Week one has finally come and gone. The NFL landscape is set for another fantastic year. While the Cardinals were one of the 16 teams to lose this weekend, there is still plenty of football to be played.
Last season we took a weekly look at some of the bigger numbers that Pro Football Focus had for the Cardinals after each game. We want to continue that this season as the normal stat sheet doesn't always give a full story.
- QB Carson Palmer struggled mightily when under duress on Sunday. Palmer completed 7 of 17 passes for 95 yards, 2 interceptions and a 20.2 Passer Rating, the 3rd worst among quarterbacks.
- Filling in for injured OT D.J. Humphries, John Wetzel proved he could do little stop the Lions pass rush. Wetzel allowed pressure at the highest rate of any offensive tackle as he gave up pressure on 22% of his pass snaps.He surrendered 10 total pressures on his way to receiving a horrendous 35.4 overall grade.
- The Cardinals could not get any push up-front when running the ball against the Lions. RB David Johnson actually had more yards after contact (31) than he did yards rushing (24).
- Despite his 6 catches and 74 yards receiving, WR Larry Fitzgerald did not have one of his better games. Fitzgerald only caught 46% of his targets and he dropped a pass on his way to a 45.4 overall grade, which ranks 68th out of 83 wide receivers.
- QB Carson Palmer may have thrown 3 interceptions, but his grade was better than the perception. Palmer received a 78.9 overall grade, the 7th highest among QBs on Sunday. The USC product was not helped by his wide receivers, as they dropped 3 passes the third most Sunday.
- In his debut, Haason Reddick earned an 82.6 overall grade, which ranked 11th out of 63 inside linebackers. Reddick allowed all 4 passes thrown his way to be caught, but only allowed 21 total yards. He also pressured the quarterback twice and made four total stops.
- CB Justin Bethel had an up and down Sunday. Bethel intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown, but he was also thrown at 11 and surrendered 6 catches for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns.
- Edge defender Markus Golden struggled to apply pressure against the Lions. Golden only managed 1 pressure on 34 pass rushes, which is one of the reasons why his 36.4 overall grade was the lowest edge defender grade on Sunday.
- The Cardinals' secondary struggled to protect against the deep ball. Lions' QB Matthew Stafford completed 9 of 14 passes for 186 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 147.3 passer rating on passes traveling 10+ yards down the field.
- Defensive coordinator James Betcher seems to have dialed back the pressure this season. The Cardinals only sent 5 or more rushers on 15.5% of passing plays against the Lions. In 2016, the Cardinals rushed 5 or more defenders on 40.9% of pass plays.
What stood out to you the most? For me, it was Bettcher’s lack of sending 5+ defenders. With an improved secondary, I would guess he thought they’d hold up, but with the lack of pass rush featured in the game, it will be interesting to see if he dials up the pressure against the Colts.
All information presented is courtesy of PFF’s weekly correspondence