Falcons vs. Cardinals: Vote for the Week 8 player of the game

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

Vote for the Cardinals player of the game from the Week 8 win over the Falcons.

Raise your hand if you had the Arizona Cardinals bowing out the Atlanta Falcons this week. If any of you raised your hand, you're either lying or you're Nostradamus.

This game reminded us of how fun it can be to watch football. The defense did its thing while the offense -- despite an iffy start from its quarterback -- got on a role and torched Atlanta's porous defense in the first half.

The Cardinals (4-4) looked more like a complete team on Sunday than they have at any point this season. The Falcons (2-5), on the other hand, have more issues than many franchises -- most notably along the offensive line and in the secondary.

But we're not here to discuss other teams' problems. We're here to vote on the player of the game from Week 8.

Here are the candidates.

Carson Palmer

Stats: 13 of 18 (72.2%), 172 yards, 9.6 YPA, 2 TD, 1 INT

Quarterback Carson Palmer threw another interception on Sunday. We all know that. But he bounced back and didn't let it get to him. He led three straight second-quarter touchdown drives following the pick, doing more than enough to put the game away by halftime.

Fans saw what he can be in the Arians offense, and it's good. We need more of 18-attempt Palmer and less of 50-attempt Palmer.

Marcus Benard

Stats: 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 4 QB hits

Little-known defensive end/outside linebacker Marcus Benard had received minimal playing time in the few weeks he'd been on the 53-man roster. He started last week against the Seattle Seahawks but played only 11 snaps.

But Benard played a lot against the Falcons, and he was in the backfield all day. He recorded his first sack with the Cardinals on Sunday and hit Matt Ryan four times.

Andre Ellington

Stats: 15 carries, 154 yards, 10.3 YPC, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 8 yards

The #FreeEllington movement is officially over. Andre Ellington was freed against the Falcons, proving big things sometimes come in small packages.

It's not as though the 80-yard touchdown run made up the bulk of his rushing yards -- take away that carry, and he still averages 5.3 yards per carry on the day. It would be very surprising if Rashard Mendenhall starts another game in Arizona as long as Ellington is healthy.

Calais Campbell

Stats: 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 2 passes defended

Big Calais Campbell was all over the place on Sunday. We saw him take down Ryan on a sack, and he also batted away two passes on one drive, using his 6'8" frame to his full advantage.

This kind of game -- following up a solid game against the Seahawks -- is a great sign for Campbell, who, as you remember, was carted off the field in San Francisco with a neck injury. The defense plays much better with him in the lineup, and they need him to be a monster up front.

Larry Fitzgerald

Stats: 4 receptions, 48 yards, 12.0 YPC, 1 TD

Mr. Larry Fitzgerald scored his 82nd touchdown on a 10-yard strike from Palmer. He also became the youngest player to record 800 career receptions. At 30 years and 57 days old, he beat Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (30 years, 238 days) by 181 days, or roughly six months.

Fitz also provided one of the key blocks that set Ellington off to the races on his 80-yard dart to the end zone.

As if that weren't enough, he pledged to donate money to breast cancer awareness throughout the month of October. In four games, he totaled 15 receptions and two touchdowns, meaning he will be cutting a check for $35,000 in the near future. Way to go, Larry!

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