The Cardinals won their first preseason game. Arizona jumped out to a 17 to nothing lead, before allowing the Raiders to climb back to within a touchdown. A late Blaine Gabbert drive sealed the game with a Phil Dawson 43-yard field goal attempt.
The first and second team offensive units looked sharp. Both units lead touchdown drives, giving the team a 17 point cushion early in the second quarter. The first team defense was impressive, but they were playing against the teams second string quarterback. With so much good coming out of the game, what went wrong? What was down right ugly?
Let’s start off with probably the best performance of the night. The first team offense. A nice balance of run and pass capped off an impressive 14 play 70-yard touchdown drive. Palmer and company saw the field for their anticipated 15 play debut and did not disappoint.
The first team defense would not let their offensive counter parts out shine them, however. Tyrann Mathieu showed up, as did the top rotational players on the defensive line.
Special Teams would not be outdone either. Their coverage units did well, allowing only one big return after initially having it bottled up. At that point, the third stringers were in, so it was no major concern. Matt Wile and Richie Leone remained neck and neck in their battle, but both did well in their only punts of the night.
Robert Nkemdiche was once again a nightmare for his blocker. He had 2.5 tackles and was a disruptive presence in the run game. Nkemdiche has climbed up from the dog house to become a crucial puzzle piece this season.
The Cardinals were only flagged three times. Of course, there were a handful of other penalties, but the team only had three accepted against them. That’s a low number considering the amount of young players trying to make the roster.
Brandon Williams and Tramon Williams looked as good as could be expected. Neither was horrible, neither was great. The bad lay behind them. In a crowded room, someone has to step up. The team likely knows who their four corners are going into the season. Now the team would not mind a fifth stepping up and challenging for a roster spot. None of the young guys managed to impress. At what point do Keim and Arians target another free agent.
The third team offensive line was difficult to watch at times. They managed to get some decent push in the run game, but their pass blocking was awful, allowing four sacks on Blaine Gabbert. While Gabbert is to blame for partly for some of the sacks, he had pressure in his face too often.
The Wide receiver room was a letdown Saturday. Brittan Golden continues to make it hard not to cut him. Chad Williams missed the game with his shin splints, leaving the guys who were likely not to make the roster anyway. Marquis Bundy was the most impressive, with both Chris Hubert and Krishawn Hogan dropping passes. Hogan also seemed to lack a lot of effort in the run game, at one point simply standing still while Elijhaa Penny was fighting for yards. I wanted to see a little more out of Hogan, considering all the hype and excitement around him.
There was not a lot of ugly in this game. Overall I was happy with how the team performed. There were no young guys who were so blatantly bad that I wanted them cut. Perhaps the ugliest, and something that has been mentioned a few times was punters kicking field goals. I can understand if it’s Arians attempt at keeping his 42-year-old kicker’s leg fresh. Matt Wile missed a field goal in the fourth quarter, which did not affect the outcome of the game.
If you remember Arians was displeased with his punter's missing field goals in the Hall of Fame game.
Is there something you thought was ugly? I sit here and rack my brain, but cannot find something that was truly ugly. Let me know in the comments.