What went right, and what went wrong, in their 30-20 victory over the Washington Redskins?
Receiving: Just a week after perhaps one of the most atrocious games ever produced by Cardinals' receivers, the WR corps bounced back. The return of Palmer meant the return of the 1-2 receiving punch known as Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, as the Cardinals top two receivers both brought in touchdowns. It was great to see Palmer connecting with his two main guys, and it was especially gratifying to watch Fitz get his first TD on the season. Yes, there were a few drops, but overall, the team's receiving showed a huge improvement after the terrible Broncos game.
Run Defense: Calais Campbell's injury hurt an already depleted defensive line, and with LB Matt Shaughnessy also going down, many people were concerned with how the Cardinals' dominant run defense would respond. They responded by holding the Redskins' RBs to just 67 yards total. It was definitely a confidence-booster for an injury-stricken defense.
Interceptions: With Robert Griffin III out due to a dislocated ankle, the Redskins have been starting Kirk Cousins in his place. The Cardinals defense took advantage of the inexperienced Cousins, intercepting him three times: Once by CB Jerraud Powers, and twice by S Rashard Johnson. The second of Johnson's interceptions was brought back for a pick-6 to end the game.
Carson Palmer: Palmer's shoulder "woke up" late in the week, and with almost no practice, Palmer was thrust back into the starting role for the first time since Week 1. Palmer was dominant in the game, completing 28 of 44 passes for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not much else needs to be said when you consider this statistic: The Cardinals are the only team in the NFL that have not given up an interception this season.
The Pass Rush: Linebacker Alex Okafor had two sacks on the day. Could we have found our pass-rush answer?
Kicking: After completing three field goals (33 yards, 49 yards, and 37 yards), rookie K Chandler Catanzaro remains perfect this season, as he has hit all 14 of his FG attempts. Maybe it's time for all of us to buy some Catanzaro merchandise?
Penalties: 14 penalties for 108 yards. That was rough. I'm not sure why the Cardinals committed so many penalties in this game, but they've been especially bad about penalties the last couple of weeks. Coach Arians will need to figure something out to get the team back on track.
Tackling: This was a major issue for the defense. The Redskins got an absurd number of yards due to poor tackling by the Cardinals. The defense's inability to bring opposing players down was a major reason why the Redskins ended with 407 total offensive yards.
Defending Tight Ends: The age old Arizona dilemma returned, as TE Jordan Reed brought in 8 receptions for 82 yards. When you play in a division that features Zach Miller and Vernon Davis, you need to correct this "Achilles heel" immediately.
DeSean Jackson: Washington's #1 WR finished the day with 115 yards and a TD (which S Tyrann Mathieu took the blame for). This isn't a pretty stat, but it's important to note that Jackson did all this with just three catches, averaging 38.3 yards per reception. This relates to the tackling woes of the defense.
All in all, it was a good win, especially considering all the injuries that the team has had, and that this was Palmer's first start since Week 1. The Cardinals' next game will be in Oakland to take on Derek Carr and the Raiders. Hopefully, they don't give up over 100 yards in penalties.