The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Baltimore Ravens 26-18 on Monday Night Football. We know that. We also know Pro Football Focus focuses on all sorts of analytics and has a grading system. What did they have to say about the Cardinals and Ravens after this game?
The Cardinals offensive line played well against the Ravens defensive front. In fact, Mike Iupati continued to play well. He did give up a sack, but his overall +4.1 grade indicates he had many, many positive impacts. More notably, he kept Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams quiet with a 0.0 grade. Watching the game, you hardly noticed him and he had been one of the most impactful players up front in that defense.
Quarterback Carson Palmer graded out a +5.0 and continues to be PFF's highest graded quarterback in the NFL. Note it does not mean the best, but the highest graded. Looking at that system they use to grade players, he has made more positive impacts on plays and less negative impacts than anyone else.
On the defensive side of the ball, the star was Tyrann Mathieu, who was graded +5.9 and made plays in all phases. He had many "stops" and was targeted eight times in the passing game. He allowed only 21 yards in eight targets. Patrick Peterson was left alone again, which shows what people think of him. He was targeted only three times all game. He allowed three catches for 38 yards. He has been a star this year.
Markus Golden and Dwight Freeney did well. Golden was a +4.2 for the game and, while he did not get a sack, he was credited with seven pressures. Freeney had a sack, a hit and two other pressures in 21 pass rushing attempts.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was very effective against the Cardinals blitz. They blitzed 21 times during the game. The last one clinched the win for Arizona when it led to the interception by Tony Jefferson in the end zone, but before that throw, Flacco was sacked twice on blitzes, but was 14/18 for 139 yards and a TD when the Cardinals sent more than four rushers.
Key PFF stat on the season:
Running back Chris Johnson now has 42 percent of his rushing yards on rushes of 15 yards or more. Who said he can't be an impact player anymore?