The Arizona Cardinals defense stepped up big in a 26-16 win over the Carolina Panthers, holding Baker and Company to 16 points.
This week, there is no Most Valuable Player. Instead, we are looking at the Most Valuable Players award, considering how well the entire unit stepped up for the Arizona Cardinals. The defense looked like they could stop even the league’s best offenses, holding the Panthers to just 220 total yards on 51 plays.
Yes, they faced an incredible bust that is Baker Mayfield at quarterback, but at least they proved they could come out and dominate weaker opposing offenses. The unit showed flashes in Weeks 2 and 3 against the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Rams, but they enjoyed arguably the best defensive performance of any team this past Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals defense simply dominated in Week 4
The Cardinals allowed 4.3 yards per play. They intercepted Mayfield twice, shut down one of the best running backs in football in Christian McCaffrey, and had an additional turnover via a forced fumble.
They did allow a 61.1 completion percentage, which was a season high for Mayfield. But they held the star-crossed quarterback to just 197 passing yards, 5.5 yards per pass attempt, and a 61.9 quarterback rating. Odds are, they would have allowed fewer yards, but the Cardinals backed off later in the fourth, giving Mayfield the opportunity to improve his statistics.
The Cardinals defense also recorded two sacks, which came from Dennis Gardeck and the underrated Zach Allen. Allen also had two quarterback hits, three deflected passes, and a tackle for loss. He was one of the most effective players on defense yesterday afternoon, and could arguably have been the overall MVP.
Gardeck had five solo tackles, one for a loss, one sack, one quarterback hit, and an interception that he ran back for 24 yards. Safety Jalen Thompson recorded the first interception of the day in the second quarter.
Overall, while the Arizona Cardinals struggled for yet another first half on offense, the defense kept them in the game, making plays on the anemic Panthers offense all afternoon. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s unit kept the Cardinals in the game last week, and they played a massive role in the team’s come-from-behind win against the Raiders.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)