It was a career-day for Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Mathieu recorded his first multi-interception game and scored his first NFL touchdown in the Cardinals’ 47-7 win. He also added five tackles and earned the NFC Player of the Week award.
The former LSU Tiger declared Sunday his best day as a professional.
“I would say so,” he said on the Big Red Rage on Thursday night. “Anytime I take the field I want to create turnovers and get turnovers for my team. I really just want to be effective.
“There are certain responsibilities that I have, communicate with my guys, making sure everything is OK when we take the field. For me that is pretty good.”
Mathieu’s two interceptions were just half of the total the Cardinals defensive backs were able to record against 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
His first of the two picks came just minutes after Justin Bethel returned an interception for a touchdown. In fact, their two pick-sixes set an NFL record for the quickest to return two interceptions for touchdowns in NFL history.
The Honey Badger was quick to deflect credit, and instead directed it towards the defensive line.
“Defensive backs, most of those guys are going to get the glory when it comes to creating turnovers, but it really starts up front,” Mathieu said. “Had he not created that pressure, maybe (Colin) Kaepernick doesn’t throw the ball or he runs and escapes. You are always grateful when those big boys can get pressure on the quarterback.”
The Cardinals will try to keep the party going defenisvely this week against the St. Louis Rams, an offense that has scored a total of 16 points the last two weeks. That’s not a good sign when they now have to go against a defense that has forced seven turnovers and is only giving up an average of 16 points per game through the first three weeks of the season.
For Mathieu, his focus is on one thing, and that’s continuing to progress throughout the season.
“I just try to get better and better every week, obviously it’s a long season,” he said “We have got off to a real good start, individually and as a team and that’s what you want. I missed a lot of games last year and the year before, so for me it’s real important that I show up every week.”