The Arizona Cardinals are used to quarterback Carson Palmer delivering in the clutch.
Seeing their quarterback rely on his legs, however, was an unnerving experience for Palmer's teammates, even after the veteran signal-caller ran 8 yards for the tiebreaking touchdown in Sunday's 19-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
“I didn’t think he was ever going to get there,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after watching Palmer take off from the right hash mark at the 15-yard line and lumber across the field before diving into the left corner of the end zone.
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It was the first rushing touchdown since October 2012 for Palmer, who tumbled to the ground again following a celebratory spike that also got the attention of his teammates.
“I was kind of nervous,” Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “We thought he hurt himself.”
“I didn’t see him try to spike it,” added safety Rashad Johnson. “I just saw that it took him about 45 seconds to run those (eight) yards. He was stretched out all the way. I don’t think I’ve seen anything that funny in a while.”
Sunday's game marked the first time that Palmer failed to throw a touchdown pass this season, yet he set up his winning touchdown run with a 34-yard pass to rookie J.J. Nelson to San Francisco's 1-yard line.
“It was hard sledding,” Arians said after his team won in San Francisco for the first time since 2008. “It was not sexy whatsoever.”