I called it a trap game. It almost was. It was by far not the prettiest game of the early 2012 NFL season, however once again the Arizona Cardinals found a way. Despite Cards quarterback Kevin Kolb’s first two interceptions of the season, his three touchdowns overcame them and defeated the Miami Dolphins in Overtime 24-21 on a Jay Feely 46-yard field goal. Nobody ever said it would be easy. This was the most difficult so far. The Cards are now 4-0 for the first time since 1974.
It didn’t look good early on. The Cards came out flat in all three phases of the game – special teams, offense, and defense. You knew it would be one of those days when running back William Powell, active for the first time this season and returning kicks for LaRod Stephens-Howling, fumbled the opening kickoff only to be bailed out by Anthony Sherman.
The Cards offense was stagnant for most of the first half, especially in the running game. They did manage to get the passing game going in the second quarter with the no-huddle offense. Kolb eventually threw a touchdown pass to Cards receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who once again proved to be a huge commodity to Kolb. It still amazes me how he can catch balls and isn’t triple-covered on every play.
The defense had a few stops, but they had no answer for Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He threw with authority most of the day. He made a few costly mistakes, but he still torched the Cards secondary for 431 yards. He did throw two interceptions, none more costly than the one in overtime. He’ll be a good one though I believe.
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, although he didn’t score, still allowed drives to continue with his hard running. The Cards seemingly had him shut down early, but he ended up with 67 yards on 17 carries.
If you want to discuss running games though, don’t start with the Cards. It was practically non-existent on Sunday. Ryan Williams rushed 13 times for only 26 yards, although he got several tough yards in overtime to put Feely into good position to win it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Cards missed Beanie Wells because the Dolphins were already considered a great run defense team. However, running clearly wasn’t in the Cards today.
Kolb was sacked eight times on Sunday. The offensive line started to show their wear a little bit. I’m not sure if it is their true colors per-se, but somewhere between the first three weeks and today therein lies the truth about the Cards O-line. Kolb overcame the sacks to go 29-48 for 324 yards. Passing was really the only option for the Cards offense on Sunday.
The Cards defense, well, like I said, they gave up a lot of yards, but did manage to pick Tannehill off twice. They only had four sacks but the Dolphins offensive line was pretty darn good too. I have to give them some credit. You have to give the entire Dolphins team credit. They didn’t come in and be the pushover many thought they would be. I never thought they would be, however I did think the Cards defense would have an easier time of things. The offensive struggles? Well, I knew they would appear at some point. The Dolphins were really the first team to really expose them.
Now it is off to face the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. It will be a short week. I don;t expect all the problems to be solved in just four short days, but a little improvement would be nice. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is a little more experienced than Tannehill and its a road game. Once again, anything can happen. For now, I’ll take 4-0. It’s a bottom-line business. The ‘w’ is all that counts.