The Cardinals showed up big in their week 12 win over the Indianapolis Colts who have been giant killers to date. The Colts have taken down the juggernaut which is the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks at their prime, and the 49ers in a 27-7 win making many think that they would come into the Cardinals house and snap a three game winning streak. Instead we saw the Cardinals win decisively on all sides of the ball. This was the first complete win we have seen from the Cardinals and it's suddenly sky rocketed the attention of the Cardinals into the media spotlight. So what are we going to rant about?
Carson Palmer - First thing to rant about is Carson Palmer feeling comfortable in the pocket and throwing back to back games without interceptions. This is the guy Arians promised and the offense he promised in one nice package, Arians just must have forgot to send it Fed-Ex so it took a little longer to show up. Palmer is spreading the ball around like he's Drew Brees out there, and he's putting the ball into the Cardinals two best receivers hands on the plays that count. Palmer was already touting the chemistry that he was building with Michael Floyd in the preseaon, but now we're seeing it in back to back weeks. What does that mean? Ask Larry Fitzgerald's touchdown numbers. Fitzgerald might not be getting 100 yard games, but with Palmer able to spread the ball around it's opening up Fitz for the best kinds of plays, the ones that put points on the board. Palmer's production is at the same levels he was producing in his prime in Cincinnati and is reminding people of what it was like to have Warner back in the pocket and pushing for a wildcard playoff position. Palmer seems comfortable in the system for the first time all year and is now giving the team the offense that was promised at the beginning of the year. This is an exciting time to be a Cardinals fan, let's hope Palmer continues to grow his understanding of the system and further improve!
Rob Housler - I don't know when the light bulb came on in Housler's head, was it the signing of Jake Ballard? Was it just coincidence that Carson Palmer started using him in ways similar to how he used Brandon Meyers on the Oakland Raiders and turned him into a true weapon? We don't know why Palmer started targeting Housler so much, or why Housler suddenly started producing, to the tune of 50+ yards and 80% catch percentage in four of the last five weeks, and it's a strange coincidence that after establishing that connection Palmer's performance has sky rocketed and with it the offense has sprung to life? Welcome Rob Housler to being a contributing member of the offense, keep up the great work. You and Mr. Palmer have some work to do.
Levi Brown - Does this belong here? You bet'cha. Bradley Sowell has been serviceable at Left Tackle and it's showing. The trade of Levi Brown to the Pittsburgh Steelers might be a defining moment where the Cardinals got better through attrition. Moving Levi Brown out of town allowed a serviceable LT to play and do a much better job than Brown was able to do, and it allowed the protection schemes to play more double and triple tight end sets to create protection. Why? Possibly because they want to provide some help for the serviceable LT with some TE support, much like Cardinals fans had screamed for years with Brown. Just my guesswork, but by Brown being gone it allowed the Cardinals to feel that it was okay to call in extra support for the guy that shouldn't be able to handle elite pass rushers (Sowell), rather than be disappointed by the player they thought could (Brown).
Running game - I know where you think I'm gonna go, but I'm going to go in a different direction. Now should be a good time to start working in Ryan Williams into the running game. It's nearly the end of the year and if he's healthy it would be good to know what he's got and potentially add a spark to the running game that is unlike anything that is on game film for this year. Mendenhall is suddenly playing with confidence but Cardinals fans want to see if Williams can come out and burn the defense. Especially with a cold weather game in Philly coming up next week.
Last thing, I was listening to Chris Cooley on the radio talking before the MNF game about the frustrations of being a fan and he said it better than anybody. He said when you're a fan who has a team that has been bad for so long and suddenly gets good, you cherish your time at the top and quickly lose patience when you're not there after having that feeling for such a short time. This reminds me of the 2008-2009 seasons, no one has been able to recreate that performance and that's why we're so critical of anyone behind center after we witnessed what Warner could do with our team. Mr. Palmer, you're in the drivers seat now, we're all on board, let's see where this ride goes.
What's your rant?
- Arizona Cardinals podcast: Reviewing the win over the Colts, talking NFC playoff race
- Carson Palmer: Playoff quarterback or fool's gold
- 2014 NFL Draft: What is the Arizona Cardinals' position of need?
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- NFC playoff picture: Arizona Cardinals get no help from Dolphins, Redskins