After a humiliating defeat to the Patriots on opening night the Cardinals finally got their act together.
- The offense started the game slow, but by the end of the first half the offense was clicking and didn’t look back. David Johnson did what we are coming to expect from him and Chris Johnson had some really nice runs at the end of the game. This backfield could be one of the best by years end and should be in contention for it right now. Overall they generated over 400 yards of total offense on just 12 total drives (65 total plays), that's a very healthy 6.2 yards per play.
- Marcus Cooper, savior of the CB2 position? Has anybody made such a bang in their first major appearance for the Cardinals? I can’t recall anyone since Anquan Boldins’ rookie season (you know, 212 yards and 2 TDs in his first pro game EVER). Hopefully this isn’t a flash in the pan and Steve Keim struck gold with this trade.
- The defense looked like the defense we expected to see last week. While DC Bettcher seat is still hot in my mind for the defenses subpar play last week, this week his unit was dialed in. An uncharacteristically inaccurate Jameis Winston and an injury to probowl RB David Martin helped, but the guys were often in the right place at the right time. On the night the Cardinals showed improvement by only letting the Bucs complete 5 of 13 third downs, a nice improvement from last week but still not good enough (my standards have been set too high).
- Wait, did I mention Cooper? Oh, right I did. Just in case, I want to bring him up again. What a debut!
- Lack of pressure, the Cardinals defense is still struggling to get to the QB. Towards the end of the game the Cardinals defensive line started to wear out the Bucs offensive line and get pressure on Winston, but overall he had way too much time to throw the ball. Chandler Jones was virtually unseen until garbage time and his criticisms from his time with the Pats really showed today.
- Starting slow on offense. Two weeks, two games in which the Cards offense didn’t look good in the first half. Missed passes, poor run blocking and interesting play calling. The Cardinals need to get moving sooner and put the defense into position to play to their strengths (super aggressive).
- Kicking unit – low snaps, missed PATs. If this isn’t fixed we could be seeing a new snapper. If that doesn’t work we might see a new kicker. Can’t let a low snap or an inconsistent leg lose us another game.
- Nada, no serious injuries and 40 total points by the team doesn't warrant an ugly.
So to wrap it up, the Cardinals are now tied 1-1 with the entire NFC West for first place with the 49ers and Hawks losing (and the Rams obviously winning). Next week the Cardinals travel across the country to face the Bills for a 10am East Coast game. A great test to see how the team travels and handles the early game, a game that has typically been brutal to the Cardinals.