We all know how it goes, you can pay millions and millions, you can have a team loaded with talent, but that doesn’t promise you anything in today’s NFL. It’s all about the important things, the winning on the road, playing smart football, and beating the teams you’re supposed to beat… this is how you become a powerhouse.
Is Arizona considered a powerhouse? I’m not sure, but thumping Chicago- in Chicago to the tune of 48-23 can’t hurt. And being the sole leaders in the toughest division (NFCW) in football can’t hurt either.
In Chicago Sunday’s game kicked off with your typical kick off, but then that kick off was returned 108 yards for a very early Arizona touch down. The return man, rookie David Johnson, seems to feel very comfortable in the end-zone. In just his first two games, the third round draft pick has scored on a reception, a kick off return, and has also rushed for a touch down, the first person to ever do so. (the game jersey and shoes have been sent to the NFL Hall of Fame)
David Johnson is the name I said folks should remember last week. When he gets in his stride there is no catching this rookie, but back to the game. Chicago played pretty tough early on. Jay Cutler must have been possessed because he was scrambling, running the option, and making very nice throws early on. The Arizona defense appeared to be putting their focus on Matt Forte, but didn’t have any one assigned to babysitting the likes of Jay Cutler coming out of the back field.
A shoot out quickly began with the two teams going back and forth, -Chicago TD, -Arizona TD, -Chicago TD, and another Arizona TD. Both offenses having their way and then the worst happened for the Chicago Bears. In one play, Jay Cutler throws an interception to Cardinal’s safety Tony Jefferson and then Cutler injures himself trying to make the tackle. Jefferson then runs it in for the pick six, and the rest (as they say) is history.
Enter Jimmy Clausen- not the best performance (by most standards). Clausen completed 14 of 23 passes, 15 if you count the interception and posted a 3.2 QBR. Far from pretty, the run game began to suffer and the boo-birds were out in full force.
Arizona however still had their starting QB and never let their foot off the gas. Carson Palmer threw 4 TD passes, 3 of them to Larry Fitzgerald and the other to Jaron Brown. The Cardinals’ run game went for 115 yards with Chris Johnson getting the majority of the carries, but it was once again David Johnson taking it in for the score on a 13 yard run.
The Arizona offense has now ran for 100+ yards in their first two games and have given up zero sacks. Carson Palmer has thrown for 7 TDs, tying him with Tom Brady for the most in the League. And get this, the Cardinals also lead the NFL in touchdowns having hit pay dirt 11 times already.
On defense- once Cutler was out, the Cardinals did what they had to do. Patrick Peterson registered his first interception as the Cardinals got aggressive with the blitz which was nice but it was Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, and Rashad Johnson setting some serious tone combining for 22 tackles. The Bears did manage to get 355 yards on offense, but just like last week Arizona played excellent in the redzone.
Overall is was an impressive showing for Arizona. Sure there are still things to work on, but that’s why the Cardinals hired Bruce Arians (Lord only knows why the Bears didn’t). Arizona has to stay focused as they face their rival San Francisco this week at University of Phoenix Stadium. Let’s just say these two teams do not exchange Christmas cards during the holidays.
My thoughts on being 2-0 are simple, it’s a good start. Some say you’re only as good as your record says you are, so right now the Cardinals are perfect. I doubt most folks will see it that way though, including Bruce Arians.
Images By: Mike Yduarte
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