Despite a 27-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams, the Arizona Cardinals had plenty of worthy performances. One player not eligible this week is left tackle Levi Brown. Saying he struggled to block Rams defensive end Robert Quinn is equivalent to saying you have a hang nail when the bone is sticking out of your finger.
Brown allowed three sacks and three quarterback hits to Quinn, and if he has another let-down performance like that, the Cardinals may have to replace him.
Here are your player of the game candidates:
QB Carson Palmer
Stats: 26 of 40 (65.0%), 327 yards, 8.2 YPA, 2 TD, 1 INT, 96.6 passer rating
It was a solid Cardinals debut for Carson Palmer. He was a bit off target a few times, but most of the time, he displayed pinpoint accuracy, as well as great timing and chemistry with his receivers. He did take four sacks, but Brown's shameful showing is mostly to blame for that.
Stats: 8 receptions, 80 yards (10.0 YPC), 2 TD, 4 first downs
If you were to predict before the game a stat-line for Larry Fitzgerald in his first game with another new quarterback, it probably wouldn't look like his actual stat-line for the game.
Fitzgerald tied Anquan Boldin for the most games in franchise history of at least eight receptions and two receiving touchdowns (both have five). It was Fitz's first-such game since a nine-catch, 123-yard, two-TD performance in a 41-21 win at Chicago in Nov. 2009.
Stats: 8 receptions, 97 yards (12.1 YPC), 4 third-down conversions
Andre Roberts earned the distinction of being the most clutch receiver for the Cardinals on Sunday. He quietly led the team in receiving yards and receiving third-down conversions, moving the chains when his team needed it most.
DB Tyrann Mathieu
Stats: 7 tackles, 1 forced fumble
Without context, Tyrann Mathieu's rookie debut appears decent but not great. When factoring in his highlight-reel forced fumble of Rams tight end Jared Cook -- which will probably get your vote for play of the game -- just feet from the end zone, and now the debut is legendary.
ILB Jasper Brinkley
Stats: 8 tackles, 2 QB hits, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended
We could nitpick at Jasper Brinkley for struggling in coverage, but that's beating a dead horse -- we shouldn't expect great plays in coverage from him.
His performance against the run, however, was spectacular. Brinkley was seen laying the wood on a ball-carrier multiple times, and he helped lead the Cardinals to allowing the Rams just a 2.8 yards-per-carry average.