When Bruce Arians spoke to the media on Monday, the morning after the team's 25-21 win over the Detroit Lions, he had praise to go around. One player he targeted in particular was veteran quarterback Carson Palmer and his demeanor and approach late in the game to get the team the win.
"I was more than impressed with Carson in that he sat down and looked at it, looked at the pictures, saying 'all right, what's next? Where are we headed? How are we going to win the thing?" said Arians. "And the young guys all gravitated around him and he set the best example, he sent the best signals that 'we're fine'."
The coach praised Carson, but it was Carson that praised his teammates' approach.
After the game on Sunday, Palmer talked about how no one acted like it was a big game-winning drive. There were no nerves.
"You wouldn't know it was a game winning drive," he said Sunday. "You wouldn't know we were down by two. It was probably our last chance to touch the ball for the game. There weren't any wide eyes from the young guys or scared looks. Everybody just talked about doing their job and getting out there and scoring. You don't want to make too big a deal of those situations because it's your home opener and you're playing against a very good team. There were some very critical plays in that last drive. You don't want to overhype it because you don't need extra hype. You want to talk about doing your job and the guys just went out and executed."
This was the exact sort of thing that had been missing from the team. The past couple of seasons, the offense would struggle to get that one key drive.
Truly it was the exact formula that the team wanted in 2012 -- the offense does just enough and allows the defense to win it for them. That's what happened.
Palmer had a nice game, but one of the best things that seems to be helping the team is that he has the right approach and, because he has been in the league so long, he doesn't make moments bigger than they are.
If you are going to win football games consistently, these can't be moments made too big -- they have to just be moments of execution, and it appears that early on in the season, the team has the right approach.