From the Armchair: Arizona Cardinals, Week 8
Unlike most of the previous matches this season, the Cardinals displayed an explosive offense throughout this game. Quarterback Carson Palmer only threw 18 pass attempts, completing 13 of them, which is a season low in attempts, while one of the highest completion percentages during his time as a Card. His 116 passer rating is also the highest he’s had this season. Andre Ellington had a breakout game with 15 carries that averaged out to 10.3 YPC including a touchdown that was ran for 80 yards, which should get him the nod to be named the starting running back in place of former Pittsburgh Steeler veteran Rashard Mendenhall. New wide receiver Teddy Williams caught a 51 yard pass, which led to a touchdown, in his first game as a Cardinal after being signed just last week. Larry Fitzgerald caught his 800th pass, becoming the youngest player in NFL history to do so at the age of 30.
Atlanta star quarterback Matt Ryan threw 4 interceptions, which was one less than he threw the last time the Falcons played the Cardinals, which still resulted in an Atlanta win, during a time when these were 2 completely different teams in comparison to the current. The Falcons were without their usual strong receiving corp duo of Jones and White, utilizing Harry Douglas in their place, who managed to catch 12 balls for a total of 121 yards against the Arizona defense. Longtime division rival running back Steven Jackson came back from an injury with a mediocre performance of less than 2 YPC, showing signs that he isn’t quite rehabilitated enough to return to the field. Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez was limited to only 3 catches and kept out of the end zone, which concurs to the trend that when a tight end on the opposing team scores a touchdown, the Cardinals lose and vice-versa. Former Falcon John Abraham had a 10 yard sack on Matt Ryan to finish off the first half, but did get slightly hurt during the game, though sources show that it is nothing serious.
Arizona displayed potential of improvement on several areas with confidence and motivation from Coach Arians, but many of these signs were performed against an injury-riddled Falcons who would never had allowed this to happen had they possessed all of their usual weapons with health at full force. The Cards need to improve on a few areas, including Palmer working on his quick decision-making and play performance, especially in the pocket and under pressure, while Ellington should be assigned to head of the running game for now on, while not relying solely on rush attempts, but giving the receivers more of a chance to gain field advantage on 3rd down attempts. The Cardinals have their bye week coming up and will return rested in 2 weeks to host the struggling Houston Texans.