TEMPE, Ariz. — Bruce Arians was understandably pleased with how his team played in Sunday’s 40-11 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.
“Basically, after watching the film, it was a doggone good outing by everybody, especially defensively,” the coach said Monday.
Arians added that the offense should have scored more than it did and noted that the blocked field goal in the first quarter wasn’t good, but overall he had little to complain about.
The offense piled up 410 yards behind quarterback Carson Palmer’s fourth-straight good game, and the defense limited the Colts to just 4.3 yards per play.
It was a team effort; with the blocked field goal being the only real blemish on what otherwise was a good-looking win.
Following arguably his team’s most complete game of the season, Arians said this year’s Cardinals remind him a bit of the Colts team he coached last season as well as some of the Steelers teams he was part of, as far as the camaraderie and willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
And that team, with a 7-4 record and four straight wins, has to be feeling pretty good about itself. One of the challenges they’ll face down the stretch, besides opposing teams, is their own success, because with success comes recognition, and with recognition can come a sense of complacency. Dealing with prosperity is something the Cardinals have not had much experience with, and Arians knows it is a challenge his team faces.
“The noise level will get higher, pats on the back and all that stuff,” he said. “You start reading the press clippings and feeling the pats on your back and you open yourself up for disaster.”
But it’s better to have to deal with prosperity than a disappointing season, and right now the Cardinals appear to be peaking, though Arians doesn’t believe that to be the case.
“I think we’re getting better each week,” Arians said. “I think our best football is still out there; we left way too many points on the field this weekend.
“December football is what it’s all about. You want games to matter in December, and that’s what people remember.”
As the calendar turns, though, the Cardinals are in good position to be remembered. Up next is a road game at Philadelphia, another team that is in the playoff race but needs to finish strong. It’s a big game for both teams, and offers another chance for the Cardinals to prove that they are a legitimate playoff contender.
During their winning streak, they’ve beaten good teams and won on the road, but have yet to beat a good team on the road. Arians, who is confident in his team’s postseason chances because of “the way it feels right now,” knows a win over the Eagles would go a long way toward improving the team’s reputation as well as its postseason chances.
“It will be another good barometer for us,” he said.