Arians’ Cardinals easily best Pagano’s Colts

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GLENDALE, AZ – A season ago, it was under Bruce Arians that the Colts engineered some remarkable second half rallies en route to an 11-5 season.

Eight times in 2012 the Colts came back in the fourth quarter and is a reason that Arians is now the full-time head coach of the Cardinals.

Perhaps that’s how he knew to attack the Colts when he faced them for the first time.

Arians’ Cardinals raced out to a 27-3 halftime lead en route to an easy 40-11 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Glendale. The loss drops the Colts to 7-4 on the season and they will try to rebound at home against the Titans next Sunday at 1 P.M.

The Colts finished with just 269 yards of total offense and didn’t reach the endzone till the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. Under pressure all day, Andrew Luck was 20-of-39 for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Carson Palmer led a strong Arizona passing attack by throwing for 314 yards and two touchdowns.

Questions leading up to that contest won’t change from the previous weeks for the Colts, who once again struggled at the start against the Cardinals. A rejuvenated Palmer began the game with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that concluded with a jump ball touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald from four yards out to make it 7-0.

The Colts appeared ready to reverse the start when they blocked a Jay Feely field goal then got three points on a kick by Adam Vinatieri later in the first quarter. Instead, it was just a bump in the road for Arizona who put the game out of reach in the final 15 minutes of the half.

Fitzgerald caught another touchdown pass from Palmer early in the second quarter from 26-yards and Feely added a 48-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 8:19 to go in the half. A heavily-pressured Luck had trouble generating a comeback and under pressure he threw and ill advised interception to Karlos Dansby. The linebacker had nothing but open space for 22-yards in route to a touchdown that opened the lead up to 21 points.

Feely added a 50-yard field goal before the end of the half to conclude yet another nightmare first half for the Colts who trailed 27-3 after the break.

Any hope of a second half comeback was squashed early in the third quarter when the Colts turned the ball over on downs at the Arizona 36 yard line and the Cardinals responded with another touchdown. Rashard Mendenhall ended a 64-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run to make it 34-3.

Luck finally reached the endzone in the fourth quarter when he hit Coby Fleener for a 17-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 23 after a two-point conversion toss to Darrius Heyward-Bey.