Victory isn't always pretty, and the Cardinals reluctantly proved it this past Sunday in their 31-24 win over Detroit. The offense relied heavily on 3 Lions turnovers, and never caught fire till the final quarter. Kurt Warner was off and the protection seemed to fold quicker then a lawn chair, to a defensive line that only had 21 sacks(28th) heading into the game. Larry Fitzgerald clearly was not 100% but Anquan Boldin stepped up for the offense. The biggest positive from the game was Beanie Wells, who went over 100 yards for the first time in his young career.
Kurt Warner: Warner was noticeably"off" with several of this throws on Sunday. After the hip pointer and the dreadful game against the 49ers, many thought Warner would bounce back with a big performance against the droopy Lions. Instead, the Lions pulled off the sack>fumble>recovery before halftime and registered a pick-six in the third quarter that sent them straight back into the game. Warner favorably delivered in the 4th quarter however, leading the Cardinals on two scoring drives, including the game-winning touchdown pass.
Running Backs: This should really be labeled, "Running Back", because Beanie Wells was a one-man show on Sunday. He eclipsed 100 yards against an opponent other then the Rams - albeit the Detroit Lions - but the change was alleviating. Wells plowed through Lion defenders on several occasions and show-cased his fall-forward style that we've all fallen in love with. Tim Hightower wasn't given a substantial amount of carries(6), but did manage to catch 6 passes out of the back field for 34 yards.
Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin entered the contest at full capacity and it showed on the field. His smash-mouth way of running after the catch was featured throughout the entire game. Boldin was targeted 11 times and many of the balls that didn't reach him were over or under thrown. Larry Fitzgerald toughed-it-out and suited up to play despite injuring his knee just six days earlier. He didn't have a big impact on the game but did mange to gain over 1,000 yards on the season for the third straight year. Steve Breaston has had a tough stretch of games and that didn't end against the Lions. He only caught 3 passes for 38 yards and stomached a muffed punt that was recovered by the Lions in the second half.
Offensive Line: Protection crumbled at times Sunday afternoon, but when it mattered the Cardinals offensive line toughened up. They only allowed 2 sacks and 3 quarterback hits. Obviously Kurt Warner has a quick release which absolutely pads the stats for the line at times, and that was likely the case on Sunday. Either way they managed to open the rushing lanes for Wells and give Warner just enough time to throw on the only drive of the game that mattered.
My Offensive Grade: C+
I toyed with this one for a while considering the Cardinals punched in 4 touchdowns and 31 points on the day. Be that as it may, they struggled against the Lions, which should limit their praise even after a win. In the end, a C+ means they were a step ahead of playing poorly on Sunday. What grade did you give the Cardinals offense and why?