After losing at home in a poor second half earlier this year, the Cardinals were able to thoroughly dominant the Rams in St. Louis during the second half after a decent first half. It was a much needed win as the Seahawks whooped the Minnesota Vikings and look to be mounting a late season comeback for the wildcard. With the win the Cardinals are now 10-2, the first time since 1948 as the Fox Network noted, and are 4-1 in the division.
Now to what we learned:
Minimizing turnovers leads to wins
The Cardinals struggled the past few weeks and created close games due to their inability to protect the football and cause turnovers. Against St. Louis, the Cardinals only had one interception and still failed to score off the turnover. However, because the Cardinals didn't turnover the ball they forced the Rams to rely on their own offense to score.
Run blocking matters
With Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington injured there was a concern the running game was going to continue to struggle as they have in a few last games. David Johnson instead finished 22 rushes for 99 yards or 4.5 yards per carry and since he had a close fumble, Kerwynn Williams played gaining 6 rushes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
The team finished with 175 yards on the ground. Much of the success has to be given to the offensive line's ability to create holes inside. Ted Larsen and Mike Iupati came out and allowed the Cardinals to become a two dimensional offense again.
Winning ugly isn't acceptable
Last week the Cardinals allowed the 49ers to gain over 300 yards on offense. In response the defense, who looked lost during portions of the game, didn't take a day off and looked much improved this week even with the injuries.
Justin Bethel supports his new contract
Early in the week Bethel signed a 3-year deal for $15 million before his first career start at cornerback with Jerraud Powers injured. Targeted all day, he overcame first half struggles and overall finished with four tackles and two pass deflections. He definitely has the athleticism to be a starting cornerback. It will be interesting to watch how he performs against better offenses.
Huge time of possession difference
Because of the success in running the ball and the Rams playing from behind, the Cardinals were able to keep Todd Gurley to only nine rushes and the Rams offense off the field. This meant the Cards held onto the ball for nearly 40 minutes today and almost double that of the Rams.
Please feel free to point out what stood out to you in the comments. below. Next up, the Cardinals will need to face off against the 8-4 Minnesota Vikings at home.