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Chris Johnson turned this play which seemed dead into a 62-yard run

The Cardinals beat the Ravens to go 5-2 overnight.

CARSON PALMER THREW two touchdown passes as the Arizona Cardinals strengthened their control of the NFC West with a 26-18 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

The Cardinals put their offensive firepower on display as they improved to 5-2 by building a four-point half-time lead, then secured the victory with their NFL-leading 12th interception in the final seconds.

“We executed extremely well,” said coach Bruce Arians, whose team entered the contest leading the league in scoring. “We played to the final whistle. We needed to be in one of these kinds of games and win it.”

Palmer completed 20-of-29 passes for 275 yards and running back Chris Johnson chewed through the Ravens’ defence for 122 yards and a touchdown at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

One play, towards the end of the third quarter, saw Johnson add nearly 60 yards after the tackle thanks to a moment of inspiration. With a Ravens defender lodged underneath him, the referees ruled that Johnson was neither down by contact nor had his forward progress been stopped and deemed that the play was still alive.


The quick-thinking Johnson broke free and ran the ball back inside the Ravens’ 10, although the series only resulted in a field goal.

Palmer, who had no interceptions, has a history of doing well against the Ravens. As a member of the Cincinnati Bengals he went 9-4 against them.

First-place Arizona head to Cleveland next week before getting to rest up for their bye in week nine of the regular season.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was 26-of-40 for 252 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was also sacked three times.

“This is just where we are. We didn’t play well enough to win a football game,” said Flacco, playing in his 119th straight game.

Baltimore (1-6) lost a third game in a row, but once again had a chance to make something happen at the end.

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Down by eight points with 13 seconds to go, Flacco looked for tight end Crockett Gillmore in the end zone but Cardinals defensive back Tony Jefferson intercepted the pass.

In three of their four losses coming into Monday’s game, Baltimore held a lead in the fourth quarter. They also had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final two minutes in each of their first six games.

The Ravens had scored first, utilizing a missed 55-yard field-goal attempt by Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro and moving 29 yards on eight plays to put Justin Tucker in position to boot a 44-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Arizona’s offense needed only three plays to grab the lead. Palmer hit tight end Jermaine Gresham for a 21-yard gain. He found Michael Floyd deep down the right sideline for a 33-yard gain and then Johnson broke free from tacklers for a 26-yard touchdown.

(C) AFP 2015; additional reporting by Niall Kelly

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