2003 Arizona Cardinals

QB Josh McCown Eludes Viking Defenders

Somewhere in the distance the clock on the scoreboard was ticking down the last seconds of the game.

One final, upside down drive brought the Cardinals to the 27 yard line of their opponents, the Minnesota Vikings. A recovered onside kick, a 28 yard pass interference call, a sack, and a fumble all culminated at this moment, the one last play that would decide the game.

As the final seconds of regulation waned away, Arizona took their last shot at the end zone.

From shotgun, second year QB Josh McCown took the snap and dropped back immediately, pressure from the Vikings’ defensive line coming on strong in the form of both defensive ends.

Dodging the hand of one end, McCown scrambled to the top of the pocket and then slid to the right, eyes fixed on the end zone. He directed a receiver with an extended hand, pointing out a destination for the pass and, just a moment later, launched the ball to the right side of the cluttered end zone.

In the midst of two Minnesota defenders, an airborne Nathan Poole brought down the pass and managed to plant a foot inside the end zone before falling out of bounds.

Sun Devil Stadium erupted in applause and celebration as the Arizona players on the field piled around the receiver who had just made the last-second grab.

The play was initially ruled a force out, giving Arizona a TD and the lead. The officials confirmed the call minutes later after the review, and Arizona won their fourth game of the season, 18-17.

The score handed the Vikings their seventh loss of the year and kept them from clinching their division and moving on to the 2003 NFL postseason. The win was just as improbable a victory for Arizona as missing the playoffs was a possibility for Minnesota, as the Vikings started the season with six straight wins.

A tenth win had eluded them however, and an unlikely hero was found in the 2003 Arizona Cardinals.

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