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Cardinals 40, Colts 11

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was emotional as expected but after shedding some tears during pregame warm-ups and greeting opposing coach Chuck Pagano and several Indianapolis Colts players, Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals were all smiles in a 40-11 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium.

It was the fourth consecutive win for the Cardinals (7-4), who are now fully engaged in the playoff conversation for one of the two NFC wild-card positions.

Arians, who guided the Colts to a 9-3 record as interim head coach while Pagano was getting treatment for leukemia and won Coach of the Year honors in the process last season, might be in line for the award again with his new team.

The Cardinals' defense has been dominating lately and was again Sunday. Arizona limited quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts' offense to just 239 total yards. Luck passed for 163 yards and one touchdown, but he also was intercepted and linebacker Karlos Dansby returned the pick 22 yards for a touchdown.

Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer completed 26 of 37 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns, both of them to Larry Fitzgerald in the first half when the Cardinals built a 27-3 lead.

Halftime deficits haven't been anything new for the Colts. They've trailed badly in each of their past four games, getting outscored 94-12 in the first half of those four games in November.

On Sunday, it was overwhelmingly ugly early.

The Cardinals outgained them 274 yards to 58 through the first two quarters and all Indianapolis could muster was a 27-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

Fitzgerald sandwiched that with touchdowns, first capping a 10-play, 80-yard drive on the first possession of the game with a 4-yard scoring reception from Palmer and later hauling in a 26-yarder from Palmer to end a five-play, 80-yard drive 85 seconds into the second quarter.

The Cardinals scored points on four of their six drives in the first half and would have made it five of six if not for Colts defensive back Sergio Brown blocking Jay Feely's 28-yard field goal attempt.

Feely did make kicks from 48 and 50 yards.

Rashard Mendenhall (54 yards on 13 carries) padded the lead with his fifth rushing touchdown of the season, a 5-yard score in the third quarter for a 34-3 lead.

The Colts didn't find the end zone until five minutes into the fourth quarter, when Luck, under heavy duress, hung in the pocket and found tight end Coby Fleener for a 17-yard touchdown.

Feely added two more field goals, from 21 and 25 yards, to close out the scoring for the Cardinals.

Michael Floyd, who posted a career-high 193 yards receiving in last week's win over the Jaguars, led the Cardinals with seven receptions for 104 yards.

NOTES: With a 17-yard reception late in the first half, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald became the youngest receiver to reach 11,000 career receiving yards at 30 years, 85 days. The previous youngest to 11,000 was Randy Moss (30 years, 222 days). ... The Colts lost CB Vontae Davis to a groin injury in the second half. He did not return. ... The last time Feely had a field goal blocked was in 2003, when he was with the Falcons. ... Colts receiver LaVon Brazill suffered a back contusion in the fourth quarter and was forced to leave the game.

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