Welcome back to the NFL regular season! We're finally live and the back to games that count! What a win yesterday! We don't care if it's rain or shine, win or lose, there's always rage following a game and this game is no exception. Where to begin?
No points to close out the half? The Cardinals were sloppy making their way down the field as they were out of time outs and trying to close out the first half ahead of the New Orleans Saints. But sloppy play, poor protection and a lack of sense of urgency killed the drive and the Cardinals limped into the half. Where were the sideline throws? How about a dump out of the backfield to Ellington, heck, it was working for the Saints! But instead we see the franchise QB who is returning from season ending knee surgery scrambling and taking a hit that was completely unnecessary.
Carson Palmer needs to learn how to take a knee. Speaking of limping, watching Carson Palmer in obvious pain and limping to spike the ball was gruesome. That was one of the longest half times in recent memory as Cardinals fans held their breath to see how Carson Palmer would return from the locker room as he was obviously in pain when he left the field. I'm hoping they put some attention into teaching Palmer how to stop when running and safely two hand tagged without trying to slide in a knee brace. The season was clearly on the line based on the outcome of that slide. Let's avoid that in the future.
Injuries are scarier than ever before. With Ellington going down for at least the rest of the first game, and this offense and defense in great position to fight for the NFC West crown, if we learned anything Sunday it's that we'll need the very best players on the field to beat NFC West. It's the toughest division in football and suddenly there are three or four teams who showed real promise on opening weekend. The Cardinals CAN NOT have another season like last year. Next man up got them back to the post season and it left everyone with a sour taste in their mouth as the team was poised to make a deep run if only certain players had remained healthy. Again, injuries are scarier than ever before.
David Johnson has got some wheels! The Cardinals 3rd round pick has one reception for the year and it happened to be a slip screen which he rumbled over 50 yards for a touchdown! With Ellington's status unknown as of this writing seeing a combo of Johnson & Johnson should be dangerous until the Duke returns for his share of the workload.
We have a TE! Guys, we have a real TE!! So we lost Momah for the season after he had a stellar preseason and everyone was wondering who was going to step up in the Tight End room and be the pass catching TE that everyone has been expecting to help Palmer for the check down. Suddenly we've got Fells towering down the field on a deep strike and catching a touchdown pass in his debut. The Cardinals have found a stud in the familiar mold of recently successful TEs, he's a former basketball player with a wide wing span and is simply a gamer. I'm excited to see Fells and I'm even more excited to see the Cardinals suddenly have legitimate options all over the field, and Palmer plays incredibly well when he has a checkdown and a big target. Fells caught four passes, 82 yards, and one TD today, and Palmer had 307 yards and three scores with zero INTs (even though there were some sketchy opportunities.
Bonus: Larry Fitzgerald has not slowed down, he is still Larry-freaking-Fitzgerald. The Saints should consider themselves lucky they did not lose a player to IR with a season ending elbow injury after that flying elbow was delivered to Larry's groin. The crafty vet played with presence, coached the young players on the sideline, and was definitely the go-to when the stakes were high. Everyone knows what's on the line this season and Larry is playing like it every snap.
What's got you fired up after this win? Go Cardinals!