For the first time in a couple of weeks, the Arizona Cardinals had a positive outcome from their game.
What did we learn from the Arizona Cardinals offense, defense and the special teams this week?
Let’s take a look.
QB Blaine Gabbert:
* Picked apart the Jags' zones
* Employs the TEs in the passing scheme, more than Palmer or Stanton
* Uses his feet to extend plays and drives---even BA is warming up to this
* Throws with quick release and with relatively good accuracy
* Bounced back from adversity---threw the 52 yard TD bomb to Jaron Brown under extreme pressure and with a flick of his wrist
* Excellent 2 pt. conversion pass to Larry Fitzgerald---this was huge.
* Was clutch down the stretch---threw two frozen ropes to the left sidelines on the money to win game
* Ball protection---can't be stripped near his own goal line with the lead.
* Throwing to prescribed spots (Palmer did this a lot too)---needs to learn to trust his eyes and his arm
* Needs to get plays in and out of the huddle a little faster
RB Adrian Peterson
* Ran for nearly 4.0 ypc. and 79 yards
* Is at his best when he lowers his shoulder on contact and gets forward push
* Got stood up too many times---poor technique
* Fumbled a handoff
* Did not look natural as a pass catcher
TE Ricky Seals-Jones:
* Big target who knows what to do when he catches the ball---lowered the shoulder in traffic and eluded defenders in open space.
* Game is not too fast for him, which is rare for a rookie
* Best game of the season for this unit
* Won the majority of the battles versus outstanding Jags' front
* Veldheer is playing so well, his 2018 salary is actually starting to look doable.
* Wetzel is a natural RT who is equally good in run, pass and screen blocking
* Boone, Shipley and Watford were solid all game
* How about that second and third effort to get the first down on the 3rd down shovel pass.
* Outstanding game winning catch while getting belted on sideline.
* Excellent kickoff return (called back for a penalty)
* Hard to imagine he is worth $7.25M a year
* Still a head case
* Has given the defense a burst of energy
* Cleans up quickly on tackles---here's what Honey Badger told ESPN's Josh Weinfuss:
Tyrann Mathieu almost had a second opportunity to face Leonard Fournette one-on-one Sunday. Fournette ran through a hole and Mathieu was the only defender waiting on him. But then rookie safety Budda Baker swooped in and hit Fournette. "So, kudos to Budda," Mathieu said. "I might take him out to dinner after this."
* Leading big-time by example
* Was on fire all game versus both the run and the pass
* Closed on the ball in a flash
* Got called for late hit on QB (one of 3 roughing the passer penalties the Cardinals incurred)
* Where was this Chandler Jones last week? This inconsistency is what annoyed Patriots' fans.
* Was still celebrating sack when the Jags passed ahead to get into FG range to end first half.
* Fast emerging as the interior pass rusher the team has been lacking
* The mind is eager but the body isn't reacting---was two steps slow all day
* Was very effective in swarming the ball and in pass coverage (10 tackles----huge lift off bench)
* Over-ran his contain on Bortles---really needs to squeeze that down the way Sio Moore did last year
* Was a real factor in pressuring Bortles from the edge off blitzes---he still thrives in that role
* This was his best game in coverage---not only making the big game saving interception, but in making a good pass breakup on the deep pass earlier in the quarter (which HB has struggled with this year)
* Very active and helped the Cardinals defensive line win the battle up front.
* Continues to punt at a Pro Bowl level---4 punts (once again inside the 20)
Kickoff Return Coverage:
* Had the one poor breakdown late in the game---otherwise the Cardinals' STs were near perfect on the day.
* Made the huge tackle on the KO return, perfectly using the sideline as a defender.
* Clutch kicks all day, the 2nd FG snap was bad (Drescher remains inconsistent) but Dawson stayed calm and nailed it. 57 yard GW FG was a gem. Perfect compact technique. Had presence of mind to make sure the team did;t run onto the field---his experience has helped STs in a big way.
* Deferred the kickoff for the 2nd time---worked great.
* First half coaching was a gem in just about every way.
* Came out and scored a FG on first possession of second half---this was big.
* Needs to embrace his QB's mobility and use it more to the team's advantage.
* Kept calling WR screen when the Jags were all over them all game.
* Helped Gabbert stay calm after the fumble---great bounce back TD from Gabbert.
* One of his better games as DC.
* Shut down Fournette
* But, he has to know that when he commits his ends to crashing down to stop the run, teams are going to run the read option---he had Bynes on a contain switch later on, but Bynes didn't play it correctly, and Dansby didn't scrape and fill and Bethea was way too late storing the alley. Can't keep giving up chuck QB runs.
* Best thing though was Bettcher had some new blitz schemes that worked this week, like the double safety blitz (Baker and Bethea) in tandem off the left edge.
* Biggest concern---defense once again this week gave up a TD on its first drive of the 2nd half---has been an issue all year---plus, just like last week, when the Cardinals got a second half lead. the defense gibes it right back....and it didn't help that the STs gave up the long return to set up the tying TD.
* One bad play this week, otherwise this is perhaps his best game as STs coordinator.