Rapid Reactions: Cardinals grab 3rd straight win against Giants

Oct 20, 2019, 8:35 PM | Updated: 9:27 pm
Arizona Cardinals' Jordan Hicks (58), second from right, and Budda Baker, right, celebrate a sack d...

Arizona Cardinals' Jordan Hicks (58), second from right, and Budda Baker, right, celebrate a sack during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The Arizona Cardinals started the season with a tie and three straight losses.

Now, the Cardinals find themselves on a three game win streak for the first time since 2015 after taking down the New York Giants on Sunday 27-21.

In a battle of the rookie quarterbacks, Kyler Murray completed 14-of-21 passes on the day. Running back Chase Edmonds carried the brunt of the offense with 126 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

But, the biggest highlight of the game was the defense, which amassed eight sacks on the day, four of which came from linebacker Chandler Jones. In his first game of the season, cornerback Patrick Peterson notched seven solo tackles and one sack as well.

Here are the reactions from the 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station staff:

John Gambodoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo

Ok there it is – three wins in a row.

I have said for three weeks that a win in itself over the Bengals, Falcons or Giants doesn’t mean much because those teams are not good. But, the totality of 3 wins in a row, with two of them coming on the road, is very impressive. The Cardinals have only played one bad game out of seven this year – that was against Seattle.

They were competitive against Detroit, Baltimore and for most of the game against Carolina. What the Cardinals have done with this three game winning streak is more about establishing what they are not then what they are.

What they are not is a bad football team – they are not in the tier of teams like Miami, Atlanta, Washington, the Giants, the Jets and Cincinnati. And that is something to celebrate. What they are is yet to be determined. The schedule gets much tougher and it’s possible they only win 2-3 more games this year.

To be a good football team, they probably have to win five of their remaining nine games to finish over. 500, and that is a tall task, especially in this division. But it’s hard to argue that the Cardinals are not improving as a football team. They are.

They are competitive, no longer getting blown out with regularity and having games over by halftime. They are exciting. They have a quarterback that looks like a franchise player.

Chase Edmonds is proving to be a great draft pick. The offensive line is, after the quarterback, the most improved position on the team.

Chandler Jones had a field day against the Giants. Patrick Peterson paid immediate dividends.

The kicking game is solid with Zane.

The coach is getting more comfortable with play calling, although I would like to see him put that game away instead of giving the Giants any chance – all he needed was one first down. The team is playing with confidence and believing in their coaches is half the battle.

Vince Marotta, Co-host of Bickley & Marotta:

The biggest takeaway, for me, from the Cardinals’ 27-21 win over the New York Giants Sunday is that this team is capable of putting up points and winning games without Kyler Murray being great.

In fact, I don’t think the rookie quarterback played very well at all. He threw for a career-low 107 yards (only 56 after the first possession of the game) and made some questionable decisions (like running out of bounds on a crucial third down before the two-minute warning). But with the running game as productive as it was and the defense making Giants’ rookie Daniel Jones’ life miserable, Murray didn’t need to do much.

Chase Edmonds was tremendous in relief of David Johnson, who got the first carry of the game and didn’t see the field after that. The second-year man had 126 yards rushing and three touchdowns and did nothing to quiet the “Edmonds needs to replace Johnson” crowd.

The pass rush was spectacular, with Chandler Jones leading the way. Jones had half of the Cardinals’ eight sacks, and had another strip sack, which led to a pivotal Arizona touchdown in the third quarter. Patrick Peterson made his presence felt with a late strip sack on a corner blitz when Jones was desperately trying to bring New York back.

The biggest thing to be excited about is…wait for it…the offensive line. There’s been a run of continuity and success that hasn’t been felt around this team in quite some time, and you can tell the five big guys up front are basking in it — especially the ones who have been here through a lot of the struggles.

The Cardinals have won three straight and have matched their win total from 2018 in only seven weeks. This is not a playoff team, and will very likely come crashing down to Earth next Sunday in New Orleans, but the momentum and buy-in to this franchise’s new direction are hard to miss right now.

Dan Bickley, Co-host of Bickley & Marotta:

At the very least, they have everyone’s attention.

Start with the offensive line, a group that took a stand long before this soggy afternoon on the East Coast. It wasn’t that long ago that “several” Arizona offensive linemen told NFL analyst Mark Schlereth that they weren’t happy with new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

The timing isn’t clear, but the Cardinals allowed 24 sacks in their first three games. The offensive line was excoriated after allowing eight sacks against the Panthers in Week 3. The room’s leader, offensive line coach Sean Kugler, challenged Kingsbury to change his approach.

Skeptics will parse and nitpick the current winning streak on the lack of competition. The Cardinals beat the hapless Bengals in Cincinnati, before a sparse, apathetic crowd. Their lone home victory occurred against the one-win Falcons. They beat a bad Giants team that made numerous stupid decisions, especially down the stretch, from play-calling to clock management.

Read Bickley’s full column here.

Kevin Zimmerman, editor and reporter:

You could’ve seen Edmonds’ breakout game coming with the way he played alongside David Johnson over the two previous weeks. But score the Cardinals’ win over the Giants as a huge game for an Arizona defensive unit that has gotten little attention with all eyes on Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. With Peterson back after his suspension and Jones posting a four-sack performance, the defense carried the Cardinals after their offense went dark following a 17-0 start.

New York’s offensive line came in with a decent reputation. Having tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley back this week seemingly would give the Giants a boost. Yet Arizona finished with eight sacks, and many of those were credit to the interior of the line setting up guys like Jones and Terrell Suggs.

Then came the play-call of the game. Cardinals DC Vance Joseph called a corner blitz on 4th-and-15 with just more than two minutes left, leading to a strip-sack by Peterson. That should have given Arizona the ability to wrap the game up; instead, a Murray time management mistake added a few more snaps for the Giants, but Arizona nevertheless made enough plays to win.

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Rapid Reactions: Cardinals grab 3rd straight win against Giants