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Cardinals vs. Dolphins analysis: A little thing that led to two big plays

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Arizona hadn't run the ball much, but one running play set up a big touchdown.

Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Arizona Cardinals did not run the ball much against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, but one running play in particular was a reason why Arizona was able to score their second touchdown of the game.

It was the fourth quarter and up tot hat point, the Cardinals had only run the ball eight times and had struggled in pass protection. At that point, they decided to go with more protection and go with two tight ends or two backs. On first down, the play was a two-yard gain on a running play by Ryan Williams. That seemed harmless enough, except what it did was put the thought into the minds of the defenders.

On second down, they had two tight ends and Kevin Kolb fakes the handoff to Williams. As you can see here, the defender who was to cover Rob Housler hesitated and looked into the backfield. That is all Kolb needed and he hit Housler in the seam for a 33-yard gain.

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The same thing happened on the very next play. Kolb fakes the handoff to Williams to the right and both Karlos Dansby and Roberts' defender bite. Dansby leaves Jeff King and the cornerback hesitates just a split second looking back at Williams. Roberts cuts inside and gets behind him and scores on a 46-yard touchdown play. You will notice that King was going to be open for a moment as well if Roberts' man stays with him.

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If Arizona does not go with the running play on first down, it is unlikely that the Dolphins bite on those two plays. After all, Arizona had run only eight times previously.

ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando shared how Kolb is having great success on play-action.

On Sunday, Kolb was 5/5 for 115 yards and two touchdowns on play fakes.

On the season, Kolb is 10/14 for 201 yards and four TDs on play-action.

So even though they are not having great success running the ball, they are running the ball just enough to give opposing defenses something to think about.

Additionally, the team is scheming for it.

"I think we've done a good job of scheming, tying it in with some of our tendencies run-wise, formation-wise, and I think that's what's helped us," coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday.

You wouldn't think that a two-yard run would be so important. In that moment, it was.