Arizona defense lights up scoreboard in Cardinals’ win over New Orleans Saints

Marco Wilson and Isaiah Simmons scored touchdowns on two pick-sixes late in the first half and used that stunning change in momentum to lift the Arizona Cardinals over the New Orleans Saints 42-34 on Thursday night.

The Cardinals (3-4) snapped an eight-game home losing streak that was the franchise’s longest since 1958.

The game was tied at 14 when Saints quarterback Andy Dalton threw the game-changing interceptions on consecutive drives that were barely a minute apart. The first one wasn’t necessarily his fault, but the second one was.

The first came when Saints receiver Marquez Callaway bobbled a potential catch. Wilson was there to pluck it out of the air and then sprinted 38 yards to the end zone, diving over the goal line for a 20-14 lead.

The second happened when Dalton tried to throw over the middle. Simmons corralled the interception with one hand and then ran 56 yards down the right sideline for the score. The Cardinals crowd – which hadn’t seen a win since 24 October of last season against the Texans – roared its approval.

From there, the Cardinals had control. The Saints pulled within 28-17 early in the third, but Kyler Murray found Greg Dortch for a five-yard touchdown to push Arizona ahead 35-17.

Murray completed 20 of 29 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown.

New Orleans (2-5) have lost five of their last six games. Dalton threw for 361 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Saints led 7-3 late in the first quarter and looked as if they were going to score another touchdown, but Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton intercepted Dalton’s pass in the end zone.

New Orleans did push ahead 14-6 in the second on a three-yard touchdown pass to Taysom Hill. The touchdown was set up by a 64-yard catch and run by Kevin White, who barely stayed in-bounds as he ran down the left sideline to Arizona’s three-yard line. White was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad before the game.

Arizona rookie Keaontay Ingram ran for a two-yard touchdown late in the second quarter and Eno Benjamin converted on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14.

49ers reportedly acquire McCaffrey from Panthers
The San Francisco 49ers have acquired star running back Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday night on condition of anonymity because the trade has not been made official.

ESPN first reported the trade that brings McCaffrey back to the Bay Area where he starred in college at Stanford in a deal for draft picks.

McCaffrey joins a talented group of playmakers in San Francisco with versatile receiver Deebo Samuel, star tight end George Kittle and receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

But the Niners (3-3) were not as strong at running back with starter Elijah Mitchell out with a knee injury. McCaffrey provides coach Kyle Shanahan with one of the best as both a runner and receiver, adding another element to San Francisco’s offense.

McCaffrey has a $990,000 salary this year after Carolina reworked his contract, making him an easy fit under the salary cap. He is owed about $36m over the next three years, but none of that is guaranteed.

McCaffrey becomes the second skill position player to be traded this week by the Panthers (1-5) since coach Matt Rhule was fired on 10 October. Carolina sent wide receiver Robbie Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday for two future late-round draft picks.

The 26-year-old McCaffrey is considered one of the most versatile running backs in the league when healthy because of his ability as a runner, receiver and blocker.

He missed 23 games over the previous two seasons due to injuries, but has played in all six games this season and is fourth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (607) despite playing for the league’s 32nd-ranked offense. He and Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb are the only players in the league to have five games this year with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

McCaffrey has 7,272 yards from scrimmage – 3,980 rushing and 3,292 receiving – and has scored 50 touchdowns since coming into the league as the eighth overall draft pick in 2017.

McCaffrey’s best season came in 2019 when he had 1,387 yards rushing and 1,005 yards receiving, making only the third player in NFL history to eclipse 1,000 yards in both categories. He also had 19 touchdowns that season and was named All-Pro.

McCaffrey’s father, Ed, won a Super Bowl with the 49ers in the 1994 season and won two more titles in Denver with Shanahan’s father, Mike, as his head coach.