This week we start with the offense, in a segment I'd like to continue throughout the remainder of the season. The Cardinals offense had it's moments last night, but couldn't capitalize on good field position andGiant's turnovers. Kurt Warner was only sacked twice, but the pocket seemed to fold often around him, forcing early throws. The running game was where the unit shined. Beanie Wells was given more opportunities then ever before, and was able to gain 67 rushing yards with a touchdown on the ground.
Kurt Warner - Warner opened the game with a 23 yard pass to Steve Breaston, but struggled to get anything going until the second quarter. Warner often fought through the New York pressure and avoided the blitz, using a quick release. In the end, he led the Cardinals on scoring drives when they needed it, and put points on the board.
Cardinals Offensive Drives
Judging from the chart, it's obvious the Cardinals struggled to move the ball at the start of the game. Through the second quarter, they were able to get good field position, and took advantage by scoring 10 points before the half. After their eighth drive, they opened the second half and scored two touchdowns. The obvious stat you never want to see is two turnovers and 4 punts to start the game. The Cardinals are a team that benefits off scoring early, and that's something they'll need to improve on throughout the season.
Running Backs - Wells took advantage of an early fumble by Tim Hightower, and never looked back. He immediately stormed into the game, gaining positive yardage, and using a beautiful stiff arm to get into the end zone. It looked like the Cardinals would use him to drain the clock at the end of the game with his positive gains, but instead passed the ball. Hightower didn't have a big game after fumbling early. He was primarily used on passing downs and scored a touchdown. Jason Wright caught his third pass of the year which happens to be his 2nd touchdown too.
Wide Receivers - Fitzgerald had three drops and was quiet for the first half, but he opened up the second half with some big catches, and nearly had a long touchdown pass from Antrel Rolle had he not dropped it(and had there been a penalty). Surprising as it sounds, Fitzgerald is having a down year for his standards, but going off his numbers so far, he's on pace for 109 catches, 1181 yards, and13 touchdowns. Anquan Boldin suited up to play and made a big 44 yard catch that led to a touchdown. It was obvious he wasn't as explosive, and probably should've rested this game. Aside from them, everyone else had quiet games.
Offensive Line -The offensive line has had it's problems throughout the year, and most of us didn't think they could handle the Giants defensive line. They managed to keep Warner standing for the most part, only allowing 2 sacks. They also generated a decent rush offense, by giving Wells a running lane. Levi Brown continues to struggle, getting beat time in and time out by quicker edge rushers. Justin Tuck blew past Brown to tackle Hightower in the backfield and force the fumble on the opening drive.
My Offensive Grade: C
The Cardinals have a chance to go to 5-2 next week, but in no way shape or form should they take Carolina for granted. They have a young defensive unit and also feature Julius Peppers. It is a game however, that they can use to bring in a variety of plays and try and get their offense back in sync. What did you grade them and why?