Phil Dawson bails out Cardinals in close win over Titans

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Thank goodness the Arizona Cardinals have place-kicker Phil Dawson.

Even with one miss, Dawson gave Arizona a 12-7 win against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium with four field goals as the Cardinals offense struggled to make anything happen while failing to protect quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who was sacked eight times.

What it means: The Cardinals keep their playoff hopes alive with the win (and a Seattle loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars) for at least another week. Had Arizona lost, regardless of what Seattle did, the Cardinals would have been eliminated from playoff contention, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Still, this one wasn’t pretty. Arizona didn’t score a touchdown, and its offense faltered when it was needed the most, but the Cardinals survived to live another week in the playoff picture.

What I liked: Chandler Jones continued to dominate. He had one sack, which gave him the NFL lead in sacks this season with 14, and three tackles for loss. Jones was a thorn in the side of the Titans’ offensive line all game, but especially in the first half, starting on the game’s opening play. He’s shown all season that he still can produce at a high level despite not having Markus Golden lining up opposite of him, drawing attention away from Jones.

What I didn’t like: The Cardinals offense was stagnant yet again. It was shut out in the first half, when it gained just 64 yards. Gabbert was sacked eight times, and he threw for 178 yards but didn’t throw for a touchdown. Arizona punted on its five possessions of the first half, then kicked field goals on four of its first five second-half drives after stalling inside the 30 all five times, including once at the Tennessee 5-yard line.

Fantasy fallout: Sorry if you started any Cardinals on your fantasy team this week, especially if your playoffs have started already. No one did enough of anything to earn enough points to make a dent in an outcome this week.

Fitz in third: With a 23-yard catch in the third quarter, Larry Fitzgerald passed Randy Moss for third on the NFL’s career receiving yards list.

What’s next: The Cardinals go on their last cross-country trip of the season when they play at the Washington Redskins on Sunday. They’re 1-4 in games played east of Arizona this season.