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Arizona Cardinals defense holds another elite QB in check

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Add Andrew Luck to the list of elite quarterbacks who have looked anything but against the Arizona Cardinals in a 40-11 loss Sunday afternoon.

Like Cam Newton and Matt Ryan before him, Luck struggled at University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday, completing just 20-of-39 passes for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback finished with his worst completion percentage, yards per attempt and QB rating of the season.

The interception, by the way, was returned for a touchdown, meaning Luck threw as many touchdown passes for the Cardinals as he did is own team.

“It stinks. It’s frustrating, but we realize the onus is on us to get it fixed,” Luck said. “It’s on the players to do our job. I have to do my job much better if we are to have a chance to win consistently. We know that.”

Of course, it may have helped that Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and much of his staff was familiar with Luck, given the fact many of them were in Indianapolis last season.

“No, because their offense is totally different,” Cardinals coach Arians said when asked if his knowledge of Luck and the Colts played a role in the dominant performance by his defense. “I give all of the credit to (defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles).

“I didn’t even talk to Todd, other than personnel, what guys can and can’t do. Not a bit about scheme or anything like that. Todd and the defensive staff did a great job.”

It’s become a theme this season, and especially so during the Cardinals’ four-game win streak.

With their performance Sunday, the Cardinals are now allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 59 percent of their passes for 235.8 yards per game. Their 15 interceptions are tied for third in the NFL, and the rating of 77.8 that quarterbacks are posting against them ranks eighth.

“No question,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said of the defense taking pride in shutting down some of the game’s best passers. “The secondary, we take pride in that. We put it on our shoulders when, obviously, most teams can’t run the football on us.

“So when it’s time to pass the ball, the secondary, we’re licking our lips; we’re chomping our teeth; we’re definitely trying to get after the football.”