Wow, any questions or concerns that the Arizona Cardinals had heading into Sunday's game with the Dolphins were answered by the end of the first quarter. They came out of the gates firing on all cylinders and by the time the final seconds ticked off the clock, the game wasn't even as close as the final 31-10 score. It's tough to imagine that the Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 (first time in 17 years) and not only do they lead the NFC West, they've also scored the most and allowed the fewest amount of points in the division. You can talk about the quality of their opponents through two weeks but at this point, all they can do is play the teams that are on the schedule. The next two weeks should be much more difficult but for now all we can do is bask in the glory of two consecutive wins to open the season.
Passing Game - I wish there was a way to break this down and just talk about one guy but the fact is that the entire passing game was nothing short of amazing yesterday. Kurt Warner was unstoppable, completing 79% of his passes for 361 yards and posted a perfect QB rating. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald were open all game long and ended up with almost 300 combined yards receiving (293). Yards after catch was their specialty and both had receptions of 75 yards or more. Ben Patrick, Leonard Pope and Tim Hightower all had impressive receptions and the offensive line did thier part allowing just two sacks and one of those led to first down after Warner was brought down by his facemask.
Defensive Dominance - Allowing just ten points is impressive enough but when you consider that the Phins only touchdown didn't come until there was just over two minutes left in the game, it's down right amazing. The Dolphins couldn't get anything going on the ground and it didn't help that they were down two touchdowns by the middle of the first quarter. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combined for just 53 yards (2.4 ypc) and Pennington completed only 50% of his passes (career 65.3%). The Dolphins converted just 25% of their third downs and averaged just 4.1 yards per play.
Penalties - It's tough to find something not to like in a 21 point win but the Cardinals did have eight penalties for 45 yards. Most of the penalties were minor infractions but they still need to play smarter football if they want to be successful against better teams. The penalties included a delay of game, illegal formation, illegal block above the waist, defensive off sides (twice), ineligible down field and defensive holding (twice).
Neil Rackers - Rackers continues to test the patience of fans and the coaching staff. he started the game by booting the opening kickoff out of bounds and later in the game missed a 47 yard field goal (wide left). He was saved on the field goal by a Miami penalty but his inconsistencies keep surfacing. It's too early to start surfing the free agent wire for kickers but I'll feel awful nervous if Rackers has to line up for a meaningful kick with the game on the line.
We'll dive much deeper into this impressive win today and tommorrow but for now doesn't it fill nice to be atop the division, looking down at the mess that is the rest of the NFC East. Thoughts for the game?