The Cardinals were not good on Sunday. They squandered away an impressive first half by consistently shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and sloppy plays. But, there were some actually good things we watched, it just doesn't seem to matter given the games outcome.
Regardless here is what I am taking away from Sunday:
1) Ball Movement
The Cardinals finished with 469 yards of total offense. I know most media outlets will start saying their predictions of the Cardinals going 5-11 are coming true, but a bad team doesn't have that production. It's not like the Steelers were missing Big Ben on defense.
2) John Brown
10 catches for 196 yards. That shouldn't be real. Brown was a deep threat all afternoon with an average of 19.6 yards per catch. After being overshadowed by Fitzgerald the previous 5 weeks, Brown had a coming out party. Question is if he can keep it up.
3) Drew Butler
We all malign Butler for his terrible punts every week, it's only fair to give him praise for when he performs well. Even though his strength is his accuracy and not a strong leg. He averaged 43 yards on 3 attempts, his longest being a 48 yard bomb. He really needs to keep that kind of performance up.
4) Carson Palmer
His only mistake was the last interception when he forced the ball to John Brown in tight coverage without realizing Steelers safety Mike Mitchell was there too. Can you blame him though? Palmer carried the team on his back all day with a penalty filled offensive line and no rushing game. His had to play the game Pittsburgh wanted and he still came out looking good.
5) Offensive line
If Jonathan Cooper doesn't get torn apart by Arians for his penalties and get beat than it will snow tomorrow in the Valley. Jared Veldheer straight was beaten like a drum by James Harrison and Cameron Heyward. The Steelers defense shut down the running game and while their good, they aren't that good. It was an all around poor performance by the Cardinals offensive lineman.
6) Michael Floyd
I swear Floyd, I want to like you. I really do. I mean as fans we were talking about you as the new number 1 receiver just two years ago, but man have you sucked.
One touchdown catch was negated by an offensive pass interference call. Sure it was ticky-tacky, but this is a consistent issue when Floyd plays. A second touchdown pass was incomplete because he didn't drag his feet. Listen, I know it's hard to do that. I certainly don't have that talent. But Floyd's in the NFL the expectation comes with the paycheck.
Michael Floyd looked like Early Doucet yesterday. Remind me. Am I supposed to want him back next year?
Yesterday was a case study on how not to remain focused and professional. Instead of coming out in the second half and building on their dominating, but low scoring affair, the Cardinals became frustrated and crumbled. Instead of consistently pounding the ball and wearing down the Steelers defense, they played how the Steelers wanted them to play. The defense by the fourth quarter became frustrated and started to make mistakes.
I don't believe they thought themselves better. I just don't think the Cardinals have actually had to face adversity and good teams. Even in the Rams game, the Cards lost because they beat themselves. Yesterday, the Steelers beat the Cards and showed the blueprint for the rest of the NFL.
I am not a subscriber to the philosophy you can't complain about the referees when they are bad. The Steelers were getting away with at least three or four pass interference calls yesterday. Meanwhile, the refs called two extremely questionable PI calls on the Cards. If you're going to be strict at least be consistent.
Now, the really bad penalties that killed the Cards were blatant holding penalties on the offensive line. Kudos to the line judges for getting those correct (which were the majority of the penalties).
That was quite cathartic.