A tale of two halves; Josh Rosen has up-and-down start in road win
Oct 7, 2018, 7:06 PM | Updated: Oct 8, 2018, 7:29 am
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
In his first official road start of his young career, rookie signal caller Josh Rosen’s play was a mixed bag in the Arizona Cardinals’ 28-18 win over San Francisco on Sunday.
Completing 10 of 25 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown, Rosen’s stat sheet didn’t look too terrible. He found the end zone and did not record a turnover but looking closer at his performance, the rookie and much of the offense were non-existent in the second half.
That may come as a shock to some after how he started the afternoon.
On the first play of the Cardinals’ opening drive, Rosen went for it all, finding rookie wideout Christian Kirk on the 75-yard touchdown connection.
Ten seconds would be all it took for Arizona to get on the board and take a 7-6 lead.
It looked as though the rookies had a solid rapport early on and the offense was ready to blow the doors off.
Rosen proved to be a critical piece in keeping drives alive for the Cardinals. Out of the six first downs the team accumulated in the first half, Rosen threw for four of them.
Netting close to nine yards a pass, Rosen closed out the first half with 140 yards and a touchdown.
Then the second half started.
Up 14-6 in the third quarter, the Cardinals offense seemingly vanished.
Dropped passes and missed opportunities popped up once again for the offense as Rosen completed just three of his 12 pass attempts for 30 yards in the second half, ending the day with a 40 percent completion rate.
“He made some great throws, but some of them got away from him,” head coach Steve Wilks said after the game.
As a team, the Cardinals gained just 51 yards in the second half, totaling 220 total yards on the day. In comparison, the 49ers netted 447 yards of offense in the losing effort.
Luckily for Arizona, the defensive unit chipped in in a big way with a score of its own, while also limiting San Francisco’s offense to 18 points even though it ran 92 total plays throughout the day.
But while an ugly win is still a win, the Cardinals can’t bank on the defense causing five takeaways and scoring a touchdown on a weekly basis.
Entering play on Sunday, the defense had just four total takeaways in 16 quarters.
One issue with the stalled offense could be attributed to the lack of use of running back David Johnson in the passing game.
Although Johnson scored twice on the ground on Sunday, he only recorded two catches for 16 yards. In 2016, Johnson was highly used as a receiver, catching 80 balls for 879 yards and four touchdowns. Through five games in 2018, he has 13 receptions for 104 yards and one score.