GLENDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - The Arizona Cardinals, led by an undrafted rookie quarterback, upset the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints 30-20 on Sunday to move into top spot in the NFC West division.
Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees threw for 294 yards and a pair of touchdowns but also gave up three interceptions as Max Hall enjoyed victory in his first game as a starting quarterback for the Cardinals.
The game turned decisively in Arizona’s favor in the fourth quarter when Kerry Rhodes scooped up a fumble and ran home for a 27-yard touchdown to put the Cardinals up 23-13.
The Saints (3-2) kept their hopes alive when Brees, under pressure, threw a magnificent 50-yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem to pull within three points.
But Arizona sealed the victory when Brees’s ambitious throw to Lance Moore was picked off by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who weaved 28 yards for his team’s second defensive touchdown with 10 seconds remaining.
Hall, who played college football for Brigham Young University and had to compete for the third string quarterback role at Arizona, was picked ahead of the struggling Derek Anderson and responded with a decent debut.
Hall completed 17 of 27 passes for 168 yards, no touchdowns and one interception for the Cardinals (3-2).
Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue