Welcome back Arizona Cardinal Fans! Week 1 is in the books and we were rewarded with seeing the #BirdGang take the field on Sunday night against the New England Patriots.
Let’s take a look at The Good, The Bad, and of course The Ugly from this game.
- Seeing the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, flying around the field after recovering from his second ACL injury was quite a sight. His energy and play style are infectious and seeing him knock off the rust get more confident as the game progressed was great.
- David Johnson looked sharp! 4th Quarter Johnson was AZ beast mode! His cutting ability and his burst is showing that he’s worthy of the attention he’s been getting this off season. I know they talked about Chris Johnson as the better short yardage back, but that goal line carry looked like DJ knew his way around getting into the end zone in short yardage.
- Larry Fitzgerald is beyond legit, there’s talk of him retiring after this season, but we don’t have time to think about that! The Legend is still making plays and making the officials laugh with his ball placements. With a sprained MCL in the preseason there was concern how his play would be affected, but he showed that he’s still a beast and he’s bounced back well. His 4th quarter end zone catch was phenomenal, with his ability to track the ball complete that catch, he keeps making highlight reel material for his eventual Hall of Fame induction.
- I like the depth at RB. Seeing Johnson, Johnson, and Ellington on the field is enough to put a smile on my face. Ellington used as an explosive change of pace is a great weapon that I think we’ll see a lot more of this season.
- Quick Defense Call Outs: Chandler Jones’ 4th quarter sack, Tony Jefferson with a sack and a tackle in the backfield from the CB blitz.
- The Arizona Cardinals pass protection looked pretty bad throughout the night. There were far too many pressures on Carson Palmer and it took away from the deep passing game that Bruce Arians likes to use as big sparks for the offense.
- The Defense was being manhandled by Jimmy Garoppolo at the start of the game, as the Patriots picked on Cardinals Rookie CB Brandon Williams. He may be very talented, but it was apparent that he was a rookie and has a lot to learn about being a CB in the NFL.
- The Cardinals run defense gave up a lot of yards to a very big back. I would think with their film study of LeGarrette Blount and their experience playing against Marshawn Lynch that they would be ready for a big, powerful back. But they clearly were not.
- The Cardinals are still completely unprepared for the sweep. Did anyone else get that sinking feeling in their stomach when Julian Edelman took the sweep and was running alone in space in the 1st quarter? A little too Tedd Ginn Jr. for me.
- Patriots TE Martellus Bennett showed off his blocking ability by neutralizing Chandler Jones for most of the night. We all know Jones is a great pass rushing specialist, so this is more a tip of the hat to Bennett’s blocking ability. It caught up with him in the 4th quarter on a crucial 3rd down which set up a successful Field Goal kick rather than a first down which could have lead to more.
- Carson Palmer took three sacks in the first half and took a lot of hits throughout the game. He seemed to be holding onto the ball for too long and was shaking off some rust in this game. Not performing as sharp as you’d expect in the season opener.
- A stupid choreographed dance performance cost the team 15 yards after Chandler Jones recovered a fumble caused by Markus Golden. That will definitely be a coaching point for Tuesday.
- The Defensive Backs are not good enough to be left on islands to allow extra blitzes. Williams’ two big mistakes directly led to two touchdowns (Hogan and Blount).
- I never want to see Carson Palmer try a sneak on 3rd and inches when we have a couple of big proven backs around.
- Patrick Peterson’s 4th Quarter missed tackle of Blount on 3rd and 11 allowing Blount to pick up 13 yards and a first down.Stopping the Patriots on 3rd down.
- Tackling, and I mean specifically containment of James White and Blount in space.
- The low, bad snap. Bah.