After shutting out the Buccaneers in the first half, the Arizona Cardinals’ defense will look to stay consistent as they allowed Tampa Bay to make it interesting in the second half
The Cardinals played their “best half” of football this past Sunday, and the defense pitched a shutout for the first 30 minutes. Then…they made things interesting in the second half, as the Bucs started to crawl their way back.
The game couldn’t have started off any better for the Cardinals on both sides of the ball. The intensity was matched for both units and it seemed as if the rout was on. The defense was flying high, they were aggressive and the looked eager to piggy-back off the momentum the offense had created.
That all changed in the second half. The Buccaneers not only made it interesting, but could have pulled off an amazing comeback. They scored 33 second-half points.
The defense seemed too relaxed, calm and confident in the second half and made Ryan Fitzpatrick look like an All-Pro quarterback at times.
The Bucs finished the game with 414 total yards — 351 passing, 68 rushing. After coming in for the injured Jameis Winston, the aforementioned Fitzpatrick completed 22-of-32 passes for 290 yards, three touchdowns and 1 pick.
With an identity established now on offense, the defense will need to stay consistent moving forward if the Cardinals.
Bethel and Mathieu liabilities in the secondary
Coming into 2017, both Tyrann Mathieu and Justin Bethel had high hopes for the season. Through six games, however, those hopes have all but diminished. I wasn’t expecting much from Bethel — and have not ever since he was drafted. Tramon Williams had a fantastic showing and should get plenty more reps against the Rams. Mathieu, on the other hand, seems to have not only lost his step, but his sense of awareness as well.
The pair will need to step up the rest of the season. The defense is getting excellent play in all other areas and having not only one, but two weak links will only hurt the team as whole.
Stopping the new-look Rams
After six games, the Los Angeles Rams lead the NFC West at 4-2. That’s not a typo, so please don’t alert my editor.
Jared Goff and Todd Gurley are carrying a team hungry for division dominance.
Along with freshman head coach, Sean McVay, the Rams look like the new force in the NFC West. They lead the NFL in points scored — so the Cardinals’ defense will have their hands full inside Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.
A division matchup is always a game you want to win, especially when all of the Cardinals losses have been against NFC opponents. The vision is still open, but if they want to stay in the race, they’ll have to first win in England if they what the NFC West crown.