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Cardinals magic: Arizona rallies past Chiefs

The Arizona Cardinals are one step closer to the playoffs after a 17-14 win over Kansas City on Sunday in a game played with desperation on both sides. Here's what we learned:

  1. This win was like so many others for Arizona this season. We're not exactly sure how they got it done, but they did it. Two second-half turnovers by Kansas City in Cardinals territory were the difference, including a Travis Kelce catch that was overturned to a fumble after replay review. It was a surprising and questionable overturn that's sure to be a topic of conversation in Kansas City all week.
  1. We give the banged-up Cardinals' defense a ton of credit for pitching a second half shutout and enabling a 14-6 comeback. Alex Okafor had a massive interception and a sack of Alex Smith. Frostee Rucker was disruptive. With the game on the line, coordinator Todd Bowles called blitz after blitz, and the Chiefs couldn't respond. This defense has been a lot of fun, especially at home, despite a ton of injuries. (They lost Antonio Cromartieto an injury Sunday, too.)
  1. The Chiefs' season was nicely encapsulated in a last gasp chance to tie the game at the end of regulation. When they needed to go down the field, Kansas City couldn't protect Smith or even attempt to throw deep. Smith was hit eight times and sacked five more in the game. His ability to escape pressure and run saved the Chiefs plenty of times. Smith played well overall. 
  1. Jamaal Charles wound up with 111 yards and twoscores on only 12 touches, but he was not a factor in the second half after missing some action before halftime with an ankle injury. The Chiefs just don't have enough playmakers, even with Kelce looking dominant in a 110-yard performance.
  1. Arizona might have the most resourceful roster in the league. On the day that the Cardinals announced Andre Ellingtonis out for the season, guys like Kerwynn Williams and Robert Hughes were helping to run out the clock on a huge win. Williams reached 100 yards and looks like the team's primary back moving forward.
  1. This is the win that should get the Cardinals into the playoffs. Seattle could still win the NFC West, but a lot of bad things have to happen for Arizona to miss the playoffs. A road game in San Francisco in Week 17 doesn't look too challenging now.
  1. Kansas City, now 7-6, will likely have to run the table to make the playoffs. That's hard to imagine after this three-game losing streak.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from Week 14 and discusses the Seahawks' return to Super Bowl form. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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