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10-11-10: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings

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Who Dat say gonna beat dem Saints? We Dat! This was one of the oddest games I have ever seen, with the 3 TDs being scored by a Safety, Cornerback, and Left Tackle. But lets just hope that Hall keeps Developing, and the D keeps playing like this (Although it seems like the experts are saying the Saints choked the game away, and the Cardinals won because the Saints screwed up).

The Cards were also the only NFC West team to get a win last night after the Rams were blown out by the Rams, they also lost their best receiver Mark Clayton to a knee injury that will end his season. The 49ers also had a chance to win but they just threw it away against the Eagles on Sunday Night in a game that almost lead to the benching of Alex Smith. Now the "best team in the NFC West" is 0-5.... the NFL has been so impossible to predict this year!

On to the links, and a little video of Alphonso Smith doing the Carlton Dance.

By the way, I will post the thing with some highlights from the gamethread either sometime tonight, or tomorrow morning. It all depends on what I feel like doing.

Arizona Cardinals defeat New Orleans Saints in Max Hall's debut as starter
The Cardinals 30-20 victory over New Orleans on Sunday might be long remembered as quarterback Max Hall's debut as starter. But let it be recorded that it was the Cardinals special teams and defense that were most responsible for the season's biggest victory. An offensive lineman, a safety and a cornerback scored the Cardinals touchdowns on Sunday, a couple of fortunate developments for a team starting an undrafted rookie at quarterback earlier in the season than any other team since 1987.

Hall A Winner To Start
Max Hall was belted by three Saints defenders near the goal line, his helmet flying off and the ball popping loose, and while tackle Levi Brown picked it up and scored a touchdown, Hall was hurting. The wind was knocked out of him and he was woozy, enough so that backup Derek Anderson came in at the end of the first half for a couple of passes. And earlier, Hall was limping around after taking a blow to his left shin on a sack. "You’re not going to keep me out of a game," Hall said. "I’d have to be out cold to not go back in a game or (have) something broken. … It’s going to be hard to keep me out."

Perfect Plan To Beat Saints
So Sunday went just how the Cardinals drew it up.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 30, Saints 20 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
What it means: The Cardinals are 3-2 and they own the outright lead in the NFC West for the first time this season. They are the only NFC West team with a road victory. They are the only NFC West team with no defeats within the division. That means Arizona is in prime position heading into its bye week. The down time should allow rookie quarterback Max Hall to settle into the job. He was a little wild at times in his first NFL start. He took a physical beating, too.

Saints vs. Cardinals - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
With some luck and a lot of help from his defense, Max Hall 's NFL debut as a starting quarterback was a winner, against the reigning Super Bowl champions no less.

KTAR.com - With rookie Hall at QB, Arizona beats Saints
Fifteen quarterbacks were selected in the 2010 NFL draft. Max Hall wasn't one of them.

KTAR.com - Cardinals D showed great signs against Saints
Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt told his defense Saturday that things would start to turn around. After the Cardinals defense led the team to a 30-20 win against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, which included two turnovers being returned for touchdowns, it looks like the turn has started.

KTAR.com - Whisenhunt and Warner like what they see from Hall
Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt and former starting quarterback Kurt Warner both liked what they saw from rookie quarterback Max Hall during Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

At the very least, Max Hall gives Arizona Cardinals hope at quarterback
Drew Brees, you're no Max Hall. Sure, Hall's $5,000 signing bonus must have you turf green with envy, but it's the other thing the rookie has - an NFL victory on Oct. 10, 2010 - that must have you determined to shake your post-Super Bowl hangover.

Defense Speaks Its Mind
Letting play do the talking, unit scores twice to lead Cards in win over Saints

NFL Videos: GameDay: Saints vs. Cardinals highlights
The Arizona defense made several huge plays as the Cardinals defeat the Saints 30-20. Watch NFL GameDay Final Sundays at midnight ET on NFL Network.

