The Arizona Cardinals came and conquered to get a 31-14 win over the St. Louis Rams. The best record in the National Football League still belongs to Arizona.
Revenge of the Birds now presents you with the good and the bad from Sunday:
Making stops on third down
The Cardinals defense looked a little shaky to start of the game going down 7-0 early, but they were efficient on third down the whole game.
Calais Campbell led the team with two sacks on third down. Other third down sacks cam from Deone Bucannon and Alex Okafor. The constant pressure the Cardinals created forced the Rams overall third down efficiency to a mere 1/10, converting once at the end of the first half.
Halting the Run
Yes, the Cardinals failed to establish the run. However, stopping Rams running back Tre Mason was vital to the Cardinals success.
Tre Mason has not performed at the level of DeMarco Murray or even Andrew Ellington this year. His presence still has poses a threat to an opposing defense. Mason posted 48 yards on 14 carries after coming off a great game against San Francisco. This was due, once again, to the explosive defensive line that really held the team together.
Every time experts say he's lost his spark he puts on a performance like the one against the Rams. With nine receptions and 112 yards, he completely led the Cardinal offense. He consistently produced second effort after taking an initial hit.
His most important catch came on third down with six minutes left to play in the second quarter with the game tied at 7-7. His 14-yard catch allowed the Cardinals to get into field goal range and take the lead 10-3.
Fourth quarter defense
There is a reason that Patrick Peterson is the highest paid and arguably the best corner in the NFL. His two interceptions helped the Cardinals rally after a Carson Palmer injury. He also got his first career pick-six moments later.
As play continued and the Rams started to put together a comeback, Austin Davis fumbled and Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie and returned for a touchdown, ultimately sealing the Cardinals win by putting them up 31-14.
The Cardinals defense seems to be able to handle everything except tight ends. Last week they gave up 62 yards to Jason Witten and the week before and this week they allowed Jared Cook to pick up 84 yards and a touchdown.
Missed tackles and broken tackles plagued the Cardinals in the first half. Going up against Megatron next week will not prove well if they do not take him down on the first try.
The Rams defense has averaged 1.8 sacks up until the game against the Cardinals. The Cardinals had allowed an average of 1.6 sacks per game but they allowed St. Louis to record three sacks. Palmer was pressured, hurried, and knocked down multiple times. The running game was non-existent, too. They gained 28 yards on 22 carries.
Carson Palmer has been the core of the Cardinals offense since he has returned. He is now 6-0 as a starter. However, after leaving the game with a knee injury many feel will end his season, the Cardinals will be starting Drew Stanton for the rest of the season who is 2-1 as a starter this season. Arians says he is confident that the Cardinals can win the Super Bowl with Stanton starting.
Palmer's injury is obviously the real issue moving forward but we'll have to see how it plays out.
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