In week five the Arizona Cardinals had to sweat out a win that required a goal line stand in the final minutes against the Houston Texans. In week six they would not sweat so much, as they lead the whole game and played very well on all three sides of the ball (special teams, offense, and defense). They were able to do things in this game that has troubled them all season including, protecting Warner, giving up big play, and turning over the ball in the red zone. Everything for the most part went the Cardinals way in a big win in Seattle.
The passing game played almost near perfect football in this game. Kurt Warner completed 32 of 41 passes (78 completion percentage) for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns. Warner spread all those completions between seven receivers but the two players that had the biggest impact of the receiver were Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston. Fitz caught nearly every pass thrown to him racking up 13 of them and also did what he does best and that is catch a touchdown in the end zone to give the Cardinals the first touchdown of the day. Breaston pulled of his best Fitz impersonation with some amazing catches and he would finish with seven catches and a touchdown. The pass protection also held up very nicely, allowing two sacks but not much pressure on Warner. Overall this is what we want to see out of the passing game.
The defense played extremely well today allowing just 14 total yards rushing on 11 carries (1.27 yards per carry) and held Matt Hasselbeck to just 10 completions on 29 throws. The rushing defense is nothing new as they were ranked seventh in the league coming into this game but the passing defense was a different story. They came in 32nd against the pass allowing more than 300 yards passing a game and nine total passing touchdowns. Much of this is because the defense has not been able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That all changed today, as it seemed Hasselbeck was getting hit on every play and went down for a total of five sacks. We all knew the Cardinals defense is loaded with talent and it decided to show in today's game.
Special Teams played pretty well in this game. They had a nice fumble recover in the 1st quarter on a short kickoff by Neil Rackers. They also had nice coverage holding Justin Forsett to just an average of seven yards per punt return and holding the kick returners to an average of 20 yards on three returns. The punter, Ben Graham, also played pretty well punting 6 times for an average of 37.8 yards but four of those punts went inside the 20. The only bad play by special teams was they allowed Seattle's punter to complete a 42 yard pass to the John Carlson that would lead to their only points in the game, a field goal.
The Running game finally got a considerable amount of work but they did not prove much as they ran 26 times for just 62 yards (2.4 ypc). They did start the game off pretty good as they ran 8 times for 31 yards (3.9 ypc) and 1 touchdown. After that there was not much to rave about as they would run 18 more times for 31 yards (1.7 ypc). With that many carries you would like to see much more production but at least they did not fumble the ball in the red zone, something that has seemed to plague the running game this season.
Turnovers continue to be a problem for this team as they give up two more in this game. The first one was a fumble by Warner, something he has a history of as we all know. This one was not completely on Warner as the protection broke down and Levi Brown allowed Patrick Kerney to get by him and strip Warner but Warner has got to hold onto the ball. The second one was an interception by Warner as he just heaved the ball to the end zone hoping to get a touchdown to end the half but ended up going into safety Jordan Babineaux's hands. Overall the Cardinals did a better job of holding onto the ball but they still need to stop turning it over.
The Cardinals continue to have too many penalties in games. This week they had a total of 7 turnovers going for 76 yards. Most of these came from the offensive line as they had five of them, three false starts and two offensive holding calls. The have got to stop as they are coming on important drives. The first holding call, by Deuce Lutui, came on a rushing play by Beanie Wells that went for six yards and a first down that got brought back to 2nd and 11. The next one came on 2nd and 13 and Tim Hightower had a rushing play for 11 yards and that got brought back because of a holding call by Lyle Sendlein making it 2nd and 23. The false starts can be understandable in Seattle but they came on relatively quiet plays. They have to get better at not committing these penalties. The other two penalties were defensive pass interference on linebacker Gerald Hayes and Delay of game on Ben Graham.
Overall the Cardinals played well, and looked a lot more like that team that went to the Super Bowl last season. This team will have a tough game next week as they go to New York to face a pissed off Giants team.They will need to play like they did today if they want to win this game, something they have not been able to consistently do on a weekly basis. How do you think we played this week? Can we go into Giants stadium next week and beat the Giants?