Cardinals postgame press conference

Cardinals Talk About Big Win Over Saints

Judging Kurt Warner's debut as Fox analyst
The Fox network is notorious for plugging its own programming during sports broadcasts. So we have to give Fox credit for acknowledging Kurt Warner's role on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," during his debut as an analyst alongside play-by-play man Chris Rose as the Cardinals shocked the Saints on Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals' defense finally delivers maximum effort
There were 24 seconds left and for Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, it felt like an eternity. His team was clinging to a 23-20 lead Sunday against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and time couldn't move fast enough. But then Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie leaped in front of a Drew Brees pass intended for Lance Moore. Perfect, Whisenhunt thought, as he waited for his ball-hawking cornerback to take a knee so the Arizona offense could run out the clock. Instead, Rodgers-Cromartie juked his way in and out of traffic, taking the interception to the house on a 28-yard return to put the finishing touches on a stunning 30-20 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Arizona Cardinals' special teams responds to coach Ken Whisenhunt's challenge in win
It's common for Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt to issue challenges to his team the night before games. It is not routine, however, for one unit to produce the result Whisenhunt had been seeking. On Saturday night, Whisenhunt told special-teams players they needed to play well if the Cardinals were going to beat the Saints. They came through.

Arizona Cardinals-New Orleans Saints play of the game
The call: Ladell Betts took a handoff from Drew Brees and was hit at the 19-yard line by Darnell Dockett, who forced a fumble. Safety Kerry Rhodes picked it up and raced 27 yards for a touchdown, his second in as many weeks.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - KentSomers - Post-game spread
A few observations while wondering why anyone, in their right mind or not, bets on NFL games.

On the Cardinals and Max Hall's leadership - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Undrafted rookie quarterback Max Hall approached 11th-year linebacker Clark Haggans in the Arizona Cardinals' locker room three hours before kickoff Sunday. "He told me to get my mind right," Haggans said.

Cardinals stun Saints with 17 fourth quarter points | ProFootballTalk.com
Once again, the Saints dominated total yardage but struggled with their kicking game and red zone offense. This time around, it cost the defending champions a win.

Wrap-up: Cardinals 30, Saints 20 - NFC South Blog - ESPN
What it means: There are holes in the machine that rolled to a Super Bowl title last season. We had seen some cracks in the first four games, but now a lot of problems have been exposed. Yes, the Saints have some injuries, but that’s no excuse. When you go up against a mediocre Arizona team that’s starting undrafted rookie Max Hall at quarterback and you’ve got Drew Brees, you’ve got some pretty big problems.

Lady Luck turning in Cards' favor for once - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
Cardinals defensive captains Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett posted a sign in the team's meeting room that reads: "Shut the f*** up and play." "It worked," cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. And how.

Cardinals Defense Opportunistic in 30-20 Victory Over Saints
So, that was fun...and unexpected.

Defense delivers for Cardinals
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie saw the danger in the decision. He just didn’t care.

Saints aftermath
Let’s just say the bye week is going to be much more enjoyable that expected.

Whiz makes it light this week
Coach Ken Whisenhunt just held his day-after presser. Among the highlights:

Niners’ York throws down the gauntlet UPDATE
I’m not going to call it a guarantee, since technically, the word wasn’t used in Jed York’s text message to someone at ESPN — I am guessing Adam Schefter, since Adam wrote the story — but the 49ers owner/president made it clear what he believes today when he wrote out the words "We’re going to win the division." And if it walks like a guarantee and talks like a guarantee … For such a short sentence, it’s a big concept for a team that stands 0-5, may be benching its quarterback and is reeling after all kinds of predictions of greatness before the season.

Jed York says 0-5 49ers will win division | ProFootballTalk.com
The San Francisco 49ers, winless through five games, would be the first team in NFL history to make it to the playoffs after such a bad start. Owner Jed York claims they will.Saints-Cardinals one-liners | ProFootballTalk.com

Arizona Cardinals rewind: What we learned from Sunday's win against New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals rewind: What we learned from Sunday's win against New Orleans Saints, Kent Somers takes a look back at the Cardinals' 30-20 win against the defending Super Bowl champions.

