- Associated Press - Monday, September 15, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Getting off to poor starts caused the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants to miss the playoffs a year ago.

The Cardinals (2-0) are doing something about it this season. The Giants (0-2) aren’t.

Ted Ginn Jr. ran 71 yards on a punt return for a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown, backup quarterback Drew Stanton was solid starting for an injured Carson Palmer and the Cardinals’ defense forced three of New York’s four turnovers in a 25-14 win over the bumbling Giants on Sunday.

It marked the second straight game the Cardinals (2-0) have rallied in the final quarter, and this comeback gave them their ninth win in 11 games.

“I think it speaks a lot about the character of this football team and the leadership of the football team,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “You know we’ve had two very contested fourth quarters that I thought we handled extremely well, last week and this week. This one went a little bit easier, there, in the last three or four minutes, but because we made it go easy.”

The Cardinals got off to a 3-4 start last season and going 7-2 down the stretch wasn’t enough to make the postseason.

The Giants and Tom Coughlin are facing another long season. They started last season 0-6 and a 7-3 finish didn’t bring the playoffs into the picture. The last time New York started 0-2 in consecutive seasons was 1995-96.

“We made too many mistakes and too many missed opportunities,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “Turnovers hurt us. We had a couple of drops, a couple missed throws with guys open on third downs and some big plays. So, (it’s) not where it needs to be. We made improvements, but we’ve got to find ways to win games and make some plays in the clutch.”

The Giants rallied from a 10-0 first-half deficit and took a 14-7 lead in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Manning (26 of 39 passes for 277 yards and two interceptions) to Daniel Fells.

Playing for the first time in a regular-season game since 2010, Stanton (14 of 19 for 167) directed three long scoring drives. The last one got Arizona to 14-13 on a 37-yard field goal by Chandler Catanzaro, his second of four.

Ginn gave the Cardinals the lead on the next time they touched the ball. He fielded a low punt by Steve Weatherford, broke a tackle by Zack Bowman and outran the rest of the coverage team.

A fumble on the ensuing kickoff return and two more field goals finished off the Cardinals’ win.

Here are some we learned in the game:

CARSON PALMER: The 34-year-old veteran did not play because a nerve problem in his shoulder. He came in early Sunday and tried to throw but could not go.

“There’s no timetable,” he said. “It could be 48 hours, six days, 12 days. I landed on the nerve and shut the nerve down. You just have to wait and hope it wakes up.”

The Cardinals have a bye in two weeks so it’s possible they could rest Palmer and go with Stanton again next week against San Francisco.

GIANTS’ NEW OFFENSE: Week 2 under new coordinator Ben McAdoo was better. They gained 341 yards, had 24 first downs and had the ball for 32:29. Three turnovers by the O were the difference in the game, including a fumble by halfback Rashad Jennings at the Cardinals 15 with less than 5 minutes to play and New York down 22-14.

STANTON MORE THAN READY: Stanton didn’t find out he was starting until less than two hours before kickoff. He was ready after getting most of the snaps in practice this week. He guided Arizona to a touchdown (Jonathan Dwyer’s 1-yard run) and a field goal on his first two series.

“I have no idea what my numbers are,” Stanton said. “I know the most important number that I had was zero turnovers. When you do that, you’re going to put yourself in a position to win football games.”

CRUZ BOOS: Receiver Victor Cruz has been a favorite of Giants fans. He dropped two fourth-quarter passes, including one on third down that preceded Ginn’s go-ahead return, and heard a few “boos” instead of “Cruzzz.” Losing makes fans fickle.

INJURIES: The Cardinals didn’t mention any injuries after the game. Linebacker Jon Beason (toe) and nickel cornerback Walter Thurmond (pectoral) had to leave the game for New York.

NOTES: Ginn’s return for a touchdown was the first by the Cardinals since Peterson’s 80-yarder in 2011. … The Giants outgained the Cardinals 341-266. … Ellington had 91 yards on 15 carries and Larry Fitzgerald caught six passes for 51 yards. …Tight end Larry Donnell led New York with seven catches for 81 yards.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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