The Arizona Cardinals took care of business against perhaps the worst team in the league, defeating the winless Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
What can we learn from the win?
The Cardinals can commit to running the ball
Arizona ran the ball 37 times for 123 yards. That is a lot of carries and plenty of yards, but it wasn't great production at 3.3 yards per carry. What was even more impressive was how many times Stepfan Taylor ran the ball. After getting a combined six carries in the team's first six games, he got 12 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Maybe it was the game plan against the league's second-worst rush defense, but after talking about how the Cardinals need to run the ball more and better, they did.
Bruce Arians might actually have been serious about Andre Ellington's touches
Remember when Arians said he wanted to get Ellington "25-30 touches"? We all laughed at the notion as Arians hyperbole. After Sunday, we see he wasn't lying. Ellington carried the ball 24 times and caught six passes -- 30 touches. Those 30 touches combined for 160 yards and led the team in both rushing and receiving.
Can he keep it up? That is the question.
Carson Palmer's luck ran out
The veteran quarterback finally threw his first interception of the season. It was a pass that was a little bit high for tight end John Carlson, who got a hand on it, only to tip it up in the air and have it land in the arms of Charles Woodson.
Palmer had thrown two or three other passes this season that should have been intercepted but weren't.
The defense still had situational letdowns
Arizona has not finished quarters well. On Sunday, Oakland got 10 points late in the second quarter after the offense had built up a 14-0 lead.
There was a big play -- Derek Carr finding Brice Butler for a 55-yard pass play. That led to a touchdown, and then Palmer's interception led to a field goal, cutting the lead to four before the half.
First place feels good
With the win, they improved to 5-1. San Francisco fell to 4-3, getting blown out by Peyton Manning and the Broncos, and Seattle fell to 3-3. That is a two-game lead in the loss column over both teams, plus Arizona currently holds a tiebreak over San Fran because of the win they had head-to-head.
There is a tough road to traverse the rest of the way, but rattling off five wins in six games, they are in a perfect position to play from in front rather than having to rally and rely on other teams to help them.
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