Thursday Night Football brought us an ugly but much needed win. Great team effort and everyone is a winner as the team boosts its record to 2-3. But some players definitely shined today, and it's my job to make sure they get some added love!
Coaching Staff- Great game-plan on the short week. Pounded the ball on offense, blitzes at just the right time, mixed up play calls, and even (is it possible?!) some plays made on special teams.
David Johnson and Larry Fitz- Let's just call these two "The Regulars." The Cardinals had 296 yards of offense, 4 TDS. Baevid and Fitz accounting for 266 of it, and two TDs each. Johnson had 27 carries for a buck fifty seven, Fitz had 6 for 81. Not a win without them.
Pass Rush- Golden notched 2 sacks. Campbell had 2. Minter notched 1.5, splitting one with Okafor. Chandler Jones had two taken off by penalties. 7 sacks, 10 QB hits, 1 safety. Oh, and Jones deflected a ball that Campbell picked. B-E-A-Utiful.
Drew Stanton- No turnovers? Check. Points? Check. Hand off to DJ? Check. 124 and 2TDs....it wasn't pretty but it got us the win. Straight out of the Backup QB Handbook.
Patrick Peterson- Thrown at one time. zero catches allowed. Torrey Smith blanked. He's eliminating half of the field and that can't be discounted.
Deone "Drone" Bucannon and Kevin Minter- I mentioned Minter's 1.5 sacks in the pass rush, but he also had 9 tackles and make some nice plays in coverage. Bucannon was everywhere, notching 14 tackles. Great to see him making more plays.
Offensive Line- If I had said we would have 172 rushing yards and Stanton would only get sacked once, you would have been surprised. But If I added that we would do that with 2 backup guards, you should be shocked. Loved the push from the line, even after Iupati left. (Feel better soon). Veldheer, Wetzel, Shipley, Watford, Humphries. Well done.
Michael Floyd- Drops. Zero catches. Invisible. This is not what a contract year is supposed to look like. The good news, they might just afford him if he keeps this up. The bad news... do they want to?
John Brown- had some drops of his own, ending with just one catch for 11 yards.
Jaron Brown- shut out. Had Drops. Seeing a pattern? Part of it is the gameplan, with the backup in, but these receivers all dropped some very catchable balls.
Return game- its not pretty. The opening kickoff was a good start (39 yards) but Nelson followed it up with an ugly 14 yard return. Niners had 7 punts, and they had 4 returns for 25 yards. It's frustrating to be missing a piece of the game so consistently.
All in all, it wasn't exactly a world class beating. But the team capitalized on mistakes, won the turnover battle, played defense, and pounded the rock. They did what they had to do to get the win, and I'm proud of the coaching staff and players to execute the game-plan and bring home a much needed win. Now, they got a crucial three game stretch that will define this team.
They host Bowles and the Jets, Carroll and the Seahawks, before flying to meet Rivera and the Panthers. Three coaches that they need to out-scheme and physical teams they need to out-play. They can go into that bye at 5-3 or 4-4 and show promise. Or they can whimper into that bye at 2-6 and look like the same old Cardinals. Hopefully these guys build off this, so I can keep starting these articles about getting one more WIN.