The Cardinals have all but ensured themselves a trip to the playoffs. That alone is a positive amongst a season of turmoil at every position. But what are some bigger factors? Lets examine.
Running Game has a spark: Who would have thought the addition of an unknown practice squad player, could spark a rushing attack that was one of the worst all season? Kerwynn Williams has been nothing short of remarkable in his first two games of his career. After rushing for 100 yards last week, he ran for 75 more this week, and is averaging close to five yards per carry. Compare that to Ellington's 4.1 over the course of the season. The addition of Jonathan Cooper has been huge as well, as he has opened up semi-truck sized holes for both Stepfan Taylor and Williams to get to the second level.
Offensive Line: While Jonathan Cooper has been a huge piece, the offensive line as a whole has been outstanding. For the game they gave Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley plenty of time to throw. Outside of the sack on Stanton, and a few times the pocket collapsed, the miscues came from the quarterbacks.
Defensive Pressure: For two straight weeks, Frostee Rucker has been the name called the most on defense. Last week he was eating up gaps, and forcing errant throws from Alex Smith. This week he was eating up gaps, getting sacks, and forcing errant throws. His surge is coming at the right time for the Cardinals After the team started sluggish, they have turned it on with Alex Okafor quickly blooming, and the defensive line getting off their blocks.
Injuries: Yet another rash of injuries. The Cardinals lose Drew Stanton, for a possibly prolonged amount of time. They nearly had Frostee Rucker out, but he quickly returned. The Cardinals are the most snake bitten team this season, despite what anyone else says.
Offensive Inconsistencies: The offense could not find any groove. While they did move the ball, they were unable to score a touchdown. There's a silver lining in this though, and we'll get to that in our bonus good round. Drew Stanton started off well hitting his first eight, but finished 4/12 to end his night, good for 60%. The run game was excellent for the second straight game, but it is not something that will drive us down the field.
NFL Rules: This is not to bash the officials. This is more a "why is this a rule" type thing. Coaches challenging turnovers or touchdowns. Now I know they're automatically reviewed, but in the heat of the moment, and a coach sees something that makes him want to challenge a ruling, why should the team be punished? Clearly you're not thinking "Oh they'll challenge it" If they don't? You have to burn a timeout to get them to take a look. I just think it's dumb to hurt a team for a coach wanting the officials to take a look at something.
11-3 for first time in Arizona:
The Cardinals secured their first 11 win season since moving to the desert. It also ties the most wins in a single season for the team, and with two games to go, they hope to top that.
First Thursday win since 1948:
The Cards have played 11 Thursday games since 1948, and all have resulted in losses. On their 12th try, they put that behind them.
First Road win without a touchdown since 1935:
The Cardinals killed three birds with one stone on Thursday. It was the first time since 1935 that the Cardinals went on the road and defeated an opponent without scoring a touchdown.
Larry Fitzgerald youngest to 900:
900 career receptions that is. At age 31, he beat the mark previously set by Andre Johnson when he hit 32. Calvin Johnson would be the next name on everybody's mind, but he's 300 receptions away from Fitzgerald, at the age of 29.
Next up is the Seattle Seahawks for the teams final home game of the 2014 regular season.