcE0ca pic.twitter.com/pfQqTic0kB
The Saints will be kicking themselves after this matchup in Arizona -with 494 yards of total offense, a loss is the last thing you expect to see on your record.
I hope for their sake they realise Taysom Hill deserves more than 6 touches of the ball, and maybe they'll start winning - like they did in week 5 when Hill led the offense and scored 4 touchdowns.
In any case, New Orlean's have a lot to work on - this is pretty shocking:
The @AZCardinals scored three touchdowns in the span of 1:44 🔥— NFL (@NFL) October 21, 2022
- @keaontay_ingram rushing TD
- @MJW_era Pick-6
- @isaiahsimmons25 Pick -6 pic.twitter.com/Qu5v2pOpAD