It was as ugly as advertised, and it was more dramatic than necessary. But as they say: A win is a win.
The Arizona Cardinals rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the host Indianapolis Colts 16-13 in overtime Sunday to improve to 1-1 on the season. Here are three big takeaways from the victory.
1. Honey Badger comes through
When he's healthy -- which, unfortunately, isn't often -- Tyrann Mathieu is arguably the best safety in the NFL. Well, Mathieu is healthy right now, and he followed up an outstanding preseason by making the play of the game in overtime Sunday.
On the first play of OT, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett's pass was intercepted by the Honey Badger, setting up a game-winning field goal by Phil Dawson, who redeemed himself after he missed a potential game-winning kick at the end of the fourth quarter.
David Johnson. John Brown. Jermaine Gresham. The Cardinals were without all of these receivers due to injury Sunday.
Enter speedy third-year receiver J.J Nelson. The 5-foot-11, 161-pounder finished strong last season, and he came up big once again Sunday, recording 120 yards on five catches and a fourth-quarter touchdown that jump-started the Cardinals' rally. He nearly had a TD earlier in the game, as well, but he was ruled out of bounds after an instant-replay review.
Winning tends to cover up any number of problems, and the Cardinals have plenty of them to iron out before their Monday Night Football matchup vs. the Cowboys on Sept. 25.
The offensive line, which was missing two starters, got pushed around by the Colts defense most of the day. The Cardinals failed to get much pressure on Brissett until very late in the game. And Dawson, who was brought in to take the drama out of the kicking game, has missed two field goals in as many games.
All of these are concerns that won't go away just because the Cardinals squeaked out a win against a bad team. The Cards will be 1-2 if they have a similar showing next Monday against a Cowboys team that is much more talented than Indianapolis is.