After starting the season 1 - 6, the Arizona Cardinals have come on strong, winning five of their last six games. Most of this turnaround can be attributed to the defense Ray Horton has installed. Stout against the run, generating pressure and sacks against opposing QBs, flocking to the ball. These are all statements used to describe top flight defenses.
Hit the jump to read my pick for the top five Cards defensive plays while playing the San Francisco 49ers.
As with last week, the Cards racked up five sacks against Alex Smith. Once again, these sacks came from five different players, showing the play making ability of the unit. However, one of these sacks will not make the list as a penalty negated the play. Sorry Calais Campbell. Aside from the sacks there were passes batted down, a run game that held Frank Gore to seventy-two yards, and plenty of tackles for loss.
- The 49ers are at the Cards 28 yard line. Alex Smith drops back to pass and Daryl Washington knifes through the offensive line, sacking the QB for a loss of six yards on the play.
- Four plays later and the 49ers are back into the red zone, looking for the end zone. Patrick Peterson comes off the edge and rides Alex Smith down to the ground from behind, notching a four yard loss. Forced with fourth and long, the 49ers opt for a FG.
- Alex Smith is at the helm, moving the 49ers down the field. They are in Cards territory, on the forty-seven yard line. Nick Eason, the pickup from the Pittsburgh Steelers who's replacing Dan Williams at NT beats his man and hauls Smith down for an eight yard loss, pushing the 49ers out of Cards territory.
- Darnell Dockett. The man has played the way Ray Horton has asked him to, putting team before self. But on this play, with under six minutes left to go in the game and the 49ers on their own twenty yard line, Dockett shows everyone why he's a pro bowler, ripping through the blocking scheme and planting Alex Smith for a six yard loss.
- Two plays after Dockett's sack on Smith, it is a passing down and Mike Adams comes in on the blitz. Unable to reach Smith himself, Adam's gets his hands in the air, deflecting a pass for Kyle Williams. This brings up fourth down, and the 49ers put the ball away.