1) David Johnson
At this point, DJ has established himself as an Offensive Player of the Year candidate. He has been absolutely dominant this season, and against the Jets touted D-line, DJ had the game of his career. Rushing 22 times for 111 yards and three TDs, this was the David Johnson show throughout. DJ also had three receptions for 27 yards. Him being a dual threat RB is probably my favorite thing about him (besides those beautiful cuts on the field).
He also broke some team records. This was DJ's 6th game in a row with over 100 scrimmage yards, a franchise record. In addition, he now holds the franchise record for most touchdowns scored in a player's first two seasons. In DJ We Trust.
2) Offensive Line
The Cardinals line was missing two starters in this game, G Evan Mathis and G Mike Iupati. The Jets D-line is also one of the strongest parts of their team. The Cards didn't even flinch. Overall, the team rushed for 170 yards behind the line. But most importantly, they gave up 0 - that's right, 0 - sacks to the Jets. Earl Watford in particular had a fantastic game, creating holes all night for DJ to run through. While Palmer did get knocked around a little too much for my liking on the final drive, the O-line did a great job overall in what should've been a bad game by all accounts.
3) D.J. Swearinger
The Cardinals defense had an outstanding night as a unit, but S D.J. Swearinger shined in particular. He was all over the field laying down big hits all night, including one crushing hit against WR Charone Peake that literally drew blood. To cap his night off, he intercepted QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone towards the end of the game, preventing the Jets from putting up a single TD on the scoreboard.
4) The Defensive Performance
There are so many individual players to highlight, we have to call this an overall defensive victory. The Cardinals rush defense was phenomenal behind DE Calais Campbell and LB Chandler Jones, keeping RB Matt Forte to only 19 yards off 9 rushes. While the team only recorded one sack (via LB Alex Okafor), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was constantly under pressure. In addition to the Swearinger interception, S Tyrann Mathieu also picked off QB Geno Smith.
5) The play-calling
In previous games I have lamented Bruce Arians' stubbornness in moving away from a pass-first offense, even when Carson Palmer is clearly not getting the job done. Against the Jets, the coaching staff let DJ lead the way, and it paid dividends. This team wins when they lean on DJ, and it's great to see the play-calling now rotate around the ground game. Palmer was utilized correctly as well, and best of all, he didn't try and force a million deep balls.
6) Michael Floyd's Touchdown
WR Michael Floyd has had a disappointing year, through a culmination of dropped passes and just overall bad plays. With that in mind, it was awesome to see Floyd's TD at the end of the game. He really needed that, both for his confidence and his stat line. What was even better to watch was how excited Arians and him got when the TD review came back positive. Hopefully we get to see more Arians - Floyd sideline hugging in the future.
1) Michael Floyd
Floyd has the distinction of appearing in both the Good and Bad sections. While his TD was awesome to see, he still had another lackluster game. Floyd continues to lose playing time to Jaron Brown and J.J .Nelson (who both happened to have solid games). Floyd spent most of the game on the sideline, and in a contract year, that's not encouraging to see. While he didn't have any drops this game, he did have one major gaffe: a holding penalty that brought back a big DJ run. Hopefully his TD sparks a resurgence, but at this point, Floyd is going to need to do an awful lot if he wants to extend his career in Arizona.
2) Patrick Peterson on Brandon Marshall
Just to be clear, I know that Marshall didn't score once all game, and that's all you can really ask for in a win. Maybe I've been spoiled by Peterson's shutdown nature, though, because Marshall's 70 yards off 3 receptions didn't leave me happy. To be fair, most of those yards came off a couple great plays by Marshall, but still, Peterson is arguably the best corner in the league (at least top 3), so any day he gives up a few big plays is a down day for him.
It felt like every other play ended in a yellow flag on the field. And honestly, that might actually have been the case, as both teams combined for 19 penalties, with the Cardinals contributing 9 of those. This was a rather messy game, and something the team can't repeat against better opponents.