To say the Cardinals offense put up a dominant effort this past Sunday would be an understatement. In fact, they sputtered through the first half and relied on a 99 yard kick-off return for a touchdown by LaRod Stephens-Howling in the second half. A lot of the inefficiency on offense can largely be blamed on the fact that Matt Leinart was abruptly inserted into the starting role on offense as a game-time decision. The Cardinals offense did however, do just enough to put the game within reach.
Matt Leinart - Leinart didn't have a spectacular game and when you look at his numbers(21/31 220 yards) they don't blow anyone away. Leinart was noticeably rusty in the first few drives of the game, but gradually became more comfortable with the play-calling and the receivers. He managed to not turn the ball over at any time and was only sacked once in the game. The only draw-back to his performance was the obvious discomfort in the first half, but also was his failure to pull the trigger at times throughout the game. There were plenty of times the Cardinals need 7-9 yards and Leinart threw the dump-off pass. Possibly with a full week of practice, Leinart would have been able to lead this team to a victory.
Running backs - After having monstrous games the last three weeks, there was a drop-off in production on Sunday. The Cardinals were given less opportunities on the field widely because of the Titans time of possession(more in 1st half), and because they trailed most of the game. The one positive note was the play of TIm Hightower. He hit each lane strong, and fell forward each time. Hightower's persistence to pound his way into the end zone gave the Cardinals the lead late in the game as well. Beanie Wells couldn't seem to get passed the second level of Titans defenders, and also had a fumble on day for two consecutive weeks now. Ironically, Wells hands proved to be trust-worthy when he caught a 21 yard beauty down the sideline later in the game.
Wide Receivers - There's not much to say about the wide receivers after Sunday. No one was very productive and they didn't get as much looks as they're used to. With Leinart playing full time for the first time since 2007, it's understandable that the wide receivers weren't very large factors in the game.
Offensive line - The offensive line play great for the most part, only allowing 1 sack to a quarterback that they haven't protected in quite some time. The rushing lanes weren't spectacular but the Cardinals didn't call upon them to run-block as much as usual. One of the more dependable lineman - Reggie Wells - was flagged for a holding call late in the 4th quarter when the Cardinals were attempting to run out the clock. Penalties like this have hampered the Cardinals on offense and continue to be a problem.
My Offensive Grade: C
Although the offense didn't turn the ball over and played smart football most of the game, 10 points on the day is simply not enough. If there is any consideration that Kurt Warner won't play on Sunday, Matt Leinart will need to be prepared to get more reps in practice, and more importantly, Jared Allen. What did you grade the Cardinals offense and why?