The Arizona Cardinals had a dominating defensive effort en route to season-ending blow out
They lost running back David Johnson early to a knee injury but in the end the Arizona Cardinals dominated the Los Angeles Rams on both sides of the ball on the way to a 44-6 victory on Sunday. The win allowed the Cardinals to finish 7-8-1.
As far as Johnson goes, he was carted off the field, however he was out on the sidelines standing with the team in the second half. That is the good news.
He is scheduled for an MRI on Monday but the report is he does not have an ACL injury. It may be the meniscus. We should know more in the next day or two.
For the game itself, the Cardinals defense came to play. The big three, Markus Golden, Calais Campbell, and Chandler Jones, all had good days rushing the quarterback.
Golden has 2.5 sacks, Campbell and Jones each had 1.5 sacks on Sunday. The Cardinals are going to have a tough decision to make between keeping Campbell and Jones in the offseason.
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Cornerback Justin Bethel also returned an interception for touchdown and rookie Harlan Miller had his first career interception and returned it 52-yards. The Rams had only 36-yards of offense at the halfway point of the third quarter.
Special teams was a mixed bag once again on Sunday. The Cardinals had a punt blocked and they allowed the Rams to convert a fake punt. However kicker Chandler Catanzaro went 3-3 on field goals and had made a fourth but a Rams penalty negated that as the Cardinals receiver a first down for the trouble.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer went 20-38 for 255-yards and three touchdowns. He had one interception. Receiver J.J. Nelson made a spectacular catch to put the Cardinals down by the goal line on one of their scoring drives. Nelson played really well over the last month of the season.
Backup running back Kerwynn Williams had 12 carries for 60-yards. The biggest star on offense on Sunday though was once again Larry Fitzgerald. He caught five passes to finish the season with the most receptions in the NFL at 107. His last reception? A touchdown. Very fitting.
Now a lot of work to be done in the offseason is to be done to bring the Cardinals back to playoff contention in 2017. For now, the Cardinals organization and the fans should be proud with the effort this team put forth over the last two weeks despite being eliminated from the playoffs.