Being perfect never tasted so good, well partly because this is the first time the Cards have started a season 3-0 since 1974, and heck I wasn't even an entity back then. On Sunday, the Cardinals actually played a complete game and were impressive in all facets on the game. As expected the defense continued to play at an elite level, but the offense was actually more than just game managing, they were going for the win. Now before I give to much away let's get to the point of this post, looking at five positives from the 27-6 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles
Hit the jump for those five positives
1. Kevin Kolb
That was easily Kevin Kolb's best game as an Arizona Cardinal. The numbers aren't going to knock anyone's socks off (17-22, 222 yds, 2 TDs), but just from watching the game you could tell Kolb was feeling it. Facing one of the best pass rushing defensive line units in the NFL, Kolb demonstrated great pocket presence, stepping up in the pocket rather than rolling out of it, and found the open targets in stride more often than not. After going through an entire pre-season of neither Skelton nor Kolb grabbing the reigns, we may finally be witnessing the end of the controversy. My money is on Kolb getting the start against Miami next week.
2. Kerry Rhodes, as Adrian Wilson
The entire Birdgang fanbase shared in a collective groan in agony when the inactive players list was released, listing, among others, Strong Safety superstar Adrian Wilson as out. Cue Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes was all over the field in the first half, collecting 4 solo tackles, a sack, and a huge forced fumble that SS fill in James Sanders took 93 yards for the touchdown on the last play of the first half. Add to that, Rhodes' sack and forced fumble wouldn't have even been possible were it not for Rhodes stuffing Desean Jackson at the 1 yard line on what looked like a sure touchdown. What the stat sheet won't show is the force behind all of Rhodes' tackles on Sunday, notably punishing Brent Celek on two seperate occasions, with very Wilson-esque hits.
3. Young guns stepping up
Murmurs of bust we're starting to circulate after two unproductive debut games for first round draft pick Michael Floyd, but the former Fighting Irish pulled in his first professional catch and touchdown on the same play. Demonstrating excellent concentration and patience, Floyd juggled a catch through two Philly defenders before securing the ball and walking into the endzone. Ryan Williams also had himself a very good second half when the Cardinals were shutting the door on any comeback hopes, reeling off 83 yards on the ground. We also had a couple Housler sightings after Heap was listed as inactive, 2 catches for 18 yards.
4. Scho and Acho and Groves
We've come to expect this type of game from Acho, but Quinton Groves and O'Brien Schofield both had themselves pretty good games on defense. Schofield had one of the first sacks on Vick, and overall seemed to have a pretty good day rushing off the edge. Quinton Groves continues to revive his career in the desert, as he collected another sack today, as well as nearly blocking a second punt. Acho once again played very well, and while he was not credited with a sack, he was right there for one of a few plays. These young gentlemen are doing everything in their power to prove that the OLB position is not the weakness on the Cardinals defense
5. Shutting the door
Nightmares of Baltimore 2011 began entering my head at the end of the second half, and despite the fact that the offense didn't manage much in that second half, the defense held strong against a desperate Philly comeback, and ensured the game never got close. Despite the fumble at the end of the second half, Philadelphia did put together a fairly good drive, and continued that offensive momentum through to the first two drives of the second half. However, all they could muster was six point through three solid drives, and that's as close as the game got. Finally the Cardinals were able to win a game without giving their fanbase anxiety attacks.
It goes without saying that the defense was dominant in this game, and that would easily be the biggest positive of the game. But from the point of looking for positive progress, these five positives (if they continue) will lead to similar success.