The Cardinals cannot make a win easy. After an awful start to the game in which they gave up 14 points and didn't have an answer, they came back halfway through the second quarter and decided they'd had enough. After that point they would score 31 points and destroy the Seattle Seahawks hope of getting back in the divisional race.
Kurt Warner continues to play well after his awful game against the Carolina Panthers, in which he had six turnovers. Since that game Warner has had a total of 7 touchdowns, 601 yards, 126.7 QB rating, and 72.6 completion percentage. Those are the numbers we are used to seeing from Warner and has looked like his old MVP-like self. One thing I would like to see better from Warner is more consistency(so I do not have to sweat or have a heart attack, like I almost did yesterday when they could not score the first 20 minutes or so of the game). Warner would also throw his 200th touchdown pass in this game and would have his 51st 300 yards passing game (4th all time).
The Running game played very well on Sunday, accumulating over 120 rushing yards. Most of this was because of Beanie Wells who tore it up all day. He had a total of 85 yards on 16 carries (5.3 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. The guy looked unstoppable and defenders looked like they didn't want to tackle him, and as Ron Wolfley would say from Sports 620 KTAR "talk about trying to tackle a raging bull". Tim Hightower would also throw in his 10 carries for 37 yards (3.7 ypc).
The protection for Warner has been getting better each and every week. This week they allowed no sacks and hardly any pressure on Warner all day. They also got there blocks to help Beanie and Hightower run the ball. Overall the line has played pretty well this season(now if they could just cut down on their drive killing penalties).
Special Teams continues to play well, despite missing Ali Highsmith and Sean Morey. Morey, arguably our best special teamer, was out from a concussion and Highsmith was filling in on defense for the injured Gerald Hayes. Neil Rackers continues to make most of his field goals nailing a 27 yarder and was 4/4 on the extra point. The return game was nothing special averaging just 4 yards each punt return and 25 yards each kick return. The coverage was also just ok as they gave up an average of 15 yards per punt return, that's actually pretty bad, and the kick returns averaged about 20 yards. What made this unit special today, punter Ben Graham. He continues to pin the opposition inside the 20 and he did this 3 times out of his 7 punts in yesterday's game.
The Receivers played very well as well in this game. Anquan Boldin had a nice return from being inactive and finally looked healthy. He made some nice catches that helped keep a drive alive and finished his day with 8 catches that went for 105 yards. Larry Fitzgerald continues to have a nice season catching 7 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown catch by Fitz was one of his amazing catches that he makes look routine. The pass was behind the defender, Fitz had been running stride for stride with, and he slowed down and grabbed the ball and dove in for the score. Breaston also made a few nice catches that went for big yardage. He would finish his day with 4 catches for 79 yards and 1 touchdown. Even Beanie got in on the passing action, having 2 catches for 32 yards. Even though he did not have receiving touchdown, his were perhaps some of the most important catches as it makes defenses honest when he comes into the game.
The Defense played up and down again Sunday as they gave up 20 points, and it seemed much more than that. Honestly, they play well enough to win every Sunday with our offense but they still made this game way to close than it had to be. They would follow up tackles for losses by giving up a 1st down the next play. They allowed a 99 yard drive for a touchdown. They also gave up over 123 rushing yards on 17 carries (7.24 ypc) to a player who had 123 rushing yards over his previous 8 games. Despite all of this, they did get four sacks over the course of the game and had pressure on Hasselbeck for the most part. They also came up with key interceptions late in the game to help put away the Hawks. Overall, it would be nice if this unit could play with some consistency rather than give us a scare every week.
Penalties continue to be a problem for this team as they had 11 of them yesterday, not counting the declined penalties either. A couple of these were pass interference, personal fouls, and face masks. Those hurt but not as bad as the holding penalties the offensive line continues to get, in particular Mike Gandy. One of them came at the end of the half that took away a touchdown and the Cards would have to settle for a field goal instead. Gandy is now tied for the team lead with Levi Brown in penalties with eight. That's 16 penalties on the offensive line. The other notable penalties were by Bertrand Berry. Both penalties would negate tackles for a loss.
Bryant McFadden looked absolutely lost on Sunday against T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He was constantly getting beat deep by Housh and he had one face mask penalty and two pass interference penalties during the course of the game. One of these would make a 53 yard gain turn into a 68 yard gain. B Mac attributed to about half of Matt Hasselbecks 315 passing yards. Let's hope he rebounds from it next week against the Rams.
Overall the Cardinals played pretty well, despite being down early because of their inconsistent play in the first half. What I took from this game is that Beanie looked like he is ready to be the starter and the Kurt Warner still has a lot left in the tank. Let's hope they play like this next week against the Rams, and take away the penalties and play all four quarters instead of two and a half. Thoughts?