It wasn’t pretty.
It wasn’t even effective.
Yet, when the script on this season is written, it goes down as a win, which is all that matters.
Who were the winners and losers in this game? Who stood out and who needed help?
Arizona Cardinals Defense - They struggled early, but found their footing in the second quarter and became the dominant unit we expected to see. I will highlight some individual performances, but I think the defense deserves some praise as a whole.
J.J. Nelson - Ask and ye shall receive. Someone needed to step up as the second wide receiver on this team and we saw the continued emergence of Nelson who had five catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Jaron Brown - The offense was bad, but these guys both showed they can be good compliment pieces. Are they number two? Maybe, maybe not, but they are definitely strong third and fourth options for this team.
Chandler Jones - The $83 million man played like it today. Two sacks, one forcing a fumble that no one jumped on and giving the defense a boost that they badly needed.
Tyrann Mathieu - He was active today. He still isn’t the same player in coverage, he may never be, but his instincts and feel for the game make him special. He came up in the biggest moment and put the Cardinals in a position to win the game.
Phil Dawson - Sure he missed the potential game winner, but he nailed two other field goals, did a great job on kickoffs and looked like the guy the Cardinals needed him to be. Oh, and he answered the bell and came in and knocked the game winner straight through.
Offensive Line - Another bad performance against a mediocre at best line. They held up slightly more today, but it wasn’t what you wanted to see.
Kerwynn Williams - Kerwynn got his shot and didn’t succeed. 9 carries 22 yards with a long of five yards. He was outpaced by Chris Johnson who didn’t get into the game until late in the second quarter. He’ll still be in the rotation, but likely in a true committee.
Carson Palmer’s Health - Not speculating, but Palmer will be lucky to make it through this season with the beating he is taking. The Colts hit Palmer via sack or knockdown 14 times (by my count). That is bad and in fact not good for your quarterback long term. He already doesn’t look like himself. If he continues to get pummeled, it could be a long season for the 38 year old.
Who were your winners and losers?