The Arizona Cardinals won their first preseason game and, in a manner of speaking, their first game of the Jonathan Gannon era, even if it won’t count in the record books. But let’s be honest, we saw some good, and we saw some bad, and it’s something the overall numbers indicate when you look at the box score.
Below, we will check out one major statistic the Cards excelled in, but there were also two that raise some red flags. Let’s check out each stat individually, and see where the Cardinals can build on, or improve, in Week 2 when they play the Kansas City Chiefs.
3 notable statistics in the Arizona Cardinals preseason win
1 - Keeping Russell Wilson in check
One outstanding stat the Arizona Cardinals defense had was keeping quarterback Russell Wilson in check. And while his numbers looked good on paper, Wilson didn’t start moving the ball effectively until the Cards pulled their first team and were even playing a few third teamers.
Wilson finished the evening with a 102.5 quarterback rating and 7.2 yards per pass attempt, but he completed just 53.8 percent of his throws. Sure, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy had a key drop, but still, holding Wilson to a low completion percentage was a collective effort among the starters and backups on defense.
2 - Giving up five sacks
The Arizona Cardinals have a deep offensive line on paper, so even the key backups should be playing at a high level. That didn’t go as planned on Friday night, with the Broncos defense managing three sacks on quarterback Clayton Tune.
Late in the contest, the Redbirds gave up an additional pair of sacks on David Blough. This week, we will see the starting line get more reps, and hopefully hold their own. But injuries often occur in the trenches, so it’s imperative for the projected backups to enjoy a stronger outing in Week 2.
3 - Pedestrian YPAs
David Blough had the best yards per pass attempt (YPA) of the three Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks in Friday’s win at 6.1. Colt McCoy managed just a 4.4 YPA through one series, while Clayton Tune’s stood at 5.9.
By contrast, Broncos quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Ben DiNucci sat at 7.2 and 6.3, respectively. Only Jarrett Stidham (3.3), had a lower YPA than the Cardinals quarterbacks.
YPA was something Kyler Murray and Company struggled with in 2022, and through the small sample size in the 2023 preseason, it’s off to a rough start. Let’s hope the Cards can turn this thing around starting in Week 2.
Source: NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Recap: Arizona Cardinals 18, Denver Broncos 17 by Jonathon Macri, PFF
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)