Whisenhunt unrattled by York's guarantee - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Jed York's San Francisco 49ers guarantee reached Arizona Cardinals headquarters before coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed reporters during his weekly day-after-game news conference Monday. Whisenhunt appeared unfazed when I solicited his thoughts on York's claim that San Francisco would win the NFC West this season despite an 0-5 start.

KTAR.com - E: Cardinals win unconventionally
Conventionally speaking, Sunday's win over the defending Super Bowl champs couldn't have been more unconventional. Congrats if you started Levi Brown on your fantasy team as the short yardage specialist near the goal line.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - KentSomers - Whiz on Mondays
A few quick notes after coach Ken Whisenhunt's Monday press conference.

KTAR.com - Doug's notes in Max Hall's debut as starter in NFL
- Opinions Entries at ktar.com

The Designed Rush, Week 5: Winning Despite Your QB, Presented By Todd Collins And Max Hall - SBNation.com
On a day where we couldn't escape the horror of the number 10, it was a horrible performance by a number 10 that gave it a bizarre grace note.

Examining Jed York's latest guarantee - NFC West Blog - ESPN
San Francisco 49ers president Jed York famously guaranteed a playoff appearance for his team last season. That one did not work out so well. York was back at it Monday.

Tampa Bay reaching 3-1, Brett Favre under investigation par for season in 2010 - Peter King - SI.com
The voice from across the country late Sunday night said what we all feel, if I'm not mistaken, about the 2010 NFL season. "What is normal in this league right now?'' Larry Fitzgerald, fan of the game, said from Arizona. "Such a strange year.'' It's Oct. 11, the Monday morning of Week 5, and the league is fresh out of unbeatens. (Last year, after five weeks, five perfect teams remained.) The Colts go 55 minutes without a touchdown, at home, against Kansas City. Half the free world picked the Cowboys to play the first home Super Bowl ever; instead, they're the worst team in the NFC East and have rendered Jerry Jones speechless.

Aaron Rodgers has concussion; surgery for Jermichael Finley - NFL - SI.com
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a concussion and will miss at least some practice time for the Green Bay Packers this week. His availability for Sunday's game against Miami is unclear.

NFL blows out baseball in TV ratings | ProFootballTalk.com
The NFL's dominance over the American television landscape continues. Sunday night's Eagles-49ers game drew an 11.7 overnight rating, easily topping the 3.9 rating for the Phillies-Reds baseball playoff game.

Delhomme has a new ankle sprain | ProFootballTalk.com
Jake Delhomme took a pain-killing injection to be ready to play with his high ankle sprain on Sunday. He wound up replacing Seneca Wallace during the game, and promptly suffered another injury.

John Clayton's Last Call - ESPN
We learned Sunday that divisional games should be close this year regardless of history. The Chargers owned the Raiders heading into Week 5, but Oakland was able to end a 13-game losing streak with a 35-27 victory. Eighteen of the 26 divisional games played this season have been decided by eight points or less

Cowboys bench Leonard Davis, possibly for good | ProFootballTalk.com
Cowboys right guard Leonard Davis hasn't missed a start since signing a seven-year, $49.6 million contract to leave Arizona for Dallas during the 2007 offseason. It appears that may change shortly.

Injuries derailing Packers' season - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
This is why preseason performances rarely matter. It’s why predictions in August are a joke. And it’s why five weeks into the NFL season, there isn’t a single undefeated team left.

Improving Giants, falling Texans, more Snap Judgments - Don Banks - SI.com
Musings, observations and the occasional insight from a field-goal filled Week 5 of NFL action ...

49ers find a new excruciating way to lose | ProFootballTalk.com
There were two really sad, memorable moments from Sunday night's 27-24 Eagles victory over the 49ers.

Mark Clayton out for year, but Rams don't want Devin Thomas | ProFootballTalk.com
The Rams have lost their top receiver for the season. Again.

