Dwight Freeney, who joined the Arizona Cardinals a month into the season, made a game-clinching play on Thursday night as the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth with a 23-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
Freeney made the clutch play (Watch Video Above) when he stripped the ball from Teddy Bridgewater with 5 seconds remaining, depriving Minnesota a chance at a game-tying field goal that time. “It was a great play by him. That’s why he’s going to the Hall of Fame,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after the game.
Just as Bridgewater was getting ready to set up Blair Walsh for a field goal, after moving Vikings to the Arizona 31-yard line, Freeny hit the quarterback’s arm as the loose ball was recovered by Calais Campbell. Bridgewater finished with 335 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals, who won their seventh game in a row.
“That’s why I came back, because moments like this, you can’t duplicate those in life,” an elated Freeney said after the victory. “To be able to have this type of dream situation, fourth quarter, game on the line, it’s kind of like ninth inning, two outs….one of (those) situations for a defensive lineman, and I was able to make a play,” added Freeney, who came back to the NFL this year after being cut by the San Diego Chargers at the end of the last season.
With 1:23 to go in the game, Chandler Catanzaro completed a 47-yard field goal to give Cardinals the game-winning lead.
With a 11-2 record, the Cardinals have comfortably won the NFC West. The 8-5 Vikings are still battling Green Bay Packers (8-4) and Chicago Bears (5-7) for the NFC North.