The Arizona Cardinals got the win, and there were plenty of good things to like. What wasn't so good? Here are five things.
It's not often in the NFL that a team wins after losing the turnover battle. Arizona was -2 on the day with three turnovers. Another Carson Palmer pick on another underthrown ball and two fumbles, both of which were in the Cardinals own territory. The team's offense struggles enough; adding turnovers into the mix makes it even harder for the team to win. This trend needs to end!
This may not be a completely fair to the defense but they cannot drop INTs. Karlos Dansby had two opportunities himself that he has to make. While they were hard catches they need to be made to get the defense off the field and the offense more opportunities. And while for most teams sacking the other teams QB three times would be good enough, this could have been a repeat performance of a seven sack game. Several times defenders flew by or missed Case Keenum. It may not be fair to expect the defense to be perfect but in all reality until the offense shows it can win a game on their own the defense needs to be stellar each game.
Against the Texans defense this is actually not a bad number. Unless you averaged five yards a carry with your rookie phenom running back Andre Ellington. Rashard Mendenhall did have two good runs in the second half that made you think, ‘okay maybe he can be trusted'...until he fumbled at a critical point in the game. Was his momentum stopped? Definitely. Should he still have protected the ball like his first born child? Absolutely. Multiple times Mendenhall danced when he should have plowed forward. A third-and-one sticks out to me when he attempted to bounce outside instead of run through a DB. All he needed was a yard and he tried to bounce it out? Mendenhall needs to learn he isn't a scat back and focus on creating contact and punishing defenders.
Larry Fitzgerald was the best WR on the field yet he was held to three catches for 23 yards. He was called for a questionable offensive PI that did negate a catch, yet overall he was ineffective. Is he slowing down? Is Palmer just not forcing it his way to avoid INTs? Or was Larry the perfect decoy to open up the rest of the team? Whatever is going on here the team needs a complete game from all the WRs. Something like the St. Louis game in which Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts all had over 80 yards receiving.
I admit I'm stretching it here. The Cardinals were penalized five times for 29 yards. Three of those were false start penalties which often killed the Cardinal's drives. The line did only allow one sack, an impressive feat when facing the talent they faced out home last night but the penalties do similar damage.
Overall I thought the Cardinals played well against a very good defense. It was hard to find five negatives and while it wasn't a perfectly called game, I found the play calling overall to be excellent. We saw screens, quick passes and TE's actually doing some work. Next week against the Jaguars should be a good game to see how the offense can play against a less than average defense in comparison to how they have played against some good and very good defenses they have faced to far (Carolina, Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, St. Louis, and New Orleans).