There were plenty of highlights from the Arizona Cardinals 31-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints last Sunday in Week 1. Many have raved about a couple of the receptions by tight end Darren Fells. However, the one that caught my eye was the touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to John Brown.
What impressed me is how patient everyone was, including quarterback Carson Palmer.
Here is the play, courtesy of Shaun Church.
Palmer moves right to buy time and the receivers have to change their routes. He looks left on the backside and then comes back to Brown, who makes the catch and then gets both feet in.
I asked Palmer about the okay after the game. This is what he said:
"Well with a three-man rush, there's going to be a lot of guys doubled, unfortunately. There's not a lot of yards to cover down the tight red zone like that. There's not a lot of field to defend and a lot of guys were in a two-on-one situations, which obviously isn't favorable to us. With a three-man rush, you try to buy some time and Smokey did a great job. I almost threw the ball backside to Darren (Fells) in the end zone and I might have too because he did a great job of coming back to the ball.But Smokey just did a great job. He was patient. He's patient beyond his year. It would have been really easy to run real fast somewhere, but he felt the defense sit inside and he went outside and stayed inbounds and made a great play."
Now, he did tell me this right after the game, so he hadn't seen the film. As you can tell in the gif, it was a four-man rush. Even still, that means seven guys in coverage.
Had he made a quick read, he would have seen Andre Ellington with a chance to make a play to his left. But if you look at Palmer's eyes, it was not his first read, so he did not see it. That is when he moved right. You see Fells in the far left corner of the end zone and then come back. When he does make that move back to the inside, Palmer squares like he is going to make that throw. If he makes it immediately, there is a window and it is a touchdown, but it is a dangerous throw, going back into the middle of the field from the far right.
But that squaring up to make the throw to Fells was just enough. The defensive back bit to the inside just enough for John Brown to take a step to the sideline and give Palmer the window he needed.
Brown was very patient. He finishes his route and then stands around, waiting for something. He didn't go too deep, as J.J. Nelson was in the back corner. He waited for the DBs to move and he made his move.
Fells called for the ball. So did Nelson, but it went to Smokey.
The play had it all. Palmer had the presence of mind to extend the play. Receivers did their part. Palmer threatened a throw and then changed his mind, making the defender bite. He threw a strike to Brown, who made the catch cleanly and got both feet down.
It was a thing of beauty.