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Colts vs. Cardinals review: From Palmer to Floyd and the usual suspects on defense tear it up according to PFF

Looking at how Pro Football Focus graded the Cardinals in their win over the Colts.

Christian Petersen

Their impressive 40-11 victory was their fourth straight since dropping consecutive games to division rivals back in October, yet despite being one of three NFL teams without a loss since Week 8, there is still room for improvement on both sides of the ball for the Arizona Cardinals.

Yards and points are still being left on the field on offense, and on defense, early drives have led to too many points before they settle down.

That being said, the Indianapolis Colts were thoroughly demolished on Sunday, being outgained 410 to 239. Quarterback Andrew Luck didn't have a chance to complete anything downfield, as he was on the move more often than not and looking for check-down receivers.

Week 12 was Arizona's best performance of the 2013 season, and here's how graded the action.


WR Michael Floyd (+4.8)

Second-year receiver Michael Floyd was a monster for the second straight week against the Colts. His seven receptions for 104 yards (14.9 YPC) both led the team.

Though he was kept out of the end zone, he helped set up both early touchdowns to Larry Fitzgerald with big receptions to keep drives alive.

"Michael Floyd is going to impact the rest of this season -- and whether or not the Cardinals get into the postseason -- by his play and his production," said Ron Wolfley this week on Cardinals Underground. "You tell me Michael Floyd produces, and I'll tell you Larry Fitzgerald is going to continue to catch touchdown passes."

That is so true. You've all heard of a running back being a "Touchdown Vulture." That is Fitzgerald as long as Floyd does the dirty work and Fitz gets the red-zone touchdowns.

But as long as it's working and the Cardinals are winning, who cares how it gets done?

QB Carson Palmer (+1.9)

It's clear that Carson Palmer is more comfortable in head coach Bruce Arians' offense now than he was early in the season. The offense is playing better and, as a result, Palmer was awarded the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week award for his performance against the Colts.

Palmer completed 26 of 37 (70.3%) passes for 314 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 114.0 passer rating. According to, he is the first quarterback in Cardinals history with at least 300 passing yards, a 70 percent completion rate and a 110.0 rating in back-to-back games.

Not bad for an over-the-hill former No. 1 overall pick with more interceptions than everyone but Eli Manning and Geno Smith.

LG Daryn Colledge (-1.9)

Daryn Colledge allowed his first sack of the season against the Colts and was generally bullied throughout the game. He was driven back into Palmer on multiple drop-backs and allowed five pressures in all -- tied for his most of the season.

He allowed nearly 36 percent of the pressures Palmer faced on Sunday (5-of-14) and earned the lowest pass-blocking grade on the team (-1.3). It's not the end of the world, as Colledge has been among the best guards in the league this season. But it isn't good.


DE Calais Campbell (+4.2)

Continuing his Pro-Bowl-worthy season, Calais Campbell notched another seven quarterback pressures against Indy. He is three pressures away from setting a career high, and there are still five games to play in the regular season.

His pressure percentage is way up this season as well. Coming into 2013, Campbell had generated a pressure on 8.14 percent of pass-rushing snaps (171-of-2,101). After Sunday, he is getting a pressure on 10.15 percent of pass-rushing snaps (46-of-453).

The former Miami Hurricanes star nearly notched 2.5 sacks of Luck if not for the quarterback's ability to wiggle out of trouble. Campbell had him wrapped up twice before fellow defensive end Darnell Dockett helped him bring down the big signal-caller.

CB Patrick Peterson (+2.8)

His mission against Indy was to take away receiver T.Y. Hilton, and that's exactly what Patrick Peterson did. Hilton had five receptions for 38 yards (7.6 YPC) on Sunday, but when Peterson had him in coverage, he managed just one reception on five targets for a measly five yards.

Peterson shutting down the opposition's top receiver allows the defense to hone in on the other areas that can hurt them. In Sunday's case, that was Indy's run game. Running back Trent Richardson was held to his fourth-lowest yards-per-carry average, at just 2.14 YPC. Donald Brown, who had averaged 5.87 YPC leading up to the game, carried twice for one yard.

Peterson now finds himself ranked in the top 10 among other cornerbacks at PFF with a +9.3 overall grade. The Cardinals need him to be at his best the remainder of the season, because their season may hinge on whether he keeps DeSean Jackson, Michael Crabtree and the other teams' top receivers at bay.

OLB Matt Shaughnessy (-1.8)

Matt Shaughnessy was the Cardinals top-rated defender against the run on Sunday, at +1.4. But his inability to get pressure on Luck hurt his overall grade. He didn't play poorly otherwise. He was actually quite good. But a -2.4 pass-rushing grade looks bad no matter how you look at it.

Shaughnessy is the ranked fifth against the run among 3-4 outside linebackers this season, and he's been a big part of limiting running backs all season.

His ability to stay home when he's the backside linebacker on a run play has been a massive reason he's so highly rated. The defensive line often closes off the back's run lane, forcing him to cut it back, where Shaughnessy is waiting to either make the tackle or divert him into another linebacker.

These guys play really well together, obviously.