Let's take a look at what went right, and what went wrong, in the close victory over Kansas City.
1) The run game
Who knew that Kerynn Williams would eventually have a 100 yard rushing game for the Cardinals? In fact, who even knew about Kerynn Williams? Williams, who was just signed to the team last week to aid a run game that was still missing its starting RB, rushed 19 times for 100 yards on Sunday. It was a glorious sight indeed, and one Cardinals fans haven't gotten to witness a lot this season. All eyes will now be on Williams, as Andre Ellington has been sent to the IR.
2) The 2nd Half
After letting up two TDs to Jamaal Charles in the 1st half, the Cardinals defense rebounded and went on to hold the Chiefs scoreless for the entire second half of the game. In addition, Stanton and the offense did just enough to get the lead after a touchdown-less 1st half. It was good to see the team get it together after halftime.
3) The Rush Defense
Looking at just the numbers, the rush defense wasn't stellar. The Chiefs had 126 yards rushing on 17 plays total, and that isn't a great stat, given the fantastic performances this Cardinals defense has churned out. However, besides a 63 yard touchdown run from Jamaal Charles early in the 1st quarter, the Chiefs' RBs were more or less shut out, as the Cardinals only gave up 28 more yards to Charles off 12 carries for the rest of the game. While you can't give up big plays like the Charles TD run and expect to come away with wins every time, the defense was able to regroup, and for that, we'll count it as a positive.
4) Pressure on the QB
The defense sacked Kansas City QB Alex Smith a total of five times - two from DE Frostee Rucker, one from DE Calais Campbell, one from CB Patrick Peterson, and one from LB Alex Okafor. Now THAT'S how you win ball games.
5) Stanton threw a meaningful touchdown
QB Drew Stanton didn't have a fantastic game by any means. In fact, his performance could be described as "eh, good enough". But that's all the Cardinals have been asking from him. Late in the 4th quarter, with 3:26 left to play, Stanton was able to nail a 26 yard TD pass to Jaron Brown for the go-ahead score. He then promptly made the 2-point conversion to put the Cardinals up a FG. He battled through an injury throughout the game, made some great throws, and most importantly of all, he didn't have any turnovers. His previous two games were less-than-desirable, so a performance like this is definitely a positive.
1) Chandler Catanzaro
What happened to the rookie phenom? After breaking the NFL record for most consecutive FGs made to start a career, Catanzaro has started to falter. It's becoming a concern, given that his mistakes have had the potential to cost entire games. While Catanzaro made 3 FGs on Sunday, he also missed 2, one late in the 1st half, and another late in the 4th quarter. In this last stretch of the season, Catanzaro just can't miss FG attempts like the ones he did against the Chiefs.
2) The entire 1st half
Wow, that wasn't fun to watch. After a Catanzaro FG on the 1st drive, the Cardinals defense went out and immediately gave up a 63 yard TD to Charles. Then, in the 2nd quarter, after another Catanzaro FG, Charles brought in a pass from Smith for an 18 yard TD. Besides the FGs, there were no scores from the offense. That's as Cardiac Cards as it gets.
It wouldn't be an Arizona game without an injury report. Fresh off the IR, LB Matt Shaughnessy went down, and we can only hope that he won't miss any more playing time than he already has. CB Antonio Cromartie also went down with a leg injury, and had to be carted off from the field. At this point, my guess is that him missing the upcoming Thursday night matchup against the Rams is a possibility. And finally, to top it all off, RB Andre Ellington was officially put on the IR due to a hernia in his hip, ending his 2014 campaign. While Kerynn Williams' performance helps ease the pain, Ellington will definitely be missed.
From what I saw in the game, the defense needs to improve on its tackling. Take the Jamaal Charles TD run in the 1st quarter for example. Had the Cardinals wrapped him up on the first chance they got, Charles would have been limited to just a small gain. Instead, he was able to put 7 on the board. I know that Charles isn't the best example to use, given that he's been doing that to defenses all season, but the point still stands. The Cardinals need to take the opportunities that they're given, and finish the play at initial contact.
5) The NFC West is still close
While the 49ers losing to the Raiders helped, the Seahawks were still able to come away with a win against the Eagles, keeping them just a game behind the Cardinals. With three tough divisional games to close out the season, the Cardinals have to be looking behind their backs as they near the end of the regular season.
At the end of the day, the Cardinals got to 10 wins, and boosted their Playoff chances. I'll count that as the biggest positive of them all.