The Arizona Cardinals got a win on Sunday night, defeating the Oakland Raiders 30-23 on an 11-yard touchdown run by Marion Grice with 36 second left in the game. There were struggles and highlights, as games tend to go. What did we learn in the win?
Protecting Carson Palmer might be an issue to start the season
The Cardinals gave up three first half sacks to the Raiders, two to Khalil Mack. Mack was beating everyone one on one. He beat Bradley Sowell. He made Jared Veldheer look bad. But while it looked like to everyone watching the game there were issue in pass protection, head coach Bruce Arians said it was more of being out of sync and Palmer holding on to the ball too long.
The run defense won't be a problem and James Bettcher loves to blitz
Arizona's defense gave up only 37 yards rushing for the game on 1.8 yards per carry, but when the starters were in, they gave up one whole yard. As for the blitzing, I don't have the count, but Bettcher was not lying when he said the defense would remain aggressive. He sent blitzers from everywhere and it would appear Tyrann Mathieu will be asked to do it a lot this season.
Logan Thomas got help from his teammates
He has been criticized a bunch this preseason, especially with how Phillip Sims has looked, but Thomas had teammates not come through for him. His one preseason interception should have been a catch by Jaron Brown and, had Brittan Golden not dropped a touchdown and had Ifeanyi Momah not misplayed a beautiful throw, Thomas would have two touchdown throws.
This time Momah was clutch. After a first down sack made it second and 16, Momah caught a pass and dragged several defenders several yards to the sticks to get the first down. Then he caught the ball in the middle of the field, turned upfield and took a hard hit from two defenders. Instead of falling down, he kept going, kept hiis helmet from falling off and turned the play into 38 yards.
Still no pass rush
Alameda Ta'amu and Kareem Martin had second half sacks on consecutive plays, but the starting defense coudl not generate a pass rush from. Alex Okafor played very well, but he was a beast against the run. He did not get to Derek Carr.
Oakland's defense looks legit
Bruce Arians said the Oakland defense looked a lot like Seattle's defense. It treated the Cardinals offense much in the same way. They held the Arizona starting offense to 115 total yards.
Quarterbacks not named Palmer are effective
Palmer finished 8/22 for 103 yards and two picks. Drew Stanton was 8/9 for 58 yards and a touchdown. Phillip Sims was 3/4 for 29 yards and a score. Logan Thomas was 3/5 for 65 yards.