The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Carolina Panthers 22-6 on Sunday to improve their record to 3-2. It was a complete showcase of the defense, as they sacked Cam Newton seven times and intercepted him three times.
The Panthers took a 6-3 lead into halftime, but Arizona shut them out and scored 19 points in the final half. This was despite the struggles of quarterback Carson Palmer, who threw three interceptions, including two near the goalline.
The Cardinals took the lead in the third quarter, going 85 yards on 10 plays to take a 10-6 lead. After that, a Calais Campbell sack of Cam Newton in the end zone pushed the lead to 12-6.
A Jay Feely 50-yard field goal made it 15-6 and then Palmer closed the scoring with a TD pass to Jim Dray after Karlos Dansby intercepted Newton.
Arizona was dominate on Defense through the entire game, racking up three sacks in the first half, and an additional four in the second half. This game marked the return of Daryl Washington and he was definitely a forced to be reckoned with, racking up two of the seven sacks and picking off Cam Newton.
Offensively, the mistakes continued, with multiple holding calls and misreads costing us what could have been at least three points. New left tackle Bradley Sowell held his own for a lot of the second half. I recall him struggling early in the first quarter, and then he vanished, which is an excellent thing for him.
On the right side, Eric Winston rebounded after a rough two game stretch.
Andre Ellington was excellent. He collected 83 total yards on 11 touches(7-52 running 4-31 receiving) and looked like he could very well replace Mendenhall as the starter, until Mendenhall turned it on late.
I was not very high on the Defense heading into the season, but Bowles could very well make us forget about the Horton era if the Defense continues to play like this.
Patrick Peterson recorded a pick that would have given Arizona the lead heading into the half, if not for Palmers second pick of the day. He now has 3 picks in two games, and is on pace to surpass his seven picks from a season ago.