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Four Down Territory: Cards are a restaurant

Think of the Arizona Cardinals as a restaurant. For a
couple of years now there has been very little about the
place that you’d recommend to a friend. Lousy food,
watered down drinks, inattentive service, bad location and
on and on. The complaints to the management were numerous
and vociferous.

I’ll be honest…after that dish the Cardinals served up on
Sunday, I feel like I had a pretty good meal. I have only
one complaint. Granted, it’s a pretty significant
complaint, but it’s only one. And, let’s be frank, the
Cardinals did just beat the St. Louis Rams, the restaurant
equivalent of serving a hamburger; you have to work pretty
hard to screw that up.

Still, as we head into four down territory, it seems that
was one of the most complete games the Cardinals have
played in some time.

First Down

Beanie Wells, who set a franchise record with 228 yards,
was otherworldly at times. At times, I’ve been a Beanie-
basher, never questioning his toughness but certainly
questioning his fragility and availability. Beanie is
answering those questions and shutting his critics up.
Twice you held your breath, once when Beanie headed to the
bench and then when his entire team came onto the field to
check on him, an injury that prompted many on twitter to
predict his season was over. 53 yards later it was clear
rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated.

Second Down

Maybe Patrick Peterson….The Cornerback is still under
construction. Patrick Peterson….The Punt Returner is a
finished product. A game-changer in the mold of Devin
Hester. And the effort to get him the ball in the Wildcat
offense is applauded from here. He needs the ball in his
hands as often as possible.

Third Down
The defense was smothering. Sam Acho, Daryl Washington,
Paris Lenon all had terrific games. They routinely got
stops on third down and never allowed the Rams to sustain
long drives. If the Cardinals take nothing else from the
2011 season, take the fact they finally have a legit
defensive coordinator in Ray Horton.

Fourth Down

The one complaint on this otherwise complete day of
football…..the sketchy play of John Skelton. He lacked
accuracy and frankly I am wondering if his confidence is
shaken and stirred. I am all for playing Skelton as long
as he gives you a reason to. For some, his 3-1 record when
he starts is that reason. But with Kevin Kolb’s return
getting closer by the practice and the way Skelton has
played the last couple of weeks, I’m starting to run out
of reasons.