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Chicago at Arizona

Cards' D combines with offense for third straight victory

SportsLine.com wire reports

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Emmitt Smith and Jeff Blake provided glimpses of why Arizona invested big money to acquire them in free agency. Their backups weren't bad, either.

Josh McCown hit Bryant Johnson with a 25-yard pass, setting up Damien Anderson's 3-yard scoring run with 9:51 remaining, as the Cardinals defeated the Chicago Bears 27-17 Friday night to stay unbeaten in exhibition play.

Emmitt Smith rushes for a modest 11 yards, including a 4-yard TD dash. 
Emmitt Smith rushes for a modest 11 yards, including a 4-yard TD dash.(AP) 
The Cardinals have won their first three exhibition games for the first time since 1995 and could complete their first 4-0 preseason in 12 years by beating Minnesota at the Metrodome on Thursday.

"Guys stepped in and did a great job," said Blake, signed to replace Jake Plummer. "This team has depth, more than it has ever had in the past."

Smith scored on a 4-yard run and Blake passed 12 yards to Freddie Jones for another touchdown.

But it was defense -- from a unit that ranked 29th last year -- that punctuated the victory. The Cardinals sacked Kordell Stewart three times, intercepted him once and picked off Rex Grossman twice.

The first off Grossman -- by Robert Cromartie -- set up Anderson's touchdown. Then Justin Lucas, who scored on an interception return in a win over San Diego last week, picked off Grossman in the end zone with 3:52 to go.

"We just wanted to come out and start fast, make the plays, and we did," defensive end Calvin Pace said. "We got the turnovers to help the offense out."

Travis Prentice bolted 53 yards the play after Lucas' interception, leading to Bill Gramatica's 50-yard field goal with 2:34 left that cemented the victory.

Stewart and Chris Chandler threw TD passes for the Bears, who battled back from a 17-3 deficit to tie it.

Stewart, who was 13-of-18 for 139 yards, threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Clark with 8 seconds left in the second quarter, and Chandler hit Edell Shepherd with a 29-yard strike with 1:01 left in the third.

"This is the first time that we had an opportunity to run three or more series," Stewart said. "And I know you guys are going to talk about what we didn't do, be we are going to talk about what we did do, which was move the ball at the end of the half and put us back in the game."

Blake directed the first drive of the third quarter, then gave way to McCown. Blake finished the game 12-for-21 for 104 yards, one TD and one interception.

Smith, who rushed once for no gain in Arizona's first game and sat out the second, had three carries for 11 yards this time and was in for 12 plays.

He had all his carries during Arizona's first series and capped the drive with a 4-yard run - the first TD by the first-string offense this year. It called up memories of the moves that made him the NFL's career rushing leader.

Smith hesitated in the backfield, angled right, put on a burst of speed to get past diving linebacker Brian Urlacher and split two other tacklers to reach the end zone just 3:49 into the game.

"I spent 13 years defending against those kinds of runs," Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis said. "It makes you so mad as a defensive coach, because you think you have it stopped."

Blake had good field position to work with as the defense, last in the NFL in sacks the last two years, set up the first three scores and rattled Stewart with a ferocious rush.

The offense's first drive was 36 yards, thanks to Raynoch Thompson and Wendell Bryant, who each sacked Stewart once on Chicago's first possession.

Tim Duncan made it 10-3 with a 43-yard field goal with 9 seconds left in the first quarter after Coby Rhinehart's interception and 17-yard return, and the Cardinals went up 17-3 just 51 seconds later after getting the ball back on the Chicago 12.

The two-play surge, capped by Blake's 12-yarder to Jones, began after Pace, a first-round draft pick, hurried Stewart's shovel pass to Adrian Peterson, then forced Peterson to fumble.

Kenny King, another rookie defensive end, recovered.

The Cardinals defense, hit by knee sprains to cornerback Duane Starks and tackle Marcus Bell, softened in the second quarter when Stewart completed six of seven passes in a sustained march completed by Clark's grab.

"It was good to see Kordell executing the two-minute offense," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. "He can play better, but he also made some big plays."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Scoring Summary
TDEmmitt Smith, 4 Yd run (Tim Duncan kick is good), 11:11. Drive: 6 plays, 36 yards in 2:41.
FGPaul Edinger 51 Yd, 8:11. Drive: 6 plays, 30 yards in 3:00.
FGTim Duncan 43 Yd, 0:09. Drive: 4 plays, 2 yards in 1:41.
TDFreddie Jones, 12 Yd pass from Jeff Blake (Tim Duncan kick is good), 14:18. Drive: 2 plays, 12 yards in 0:42.
TDDesmond Clark, 20 Yd pass from Kordell Stewart (Paul Edinger kick is good), 0:08. Drive: 10 plays, 90 yards in 2:45.
TDEdell Shepherd, 29 Yd pass from Chris Chandler (Paul Edinger kick is good), 1:01. Drive: 8 plays, 91 yards in 4:01.
TDDamien Anderson, 3 Yd run (Bill Gramatica kick is good), 9:51. Drive: 4 plays, 35 yards in 1:59.
FGBill Gramatica 50 Yd, 2:34. Drive: 5 plays, 48 yards in 1:18.
K. Stewart13/1813911
C. Chandler6/78310
R. Grossman5/115102
B. Forsey846029
R. Grossman116016
K. Stewart215016
A. Thomas31209
R. Abdullah2505
A. Peterson5303
M. Hicks1000
D. Clark339120
E. Shepherd236129
A. Merritt234026
D. White232020
D. Terrell227016
J. Gage32409
M. Booker221013
B. Wade118018
S. Pritchett214010
J. Gilmore112012
M. Hicks1909
A. Peterson2607
D. Shelton1101
J. Blake12/2110411
J. McCown3/53800
T. Prentice681053
M. Shipp836015
J. McCown318012
J. Scobey61506
E. Smith31114
D. Anderson3813
J. Blake1-10-1
A. Boldin330012
B. Gilmore330015
B. Johnson125025
L. Foster220014
F. Jones112112
M. Banks1909
J. Hodgins1909
K. Kasper1909
D. Anderson1404
E. Smith1-60-6
Complete Player Stats