Today's game was a flip flop performance by the Cardinals offense. That could also be blamed on the fact that the Cardinals pro bowl quarterback Kurt Warner didn't play the second half of the game. The game began with a Beanie Wells fumble, and the Rams taking advantage of the turnover with a field goal. The offense took a couple drives to get going as they always seem to do, but once they were firing on all cylinders, they jumped out to a 21-3 lead, by running and passing the ball successfully. After Kurt Warner was knocked down halfway through the 2nd quarter, he was able to finish the scoring drive, but didn't return in the game after that. Matt Leinart finished the game, and there was an immediate drop-off on offense. The Cardinals didn't score for the remainder of the game, but the defense came through to hold off the Rams upset. Let's take a look at the positives and negatives.
- The running game was also outstanding for a third week in a row. The Cardinals ran for 183 yards, their highest of the season. 50 of the rushing yards came on a big run by Tim Hightower, in which he broke through the line of scrimmage and ran into Rams territory. The Cardinals ability to run has dramatically made this offense better.
- Kurt Warner was spot on once again, making that three games in a row that he hasn't thrown an interception. He's also been considerably better on the road this season. Let's hope that he's only suffering from a mild concussion and that his return next week is probable.
- The Cardinals defense was solid despite the Rams getting more opportunities in the second half. The inability of the Cardinals to drain any time off the clock, allowed the Rams offense to get more scoring chances. The Rams also had 4, 4th down attempts, converting 3 of them. Despite all of this, the Cardinals defense made the stops when they needed to.
- Matt Leinart wasn't able to heat up as the game went on. It's certainly justified for him to be rusty once he comes into the game, but for Leinart to have trouble throwing the ball down field in the fourth quarter is unacceptable. Once Leinart came into the game, the offense sputtered, and is the primary reason the Rams had a chance at tying the game. The Cardinals should hope that Warner is ready to play by next week, otherwise we may see another poor offensive performance.
- Beanie Wells fumbled on the Cardinals first drive of the game, allowing the Rams to score a field goal. Wells has had issues holding on to the ball this year. The run was a shovel pass that Beanie wasn't able to hold on to. This issue has essentially kept Wells from taking over the starting job.
- Michael Adams isn't a starter, but he had a tough game today despite covering a young receiver in Brandon Gibson. Adams was also flagged for a holding call that gave the Rams a first down.
- The Cardinals had 6 penalties, a number that lowered from last week but still hurt them at times in the game. They also turned the ball over two times - both were fumbles on offense.
Overall it's not hard to be mad at the offense for not putting up any points in the second half. After all, Warner understands how to run the offense and Leinart did not look comfortable in the pocket. Other then that, the defense played well under pressure and the running game was dominant agian. What are your thoughts on the game?