Saints vs. Cardinals score, takeaways: Arizona picks off New Orleans to snap home losing skid

The Arizona Cardinals defeated the New Orleans Saints 42-34 in a "Thursday Night Football" game that actually had some offense, which is a nice change of pace this season. The Cardinals moved to 3-4 and snapped an eight-game home losing streak, while the Saints dropped to 2-5.

The matchup was even for most of the first half, with a tie game with less than three minutes left in the second quarter. Then the scale drastically leaned toward the Cardinals, who scored three touchdowns in that time.

The visiting defense shook quarterback Andy Dalton and his offense with back-back interception returns that followed an offensive touchdown from Arizona.

Going into the half with 22 unanswered points and a 28-14 lead was more than a solid start for the Cardinals to build on in the second half.

The Saints came out of the half and scored a field goal and a score was definitely crucial there, but they needed to be putting up seven points opposed to three in order to catch up.

To make matters worse for the Saints, the Cardinals scored another touchdown in the third quarter, going up 35-17 with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to Greg Dortch.

The Saints made it a game in the fourth with a 17-yard touchdown from Juwan Johnson. 

It was a touchdown party tonight and the Cardinals put up another halfway through the fourth quarter thanks to the five-yard rush from Eno Benjamin.

If you think that's where the touchdowns ended, think again. This high-scoring game saw another one from the Saints, making it a 42-31 game thanks to a pass from Dalton to Juwan Johnson.

A Saints field goal with less than a minute to go made it an eight-point game and was followed by a an unsuccessful onside kick try that sealed the win for Arizona.

Why the Cardinals won

To put it simply, they were the better team. They were more complete on all sides of the ball and picked out the opposing team's weaknesses and capitalized on them.

The Cardinals offense had a new-found spark with DeAndre Hopkins returning from his suspension. Hopkins finished the night with 10 receptions for 103 yards.

The defense deserves a lot of credit for the win, intercepting Andy Dalton three times. All players got involved, with Antonio Hamilton, Isaiah Simmons and Marco Williams all having interceptions. 

Why the Saints lost

Two interceptions for returns is never going to set you up for a win and the offense just could not recover from the Cardinals explosive end of the second quarter, where they scored three touchdowns.

The Saints offense lacks consistency and while things were not all bad, they needed to establish a steady rhythm and were unable to do so.

With Jameis Winston out, Andy Dalton took the reigns and when he was good he was good, throwing for 4 touchdowns and 361 yards yards, but when he was bad he was handing the other team touchdowns. 

Turning point

The first pick six of the first half really made a statement, while also shifting the momentum toward the Cardinals. The 38-yard interception return from Marco Wilson gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game, a lead they would keep for the rest of the game.

Play of the game

Since I already mentioned one pick six as the turning point, it seems only fair to give the second pick six some attention as well. 

With less than a minute left in the half, Isaiah Simmons intercepted Andy Dalton, marking the quarterback's third pick of the half. Simmons ran it to the house for 56 yards, extending the lead to make it 28-14.

What's next

The Saints will host the Las Vegas Raiders, who currently stand at 1-4 and are coming off a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, on Oct. 30.

The Cardinals will head to Minnesota to face the Vikings in Week 8. The Vikings are quietly off to a great start to their season and are in first place in their division as it stands heading into the weekend. 

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Have a night Juwan Johnson! His second touchdown of the night. 


That Benjamin touchdown should slam the door on whatever chances there were at a Saints comeback. 


The Cardinals are doing their best to allow the Saints to hang around ... 


Also, if you had any one of these players -- or the Cardinals D/ST -- starting for you in fantasy this week, you're a wizard! 


New Orleans needed a quick score and they got it. Juwan Johnson makes a move and turns up the sideline for the 17-yard touchdown. 


Kyler Murray had a noticeable limp coming off the field after that sack on third down. Something to watch for the next series. 


Way too much of a cushion that Saints defensive back was giving Dortch. Murray could see it a the line of scrimmage and threw a dart right at the snap off a two-step drop. Easy money with that kind of look. 


Ingram has a knee down so this touchdown will come back. 


How are Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill both not on the field on second and third down when you have the ball at the Arizona 7? Those two are New Orleans' best players in that area of the field. Inexcusable. 


The Saints desperately needed that three-and-out to begin the second half. Murray went to Hopkins on every play on that drive and there seemed to be some miscommunication on that final target. 


Will we see Jameis to begin the second half? 


The biggest difference in this game? Turnovers. Arizona just ran an interception back for a touchdown after a Dalton pass was tipped. For what it's worth, both interceptions were passes intended for Marquez Callaway. 


Not exactly sure what happened here, but Kyler Murray seemed to get in a heated exchanged with Kliff Kingsbury. 


13-play, 75-yard drive results in a touchdown for Arizona. Benjamin converts the two-point conversion, so we're tied at 14 apiece. A defensive holding penalty on a third-and-10 play earlier in the drive was the killer for New Orleans. Gave the Cardinals an automatic first down and kept the eventual scoring drive alive. 


Taysom Hill with another touchdown on the season. And Alvin Kamara fantasy owners continue to be cursed. 


The call stands and it's a 64-yard catch and run by Kevin White. White was a former first-round pick -- No. 7 overall -- by the Chicago Bears. He's been a bust compared to that draft status but showed some burst on that play. 


That looks like White is in bounds. 


Cardinals can't fully capitalize off the interception but did get a field goal to cut the lead to a point. Entering Week 7, Arizona has found the end zone on just 50% of their red zone trips this season. While that's not the worst in the league, it shouldn't be a coin flip with the weapons that they have. 

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