October 27, 2015 / 4:48 AM / 2 years ago

Cardinals maintain NFC West lead with win against Ravens

(The Sports Xchange) - The Arizona Cardinals might be on the verge of solving their losing ways on “Monday Night Football.” The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, still have their issues.

Oct 26, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) celebrates with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) after scoring a 4 yard touchdown during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals got two touchdown passes from quarterback Carson Palmer and a 122-yard rushing effort and a touchdown from Chris Johnson to down the Ravens 26-18 Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Entering the game, Arizona were 2-8 in their previous 10 Monday night appearances.

The Cardinals (5-2) maintain their control in the NFC West. They head to Cleveland next week before getting to rest up for their bye in Week 9.

Baltimore (1-6) lost their third consecutive game, but once again had a chance to make something happen at the end, even though it was outgained by the Cardinals by a two-to-one margin.

A blocked punt and recovery set up a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to fullback Kyle Juszczyk with 4:26 left to play, and a successful two-point conversion cut Arizona’s lead to eight points.

After forcing the Cardinals to punt again, the Ravens got the ball back at their own 24-yard line with 1:53 remaining.

A 31-yard pass deep down the sideline to wide receiver Kamar Aiken put Baltimore at the Cardinals’ 27-yard line. A 23-yard completion over the middle to tight end Crockett Gillmore moved the Ravens to the 4.

With 13 seconds to go, Flacco looked for Gillmore again -- this time in the end zone -- but Cardinals defensive back Tony Jefferson intercepted the pass -- Arizona’s league-leading 12th pick of the season.

Flacco was 26 of 40 for 252 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Palmer was 20 of 29 for 275 yards with no interceptions.

In three of their four losses coming into Monday’s game, the Ravens held a lead in the fourth quarter. They also had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final two minutes in each of their first six games.

The Cardinals built a 14-10 lead at halftime, catching a break when special teams ace Justin Bethel forced and recovered a fumble on a punt by Ravens returner Jeremy Ross.

The turnover gave Arizona the ball at the Baltimore 12-yard line, and four plays and two defensive pass-interference penalties later, Palmer drilled a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Floyd for the go-ahead score with 1:01 remaining until intermission.

The Ravens had scored first, utilizing a missed 55-yard field-goal attempt by Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro and moving 29 yards on eight plays to put Justin Tucker in position to kick a 44-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

The Cardinals’ high-powered offense, which entered the game leading the NFL in scoring, needed only three plays to claim the lead.

First, Palmer hit tight end Jermaine Gresham for a 21-yard gain. Then he found Floyd deep down the right sideline for a 33-yard pickup. Johnson took it from there, running to his right before changing gears and running left and breaking free for a 26-yard touchdown scamper.

Baltimore answered with an eight-play, 84-yard drive capped by a 14-yard scoring run by running back Justin Forsett, who wasn’t touched on the play. That gave the Ravens a 10-7 lead before the Ross fumble.

Editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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