The Arizona Cardinals came up with a huge win against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, as they reached a double digit win total for the first since 1976. The Cardinals made it look easy as they held the Rams to just 10 points. The offense wasn't too shabby either as they had more than 400 yards of offense, and they did it with both the running game and passing game being in sync. This is exactly how they should look heading into the playoffs.
Kurt Warner had been having a tough stretch the past few weeks, turning the ball over five times (three of them interceptions), and only throwing two touchdowns. This week he came out and took care of his former team by throwing 313 yards (52nd time of his career) and two touchdowns (100th with the Cardinals). This is the Warner we all like to see, and hope this will be the Warner that shows up in two weeks when the playoffs begin. Warner had another fumble lost this week but that can be forgiven when he plays as well as he did in this game.
The running game did well as they rushed for113 yards on 29 carries (3.89 yards per carry). Beanie Wells had 68 of those yards and stuck the fork in the Rams with the final touchdown of the game. Tim Hightower added his 32 yards on 10 carries (3.2 yards per carry) as well. Hightower didn't have his best game but he did what he does best by scoring his 18th career touchdown in the third quarter. Overall, the running game played well and kept the opposing defense honest.
The Cardinals special teams have been by far the best of the special teams unit in the league. They not only cover returns well, but they force turnovers also. They had another turnover this week as punter Ben Graham put his body in harm's way to force a fumble that would be crucial with the Rams gaining momentum. Graham also had 2 more punts inside the 20 yard line, making his total 39 (league high), and averaged 41.2 yards per punt. Kicker Mike Nugent continues to play well for the injured Neil Rackers as he made all four of his extra points and his lone field goal. Special teams have been a huge strength for the Cards this year and have made opposing team's jobs much harder when it comes to making a game plan.
The defense had been struggling the past few weeks allowing a combined 48 points to the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. Most of this was because of the turnovers that happened in those games(10 total turnovers), but they still should've helped the offense out when they were struggling. This week they played the way they should be playing, when they allowed just ten points, had four sacks, and force four turnovers. That's what Ken Whisenhunt and the rest of the Cards want to see week in and week out.
There wasn't much bad in this game other than the fact that the new starting offensive left tackle Jeremy Bridges did not have his best game. This was mostly because he had no help on his side but he could have done better against a poor defensive line. He may have performed better with a tight end and running back on his side, much like the help he was given against Jared Allen and the Minnesota Vikings. Look for this to improve in future games this season, as teams will be gunning for his side of the line.
Adrian Wilson became just the 10th player in NFL history to record 20 sack and 20 interceptions in ones career. This has been a goal of Wilson's for some time and it could not have happened to a better player. Wilson has been one of the most loyal and hard working players for the Cardinals, and they should be happy to have him on their team.
The Cardinals are now 10-5 and still have a shot at the number two spot that starts with a Vikings loss on Monday Night Football. Right now the Cardinals are fourth in the playoff slotting and would play the Packers in the wild card round of the playoffs which would be two weeks in a row they would face them. If the Vikings lose on MNF, should they try to beat the Packers and shoot for the number two seed? Or should they rest their starters and game plan for the playoffs?