The Cardinals got off to a slow start yesterday but exploded for 14 points in the third quarter to get their first win of the Ken Whisenhunt era. Here's a quick summary of the game according to various reports.
Travis LaBoy and Defensive Pressure - LaBoy led the team in tackles and added two sacks. Considering that he backs up Bertrand Berry who didn't record a single tackle, LaBoy could be making a serious push for the starting job. Also picking up a sack for the second week in a row was Joe Tafoya. He was considered a 'bubble guy' coming in but if he continues to make plays, they might have to find a spot for him. Clark Haggans also picked up his first sack as a Cardinal.
Penalties - After last weeks performance (6 for 52) the coaching staff has to be pleased with just three penalties for 20 yards. The penalties consisted of a two offsides/neutral zone infractions and a holding. The only penalty that was committed by a starter was an offside penalty by Calais Campbell, who was starting in place of Darnell Dockett.
Quarterback Play - Warner got the start and eventually overcame a slow start (2 incompletions on the first drive) to finish with solid numbers (6 of 9 for 54 yards). He looked a little rusty but shook it off and led the Cardinals to their first touchdown. Leinart would take over on the third offensive series and would almost be picked off on his third pass attempt but a challenge flag overturned the call. He'd continue his slow start for the rest of the first half and his three series of the first half would end up totaling just two of six passing for 13 yards. He'd come out of halftime on fire though (5 of 5 for 49 yards) and his only drive would end in the first passing touchdown of the preseason. St. Pierre and Morelli would play the rest of the game without throwing an incompletion (5 for 5) and St. Pierre would add a TD.
JJ Arrington & Tim Castille - Arrington didn't do a whole lot for the offensive unit with just 18 total yards (13 rushing and 5 receiving) but his 78 yard kickoff return in the 3rd quarter set up the offense with great field position. The beneficiary of Arrington's kickoff return was Tim Castille who would catch the first pass after the return and take in 24 yards in the endzone.
Dennis Keyes - Keyes put the nail in the Chiefs coffin last night. With Kansas City driving deep into Cardinal territory in the fourth, looking to pull within a score, Keyes picked off a Tyler Thigpen pass and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown.
Running Game - The running game never really got going last night. Edge fumbled his first attempt, although it was recovered by Lyle Sendlein, and he'd end up carrying three times on the next drive for 20 yards before giving way to Tim Hightower. Hightower would score the first touchdown of the game from four yards out but his final numbers wouldn't look great (9 carries for 28 yards). The Cardinals as a whole finished up with 76 yards rushing on 21 carries (3.6 yards per carry), but with the lack of depth in the offensive line it's not surprising that the running game struggles once the starters leave the game.
Run Defense - We knew that the front seven would get tested more this week and the results weren't overly promising. They got off to a decent start against Larry Johnson (7 carries for 19 yards on the first three drives), but on the fourth offensive drive for the Chiefs the running game took off with eight carries for 57 yards. The final rushing numbers for the first half, not including the Chiefs' backup QB who scrambled all over the defense, was 76 yards on 15 carries (5.06 avg).
Kickoff Coverage - For the second week in a row the kickoff coverage units allowed the opposing returners to run wild. Last week against the Saints they allowed five returns for 111 yards and this week the Chiefs racked up 139 yards on four returns (34.8 avg). The average starting field position for the Chiefs after a kick off was their own 32 yard line.
Special Teams - Any time a team can say that they missed an extra point and kicked a kickoff out of bounds, they're certainly not bragging. Rackers had a poor game although punter/holder Dirk Johnson said that a bad hold caused the missed extra point. Johnson had a decent game punting though and ended up with a 47.7 yard average and a net average of 41.3. He could have been even better had two punts not gone out of bounds at the 30 yard line.