So, that was fun...and unexpected.
Most thought we would be sitting here this evening talking about an Arizona Cardinals lopsided loss to the New Orleans Saints, mostly due in part to the Cards starting undrafted rookie Max Hall at quarterback. Hall played far from perfect on Sunday, but played well and didn't need to be perfect on a day for the defense.
The Cards defense picked off Saints quarterback Drew Brees three times, his last returned for a touchdown, and came up with a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Sure, Brees was able to throw the ball around the field a little. He did throw for 279 yards, but he just didn't seem himself most of the day.
His counterpart Hall, he threw an interception on his second pass of the game. Immediately I thought, oh here we go. However, he composed himself. He made some mistakes, but not enough to lose the game. He threw for 168 yards. His toughness is what was most impressive. He attempted to run into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter, however he got crunched in between several Saints players and fumbled the ball. Luckily Levi Brown was waiting for the ball and he rolled intp the end zone to finish off the touchdown opportunity.
You see 30 points and assume it was the Cardinals of old if you didn't see any of the game. In fact, the Cards offense produced just 16 points. The defense did the rest. That's three touchdowns for the defense in the past two weeks. That's a trend I would love to see continue. The Cardinals could not get anything going on the ground. Beanie Wells did appear to be just a step away from breaking a few of his runs. He didn't pile up the stats, however, again, I love the toughness factor. He ran hard. The holes just didn't open up today.
Also, welcome back Larry Fitzgerald. He caught 7 for 93 yards. He held true to his words from earlier in the week - throw me the ball and I will catch it. Today he did.
What the Cards should continue to do:
Keep Max Hall as starting quarterback. Today he didn't pile up the stats but it wasn't about that today. It was about letting him do his thing without giving away the farm. The Cards created a good game plan for him and for the most part he did what was asked of him. Now he has two weeks to prepare for Seattle.
The defensive pressure. What a 180 from last week. I would have more expected last week's performance today and this weeks performance last week against San Diego. The NFL is weird that way.
What the Cards should stop doing:
Losing concentration late in games. A couple of boneheaded plays could have swung this game the other way despite as well as Hall and the defense played. The Saints should not have scored that last touchdown
What the Cards should start doing:
Believing in themselves. They showed it today, but they need to do it on a consistent basis. Don't believe all the negativity surrounding this team. Don't buy into the words of local media giving Hall and the team no chance. It sounded like after last weeks loss in San Diego, they were buying into the national and local negativity by their play out on the field.
Now, a bye week to give Hall more time to get practice reps and head into Seattle in two weeks in what will most likely be the toughest road game all season.