Arizona Cardinal punter Ben Graham had just pinned the Titans back at their 1 yard line with 2:37 remaining on the clock. With two timeouts left Vince Young and the Titans offense marched down the field, with Young completing 9 of 16 passes for 94 yards and the game-winning touchdown. The Titans also were 3-3 on 4th downs, including the touchdown pass that sealed the Cardinals fate. That itself should sum up the Cardinals defensive effort on Sunday.
Defensive Line - The Cardinals defensive line played an intense game, containing Vince Young and sacking him 4 times after the Titans offensive line had only allowed 7 sacks on the year(season low). Darnell Dockett was the constant force of pressure, bringing down Young 3 times, giving him 7 sacks on the year. They also did a respectable job of limiting Chris Johnson, until he was able to break the big one in the second half for 85 yards. The problem on the day was that the Cardinals may have not forced enough pressure, as Vince Young was able to throw for 387 yards and had his way with the defense.
Linebackers - The Cardinals linebackers were already banged up before the game, with Chike Okeafor, Karlos Dansby, and Gerald Hayesall being limited in practice the last few weeks. It's no surprise that one of them was going to leave the game(Dansby) by injury. They also were particularly solid at slowing Chris Johnson, but running is running and at the end of the day, the Cardinals allowed 154 rushing yards to Johnson. The Cardinals linebackers also had a hard time covering the flats and Young exploited that when they were playing zone coverage. The Cardinals linebackers need to get healthy fast with Adrian Peterson coming to town on Sunday night.
Defensive backs - Vince Young - a quarterback who's known for making plays with his legs - threw for 387 yards for 1 touchdown on Sunday. In all fairness, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a good game, limiting the receivers he covered and batting away 3 passes. Adrian Wilson also played well against the run and did a good job spying Young. Bryant McFaddencontinued to struggle and missed the ball when the Titans faced 4th down for the first time on their game-winning drive. McFadden has had tough showings the past three weeks and teams seem be targetinghim more. It's difficult to put your finger on what exactly the problems with the secondary are. Whether it's personel or coaching, Bill Davis needs to put together better game plans against teams that can pass the ball.
My defensive grade: D
They held the Titans to 6 points in the first half and limited Chris Johnson until the 85 yard run. They're failure to get just one stop on 4th down is what really hurt them and ended the Cardinals chanced of improving to 8-3. What grade did you give the Cardinals defense and why? What should Bill Davis be doing differently?