Cowboys have no cause to celebrate - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
If the Dallas Cowboys miss the playoffs in 2010 -- and they took a major step in that direction Sunday -- one of the most enduring images will be right tackle Marc Colombo landing on his backside after chest-bumping tight end Jason Witten during a touchdown celebration. The NFL has a rule that players "can't go to the ground" when celebrating touchdowns -- even if the fall and subsequent somersault is a result of a right tackle's poor coordination.

Wrap-up: Eagles 27, 49ers 24 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers following their 27-24 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles at Candlestick Park on Sunday night:

Week Five Monday 10-pack | ProFootballTalk.com
The log-sawing is over, the 10-pack is done, and there's actually a little news that has been incorporated into this week's collection of story lines. So read on. It's Monday morning, and you're just sitting there doing nothing anyway.

Power Rankings revisited: Week 5 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals were no match for New Orleans in the playoffs last season when Kurt Warner was still playing. They handled the defending Super Bowl champs Sunday, winning 30-20, with rookie Max Hall making his first NFL start and Warner commentating from the Fox broadcast booth. It's been that kind of season in the NFL.

NFC West QB rankings through Week 5 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
My weekly look at where NFC West quarterbacks stand (trending arrows indicate general direction, not necessarily a change in ranking from the previous week):

Bears vs. Panthers - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
Julius Peppers batted the screen pass in the air, darted to the side and made a diving interception at the line of scrimmage The five-time Pro Bowl defensive end rose to his feet with the ball in his right hand and put his left index finger to the edge of his facemask. The crowd didn't hush, but booed even more. What else could they do? Peppers had used one of his freakishly athletic plays to send his old team into an even deeper tailspin.

Buccaneers vs. Bengals - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
Josh Freeman had no timeouts to use and a packed stadium screaming for him to make another inexperienced mistake that would decide the game. Uh-uh, not this time. These baby Bucs are growing up.

Rams vs. Lions - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
The Detroit Lions moved a step closer toward putting their miserable past behind them, winning for the first time this season and by their largest margin in 15 years.

Giants vs. Texans - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
The New York Giants found some offense to go with that powerful defensive front.

Broncos vs. Ravens - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
The Denver Broncos should have seen it coming: another beatdown in Baltimore by the bruising, no-nonsense Ravens.

Falcons vs. Browns - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
Kroy Biermann needed oxygen. Knocking the air out of the Cleveland Browns left him winded.

Chiefs vs. Colts - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
Peyton Manning didn't have a touchdown pass or throw for 300 yards, so along comes backup running back Mike Hart to rescue the Indianapolis Colts and hand the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss of the season.

Jaguars vs. Bills - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
The Jacksonville Jaguars could afford mistakes and still win. They were playing one of the NFL's worst teams, the winless Buffalo Bills .

Packers vs. Redskins - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
For the fourth time in five weeks, the nerves mounted along the Washington Redskins sideline as the game once again came down the final snap. They're finding all sorts of ways to win - except, that is, by taking a knee.

Titans vs. Cowboys - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
Jason Witten scored a touchdown and handed the football to Marc Colombo so the burly offensive lineman could spike it. Then they leaped and bumped chests, with Colombo losing his balance on the landing and tumbling across the end zone. Pretty silly, eh? The Tennessee Titans will be laughing about it for a long time.

Chargers vs. Raiders - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
Just when it looked as if Philip Rivers would lead another late drive to crush the Raiders, Oakland's beleaguered defense came up with the big play. Michael Huff knocked the ball out of Rivers' hand and Tyvon Branch returned the fumble 64 yards for a score to help the Raiders snap their 13-game losing streak to San Diego with a 35-27 Sunday over their AFC West rivals.

Eagles vs. 49ers - Recap - October 10, 2010 - NFL - Football - SI.com
While the Philadelphia Eagles came together just fine behind Kevin Kolb , the San Francisco 49ers appeared to be coming apart at the seams until Alex Smith led a thrilling fourth-quarter rally that fell just short.

Alphonso Smith is Carlton Banks (via iraxter)