Carson Palmer pointed to the sky and said thanks.
It was a celebration of sorts, one to commemorate his best game as an Arizona Cardinal. But he wasn’t marking a game-winning touchdown or Michael Floyd's 91-yard pass. Palmer was basking in the afterglow of a timeout.
It was as weird of a play as it sounds.
About a split second before Palmer threw what would have been his 16th interception of the season, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians called a timeout. He saw what Palmer saw and didn’t like it either. It’s an either/or situation. Either the wrong group of players ran on the field for the play that was called, or the wrong play was called for the group already on the field.
Either way, Arians asked for time as close to the snap as possible. Before the actual timeout was given, Palmer dropped back and threw the pick. But it didn’t count and Palmer was able to keep his best game as a Cardinal interception free.
“I knew we had the wrong personnel in the field,” Palmer said. “I knew it was (a) bad play from the get-go. But I’ve been told to run what’s called, and (Arians) realized we ran the wrong group on the field and did a great job of saving my butt.”
The Cardinals’ 27-14 win against the Jaguars on Sunday was the first game this season Palmer did not throw an interception. It was fitting, considering he threw for a season-high 419 yards and two touchdowns on 30-for-42 passing with a 119 passer rating.
Palmer’s performance was the product of an offense that has finally come together. An improved offensive line has led to an improved running game, which has improved the pass attack. And this was the result.
“We did a good job up front and had some nice time in the pocket,” Palmer said. “I had a really clean pocket for the most part, stepped into a lot of throws. I thought we executed very well in the second half, and guys made some big plays. It was a must-win, and we got the job done.”
Palmer hit nine different receivers in the first quarter for 101 yards and kept rolling from there. He had 108 in the second and 176 in the third, which featured Floyd’s 91-yard pass, a career high for Palmer. Palmer's third quarter Sunday was the third-highest quarter of his career. To finish it off, Palmer had just 34 in the fourth.
“I thought Carson had the best look on his face all week in practice and in this ballgame about what we were trying to get done and what they were doing to us,” Arians said.