GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – A bizarre penalty made the ending of Arizona’s wild 34-31 victory over Cincinnati even crazier.
Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining for the winner after Cincinnati tied it with two late scores Sunday night.
The winning field goal was considerably closer than it would have been because Cincinnati’s Domata Peko was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for hollering out offensive signals to try to confuse the Cardinals (8-2) as they were about to spike the ball to set up the kick.
The penalty moved the ball from the 28 to the 14.
Carson Palmer overcame two early interceptions to throw four touchdown passes and, with 57 seconds left, completed three quick passes to move the team into field goal range after the Bengals rallied to tie it at 31.
“I just made two really stupid plays,” Palmer said. “Just kind of got the jitters out and we got rolling. We caught fire in the second half.”
Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes for the Bengals (8-2), both to Tyler Eifert. The second cut, a 10-yarder, cut it to 31-28 with 3:44 to play. Mike Nugent tied it at 31 with a 43-yard field goal 1:03 from the finish.
Palmer, who had said during the week that this one against his former team was “not just another game,” completed 20 of 31 passes for 317 yards and has 11 TD passes in his last three games — four against Cleveland, three against Seattle and four against Cincinnati.
Dalton bounced back from a shaky start to the second half to engineer the Bengals’ comeback. He finished 22 of 39 for 315 yards.
Arizona rookie speedster J.J. Nelson caught four passes for 142 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown reception.
Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard caught eight passes for 128 yards. Jeremy Hill had two short scoring runs for Cincinnati.
The Cardinals trailed 14-7 at the half, led 28-14 in the third quarter and 31-21 in the fourth before the Bengals rallied.
Arizona had the ball at its 16 with 58 seconds to go and Palmer quickly threw 19 yards to Nelson. He followed with passes of 18 and 20 yards to Larry Fitzgerald to move the ball to the Cincinnati 27.
“If there’s a guy you’re going to pick to throw to when it really counts, he’s the one,” Palmer said about Fitzgerald. “He just did a good job getting open.”
The Cardinals were trying to spike the ball because they were out of timeouts when the referees blew their whistles and announced the penalty against Peko.
While Dalton started the second half with six straight incompletions, Palmer moved Arizona to three third-quarter touchdowns on three possessions.
After the Bengals took the second-half kickoff and were forced to punt, Palmer threw deep to the speedy Nelson who caught it at about the 10 and scored, a 64-yard play that tied it at 14.
Cincinnati went three and out, and Arizona went 66 yards in eight plays, Palmer throwing 18 yards to John Brown for the score to give the Cardinals their first lead of the night, 21-14, with 5:32 left in the half.
Passes of 11 yards to Fitzgerald and 14 to Nelson set up Palmer’s 16-yard scoring pass to David Johnson and Arizona opened a 28-14 lead after three quarters.
Dalton had his heroics, too.
Cincinnati had it third-and-26 at the Arizona 38 when Dalton threw 22 yards to Marvin Jones. On fourth-and-4 from the 16, Dalton threw 10 yards to Mohammed Sanu, and Hill’s 1-yard run cut it to 28-21 with 11:26 still remaining.