The Arizona Cardinals got their fifth straight win and ninth overall. The got a division road win, which are very important, especially when the Cardinals lost one at home earlier in the year. They got a win on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, something the team hadn't done since 2008. It was a 19-13 win and, although it was ugly, they stay atop the NFC West.
Here's what we learned:
Carson Palmer or Carson Newton?
The Cardinals took the lead on an eight-yard touchdown run by...Carson Palmer. Yes, the man leading the NFL in touchdown passes entering Sunday didn't throw for one, but he scored the winning one with his legs. Oh, and he is not very smooth with his celebrations. He awkwardly spiked the ball and almost looked like he hurt himself.
If you have issue with Cam Newton's TD celebrations, you're really going to hate Carson Palmers. pic.twitter.com/KV4RMUADhJ— HoldenKushner (@Holdenradio) November 29, 2015
Bad teams can't get out of their own way
The 49ers played pretty well, especially defensively, but they kept making mistakes. They couldn't overcome them. They were penalized 13 times, including multiple pass interference calls in the end zone. They dropped an easy interception in the end zone. They let bad calls get to them instead of overcoming them. They outgained the Cardinals offensively, but didn't convert on a single third down.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers left the game with a calf injury. Running back Chris Johnson left the game with a knee injury. Andre Ellington left the game with a foot injury. All this and the Cardinals already had three defensive linemen inactive. Bruce Arians feared Powers' injury was his Achilles. We will see if any have to miss any time.
SF was good against the run
A week after the Niners allowed Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls to run wild for over 200 yards, they held Arizona to only 70 yards on 29 carries. Arizona even tried to run the ball consistently and just couldn't get gains.
Blaine Gabbert isn't terrible
We all have been making Blaine Gabbert jokes. He isn't horrible. He isn't great, but like David Fucillo mentioned in our game preview, he is kind of like Alex Smith. He was composed, he moved around well and he was quick to check down his throws.
Winning ugly doesn't matter
The Cardinals won in ugly fashion, but we should have expected it. San Fran had to be up for the game, having been embarrassed in Arizona earlier in the year. The Cardinals were coming off a pair of big, emotional wins on national TV against very talented teams. Even when you talk the talk, it is hard to maintain the same intensity. And, if we are being honest with ourselves, when it comes to winning on the road in the division, winning ugly really doesn't exist. There is winning and there is losing. The Cardinals got the win.