From the Armchair: Arizona Cardinals, Week 5
Quarterback Palmer showed some improvement this week by completing 19 passes out of 28 attempts, which is roughly 2/3 for a total of 175 yards and a touchdown. However his 3 picks brought his passer rating down to a measly 57.0, which surprisingly was still enough to win the game. Unlike previous matches, Palmer’s weak performance was based on his own poor decisions, rather than issues with protection from the offensive line. Rookie running back Andre Ellington ran for an average of 7.4 YPC, combined with former Steeler Rashard Mendenhall, the duo put out exactly 100 rushing yards. Wide receiver Michael Floyd had 5 key receptions to assist the Cardinals during their drives, however Larry Fitzgerald was seldom used by only having 3 receptions, though they were all vital in gaining 1st downs. Jay Feely kicked 2 critical 50 yard field goals to give the Cardinals a much needed boost in their point lead.
Inside linebacker Daryl Washington finally returned to the lineup after being suspended for the previous 4 games for substance abuse. Washington had a breakout performance as he recorded 9 tackles, including 2 sacks and an interception that was returned for 41 yards. His performance is quite possibly the best ever by a Cardinals defensive player during their 25 year period in Phoenix. Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton had trouble dealing with the Card’s defense as he was sacked 7 times, including a 2 point safety, and threw 3 interceptions with 21 completions of 39 attempts, despite of all of this, he managed 308 yards. Karlos Dansby and Calais Campbell also recorded vital tackling statistics that prevented Carolina’s offense from gaining access to the end zone. Defensive back Patrick Peterson intercepted one of Newton’s passes just short of the goal line and returned it almost to the center of the field. Panthers’ running back DeAngelo Williams was limited to a total of 39 yards, which is much lower than his typical average.
While the defense showed much ability in this win, the offense still needs improvement, especially in blocking and the passing game, as well as penalty calls; all of which defensive-minded coach Arians needs to address for future games. The Cardinals will be celebrating the fact that they are now .600, but with the next coming games versus division rivals 49ers and Seahawks and then a home game against the Falcons, this may be the only point in the season that the Cardinals will be above the 50% win mark.