Getting Defensive: Arizona Cardinals, Week 4
After a strong start against the Cowboys, the Arizona Cardinals’ defense is looking for ways to finish games
Early on, the Cardinals seemed to have had all the answers for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense. Errant throws and blanket-coverage downfield made it seem like it would be a long night for the 2nd-year QB. But as the night progressed, the young star shined in the desert night.
Prescott finished the game going 13-of-18 passing for 183 yards and two TDs. He also added one TD rushing after he broke contain, scrambled and flipped into the endzone. His efforts led to a passer rating of 141.7.
In all, the defense surrendered 273 total yards — 174 passing, 94 rushing. With those totals, Arizona now ranks 9th overall in total defense after three games.
What’s wrong with Tyrann Mathieu?
Minus the game-saving interception in Indianapolis, safety Tyrann Mathieu just isn’t the same player through 3 games so far.
The most-talked about player this year in camp not named Robert Nkemdiche, was “The Honey Badger.” He was breaking up plays, making his picks and flying all over the field during training camp. After 3 regular season games, however, the explosiveness just isn’t there. The coverage and tackling skills have abruptly vanished. And it seems he may have lost a step.
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No one would have thought when asking of the safety play so far we’d be raving about Tyvon Branch and questioning Mathieu. But that’s the reality. One thing you can count on is Mathieu could care less of the criticism; he’s going to give his all. I’m not writing him off just yet — but certainly better play will need to come the veteran safety.
Looking at the Niners
The win-less 49ers make their annual trip to Glendale this Sunday, and RB Carlos Hyde is expected to go.
With an anemic passing attack, the Niners will need Hyde and their running game if they wish to make things interesting. The 49ers, through 3 games, rank 26th in passing (187 yards/game) and 14th in rushing (107 yards/game), respectively.
You won’t see many mistakes from Brian Hoyer — but he isn’t going to go off for 300+ yards and 3 TDs either. I would expect James Bettcher to have a solid plan in place en route to keeping the Niners defeated and getting back to .500 on the season.
But this is a division game and Kyle Shanahan’s bunch will be hungry for their first win. A great defensive performance can put those hopes to rest early.