The Arizona Cardinals were a lost bird Thursday night with Drew Stanton at quarterback.
The Cards punted on their first six possessions with just one of those drives lasting more than five plays. In eight first-half drives, Arizona punted seven times and got a touchdown gift after an interception at the 21-yard-line.
Searching for a stabilizer, the Cardinals turned to David Johnson. The second-year back pounded the San Francisco 49ers into submission in a 33-21 victory. Johnson carried 27 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns, adding three receptions for 28 yards. He totaled 185 yards; the rest of Arizona’s offense earned 111 additional.
Blackhawks Winter Classic Jersey Authentic
“I feel unstoppable, basically,” Johnson said of when he gets rolling, via ESPN.com. “Especially with the help of the guys blocking, the tight ends, the receivers and, obviously, the O-line. It helps me get going. It helps me get into the flow of being able to break some of those tackles, being able to get the yards that we needed.”
The plan wasn’t for Johnson to carry the load, but the big-bodied speedster couldn’t be taken down, so Bruce Arians jersey fed the beast.
“That’s what we expected out of him the whole time,” Arians said. “He doesn’t have to do it all, just take what’s there.”
1. After leading the NFL in several major categories last season, Arizona’s offense has begun this season in a malaise. Through four games, all 10 of Carson Palmer’s first-quarter drives have resulted in punts, putting the defense behind the eight-ball. Rather than using the run and the short passing game to set up downfield strikes, the Cardinals have been forcing the deep ball and wholesale sports jerseys in inopportune situations. Although the overhauled offensive line has been shaky at times, there’s too much talent and China football jerseys on this offense to remain stuck in the mud all season long. Coach Bruce Arians announced after the game that the team will be “very, very careful” with Palmer in the concussion protocol. On a short week, the veteran signal-caller’s status is in doubt for Thursday’s game at San Francisco.
2. Arizona’s offensive woes were due in no small part to a pressuring Rams defense led by Aaron Donald. The All Pro defensive tackle generated 1.5 sacks and four QB hits, teaming with Eugene Sims on a high-low takedown that knocked Palmer out of a 13-10 game late in the fourth quarter. Donald and Robert Quinn have been as disruptive as any tackle-end tandem in football this season, setting the tone for a swarming defense that has bounced back in a big way from an embarrassing 28-0 shellacking in the season opener.
Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys
3. The Cardinals made it a point to get John Brown jersey involved after the speedy wideout’s role was deemphasized in September due to a concussion that sidelined him for the majority of training camp. Brown corralled 10 of a career-high 16 targets for 144 yards while Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd combined for eight catches and 98 yards on 14 targets. Unreliable at the point of the catch, Floyd has been as disappointing as any starting receiver this season. Look for Brown to remain a key cog in the aerial attack, perhaps even at Floyd’s expense.
4. Todd Gurley was stonewalled on the ground once again, lowering his per-carry average to 2.63 yards this season. It took four games, but the Rams finally decided to bypass the offensive line on occasion to highlight Gurley’s playmaking ability as a receiver. He contributed 49 yards on five receptions, including an impressive first-down conversion that set up Brian Quick’s game-winning touchdown.
5. Case Keenum plays like the youngest brother in a backyard with Tony Romo and Ryan Fitzpatrick. He shares the same penchant for keeping broken plays alive and bedeviling defenses with his feet even if his arm is barely NFL caliber. He hasn’t been a major liability since the Rams were shut out in a dismal Week 1 performance.
6. Returning from ACL surgery, Tyrann Mathieu has been outplayed thus far by fellow Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson who is off to a Pro Bowl start at the season’s quarter-pole. After staking its claim as one of league’s stingiest big-play secondaries last season, Arizona’s defensive backfield has struggled early this year. The cornerback spot opposite All Pro Patrick Peterson remains an Achilles’ heel, as Marcus Cooper was beaten twice by Brian Quick for difference-making plays.
7. It’s easy to see why the Cardinals elected to let Dwight Freeney walk in favor of second-year pass rusher Markus Golden jersey. Borrowing Freeney’s trademark spin move, Golden took Keenum down for his fourth sack of the young season. He and bookend edge rusher Chandler Jones have totaled eight sacks this year — one apiece in each game.
8. Jeff Fisher needs a more astute replay advisor in his headset. The Rams challenged two separate plays that were clearly not catches, including one Brian Quick diving drop that hit the ground twice.
Cheap Custom NFL Jerseys From China
Buffalo used a combination of both strategies to force Palmer into a shaky performance in Week 3. Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman mixed in some Cover 1, with the corners shadowing from distance to complement their “quarters” coverage looks. The corners varied their techniques to keep Arizona’s receivers on their toes, but it was apparent they were instructed to stay on top of their assigned pass catchers instead of playing from a trail or hip-pocket position. As a result, the Bills were able to keep the ball in front of the defense and eliminate the big plays that fuel the Cardinals’ offense.
Looking at the stats, the tactics have worked well. This season, Palmer has completed just 43.6 percent of his passes that travel 10-plus air yards, for a 47.6 passer rating and a 1:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Last season, Palmer posted a 55.4 percent completion rate on such passes, along with a 106.8 passer rating on the strength of a 19:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
While Palmer will bear the brunt of the criticism for those poor numbers, I think some of the blame should fall on the shoulders of the Cardinals’ receivers for their inability to create separation on the perimeter. Michael Floyd, in particular, has struggled to get away from coverage on the outside. Floyd also leads the team in drops (three) and hasn’t put his stamp on the game like a dominant playmaker should. In addition, opponents have made a concerted effort to take away John Brown and cheap Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys on vertical routes. Last season, he tallied six catches of at least 40 yards, but he has yet to deliver an explosive play in 2016.
While the 33-year-old Larry Fitzgerald has played at a high level, he is certainly not a deep threat at this stage of his career. Thus, the Cardinals are forced to play small ball with cheap jerseys in a scheme that doesn’t feature a lot of “dink and dunk” concepts. Until Arians tweaks his game plan or the Cardinals’ receivers find a way to shake free from the smothering coverage on the perimeter, Palmer will continue to look like an aging quarterback losing his game, despite possessing the physical tools to play at an elite level.