I don’t know whether it was a good Cardinals offense or the lack of a strong Kansas City defense that was the main reason the Arizona Cardinals broke a 6-6 halftime tie in the third quarter to pull away and defeat the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium, however whatever the reason, the fact is the Cardinals were able to give coach Ken Whisenhunt his first ever preseason victory as head coach. Last season the Cardinals finished 0-4 in the preseason.
Kurt Warner had a good drive in the second quarter that resulted in a Tim Hightower touchdown. Matt Leinart had a 15 yard touchdown pass to receiver Steve Breaston, who again looked good and in my estimation, has the inside track to the third receiver spot that is up for grabs.
Brian St. Pierre looked better as he threw a touchdown pass. Hightower looked good and Larry Fitzgerald had a couple of nice catches. Other than that, a couple of areas looked good and a couple of others continued to prove a lot of work is still to be done.
The good: Leinart and Breaston. They played well with the plays they were given to run. Leinart didn’t start, but it didn’t matter. He didn’t look as sharp in the second quarter, however he came out in the third quarter and really took charge.
The bad: Once again, the defense. Although the pass defense did improve a little. The run defense left a lot to be desired. Also, giving up a quick touchdown to Tyler Thigpen in the 4th after the Cardinals seemingly ended the scoring after an 84 yard interception return with about two minutes remaining, was somewhat disappointing.
The ugly: Kicker Neil Rackers missed an extra point after the Cardinals first touchdown in the second quarter. I don’t know what excuse he will pull out and knowing Rackers, he won’t have one, however it is disturbing that he missed an extra point. Could it be the lack of competition in the kicking game that maybe has Rackers focus a little out of sorts? I hope that’s the last extra point missed for the rest of the year.
The improving: Penalties. The Cardinals only committed three penalties. This is a good sign and a good reason to point to as to how the Cardinals stayed in the game given the lack of run defense. Keeping your head in the game will go a long way.
Play of the game: Dennis Keyes 84 yard interception return with just over two minutes left to not only stop a possible touchdown drive that would have brought Kansas City within possibly a touchdown, however to put the game out of reach and give the Cardinals coach Whisenhunt’s first preseason victory.
Next up: The Cardinals travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders next Saturday at McAfee Stadium.
Let’s pray for an injury free week of practice in Flagstaff. This is the last week of training camp. The last two weeks of the preseason will be spent in Tempe at the Cardinals headquarters.