For 45 minutes Saturday night, I wasn’t sure the Cardinals were going to put any points on the board against the Houston Texans. The last 15 minutes proved, not only did they put points on the board, the erased a 16-0 deficit and defeated the Texans 19-16.
A very sloppy first half to say the least. Fumbled hand offs, sacks allowed. It appeared the Arizona Cardinals had either stayed up all night or forgot everything they practiced for the first two weeks in training camp.
Starting quarterback Matt Leinart tripped and Tim Hightower subsequently fumbled a first quarter hand off. When that happened, all I could say to myself (as I’m sure others did) was “here we go”. Not exactly endearing himself to fans hearts and critics alike, Leinart also didn’t play all that bad. He did connect on 6-7 passes. I’ll take it. I didn’t expect him to play as long as he did, into the second quarter, however I am guessing that was because of the first quarter sloppiness. While the Cardinals usually take a conservative preseason approach to their starters, it was also important to see the first team offense move the ball at some point.
Some other areas that need work include the offensive line. They didn’t look exactly dominating, allowing Leinart to get sacked twice. You never want to see your starting quarterback hit the ground as hard as Leinart did in the first game of the preseason.
The defense. What little of it there was against the Texans first team offense bent but didn’t break in most cases. Of course, it helps when your opponent also shoots itself in the foot with untimely penalties.
The kicking game. To give Jay Feely some credit, he only got one shot to kick a field goal and it was 50 yards at that. Still, the kick looked as about as crooked as Rob Blagojevich.
Derek Anderson. Looking more and more like coach Ken Whisenhunt made the right call in not naming him starter. Sure, Anderson drove the Cardinals to their first touchdown with a pass to Beanie Wells, who by the way did very good, however he threw two interceptions. He didn’t do much to push Leinart at all. In fact, he may even have created some pressure for himself to keep the backup job thanks to John Skelton.
Speaking of John Skelton. I like this kid. he looked unfazed in his first professional football game action. The quarterback out of Fordham looked more like he had been used the big time of Southern California or LSU. I love his arm as well. He directed two touchdown drives that resulted in giving the Cardinals the lead for good with 1:53 left. Still a long way to go, however, if I were Derek Anderson, I would now be looking over my shoulder.
Although some tackles were missed, I liked the hard hitting. Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie put on a good hit in the first quarter.
I also liked what I saw from rookie linebacker Daryl Washington. That man can play some football. I enjoyed watching him. he got some good playing time Saturday night. I expect him to be a huge impact this season.
All in all, a win is a win and a comeback win at that. Yes, the Cards did it against the second and third teams, however it showed the fight this team has. There was no give up and you like to see that. It takes a mentally strong team to come back from a 16-0 fourth quarter deficit to win a game, preseason or regular season. There is a lot to work on still no doubt. We need to see a much better performance from the first team in Tennessee next Monday night. Ultimately they are the ones that are going to play the most on Sunday’s this fall. If there is to be any chance to defend the division title, then clearly there is a lot of work ahead. It’s early though, three more games to get things straightened out.