Another nail biter that went down to the final seconds … and another Arizona Cardinals victory, this time over the New England Patriots. I’m not sure my heart can take these kind of games! I am so proud of the Cardinals, and the fact that they came away from Foxborough with a victory.
Here are my observations:
* Last week after the victory against the Seattle Seahawks, I said that the Arizona Cardinals have the most underrated defense in the league. After this week’s victory against the Patriots, I think people will be starting to talk about this defensive unit. Whenever the defense needed to make a play, they made it. Kudos to Ray Horton and the guys in the trenches, especially Darryl Washington with 11 tackles and Calais Campbell with two sacks.
* I was pleased to see some trick plays and some odd calls on offense — the Wildcat with Patrick Peterson, a couple of quarterback sneaks for first downs (and one for a touchdown), the shovel pass to Early Doucet (even though it was not successful). Calling such plays opens things up…and makes the offense a little more exciting.
* Beanie Wells was silent for most of the game, but he came up with a couple of huge runs in the fourth quarter that kept a Cardinals drive alive.
* Talk about being on an emotional roller coaster … Ryan Williams probably was on cloud nine after a big run that seemed to seal a victory …and then was as low as a guy could feel after his ill-timed fumble. Fortunately, he was back smiling after the Patriots missed a potential game-winning field goal, and avoided the situation of being the goat for a Cardinals loss (truthfully, even though Williams should have fell on the ball when he was trapped, the play should never have been called in the first place, so I blame the guy who called this stupid play in the first place.
* The Cardinals scored two field goals on their first two drives. Both of these drives could have easily resulted in touchdowns, especially the second drive where Kevin Kolb overthrew a wide open receiver in the end zone. The same thing happened last week. The Cardinals have to convert more red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
* Todd Heap had five big catches, and was the perfect antidote to the Patriots defense, which had double coverage on Larry Fitzgerald all game.
* The Cardinals punting was superb all game. And the blocked kicks (in this game it was a blocked punt, not a blocked field goal) have become a huge weapon for the Cardinals that has factored into both of their two victories. And don’t think that Stephen Gostkowski wasn’t thinking about Calais Campbell, Patrick Peterson, and Justin Bethel breathing down his neck when he missed the field goal in the final seconds.
*Kolb was adequate…well, even better than adequate. He stayed in the pocket a little better than he has in the past, and when he did roll out he was able to throw the ball away or get it to an open receiver. The offensive line only allowed one sack. If this is the Cardinals weakest part of the game (the quarterback and the offensive line), then this performance against one of the elite teams in the league was actually outstanding.
Next week…back to Arizona…in first place! Who would’ve thunk it?