ARIZONA CARDINALS

By the numbers: Where the Cardinals’ O-line finished in 2020

Jan 8, 2021, 7:22 AM
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries #74 of the Arizona Cardinals stands with teammates during the Red &...
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries #74 of the Arizona Cardinals stands with teammates during the Red & White Practice at State Farm Stadium on August 28, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals didn’t meet their own expectations in 2020.

Offensively, there are myriad reasons why things felt clunky all year. The Cardinals’ rushing attack couldn’t string together multiple solid games, while the passing attack didn’t meet expectations beyond DeAndre Hopkins’ individual numbers.

Quarterback Kyler Murray made a big leap in his second year, looking more comfortable about how to use his unique abilities. He also took fewer sacks. But in some games, Murray’s best asset, his dual-threat capabilities, mostly disappeared.

And on the offensive line, well, it certainly has been worse (Hi, 2018). The Cardinals protected Murray well and gave their backs a chance. They remained relatively healthy and survived using a relatively deep rotation of players.

They were generally pretty effective. To what level?

Here’s a look at the numbers behind the offensive line’s play this year.

12

Cardinals guard Justin Pugh has made it clear that he’s no fan of Pro Football Focus’ ratings of the offensive line. With that asterisk known, Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey writes that the Cardinals graded out as the 12th-best offensive line by their standards.

Linsey focused on writing about Arizona’s two starting tackles in his summary:

The tackle duo of D.J. Humphries at left tackle and Kelvin Beachum on the right side held up well in pass protection throughout the year, with both players recording pass-blocking grades north of 75.0. In particular, Humphries justified the big extension the Cardinals gave him this offseason with an 88.3 overall grade that paired the improvement he showed in pass protection in 2019 with the stronger run blocking that he showcased earlier in his career. He joined Trent Williams as one of two left tackles to post a run-blocking grade above 90.0 this season (90.9).

4

Beachum, who signed with the Cardinals just before training camp, turned out to be a savior for Arizona after expected starter Marcus Gilbert opted out of the season due to coronavirus concerns.

Beachum ranked fourth among offensive linemen with 41 total points added (TPA), per Sports Info Solutions. Left guard Justin Pugh ranked ninth with a TPA of 35.

3

The Cardinals ranked No. 3 with a pass-block win rate of 67%, according to ESPN’s analytics.

29

Quarterbacks Murray and Chris Streveler were sacked 29 times in 2020, good for the 11th lowest total in the league this year. Considering the number of possessions, the Cardinals were eighth in terms of sack percentage (4.8%).

Part of that is because the Cardinals were blitzed 160 times on the year, according to Pro-Football-Reference, the fifth lowest total. That is likely because of teams often dropping a good deal of players in coverage, wanting Murray to beat them down the field with his arm.

109

By allowing 109 pressures over 16 games (6.8 per game), Arizona ranked seventh in the NFL.

The rate of pressures (16.7%) ranked third lowest, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. For context, the league-worst New York Giants saw their quarterbacks see pressure on 29% of passing downs.

29

If there was an obvious complaint about the offensive line this year, it was the drive-murdering penalties. The starting five collected 29 between them, according to Sports Info Solutions, with Pugh responsible for nine of those.

6

Arizona ranked sixth in the NFL with a 72% run block win rate, according to ESPN.

2

The Cardinals tied for second by averaging 3.1 rushing yards before contact, per Pro-Football-Reference, but that was likely made possible because of Murray’s 819 rushing yards on 6.2 yards per carry. Nonetheless, it’s a good place to be.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (94) celebrates his sack against the San Francisco 49ers...
Tyler Drake

Back at it: Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals use bye week to their advantage

While the time away from the football field is needed for any team, there's a fine line between refueling and getting complacent.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Ward runs through a drill during training camp Thursday, July 29, 202...
Jake Anderson

Arizona Cardinals place RB Jonathan Ward on Reserve/COVID-19 list

The Arizona Cardinals placed RB Jonathan Ward on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. He has not played since Oct. 28 due to a concussion.
1 day ago
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields warms up before an NFL football game against the Baltimore ...
Tyler Drake

The final countdown: A look at the Cardinals’ remaining matchups in 2021

With the bye done and over with, it's time for the Arizona Cardinals to reengage for a final playoff push to end the season.
1 day ago
Follow @AZSports...
Arizona Sports

Trivia Tuesday: Last 25 NFL QBs with 4+ picks in a win

Do you think you can name the last 25 NFL QBs to overcome four or more interceptions in a game his team won? It's Trivia Tuesday!
2 days ago
Chris Streveler #15 of the Arizona Cardinals jogs off the field during halftime against the Seattle...
Arizona Sports

Former Cardinals QB Chris Streveler joins Ravens practice squad

After being released by the Cardinals a week ago, former quarterback Chris Streveler joined the Baltimore Ravens practice squad.
2 days ago
Cardinals DL Rashard Lawrence goes through drills during practice Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Tempe. ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals designate DL Rashard Lawrence to return from IR

The Arizona Cardinals designated defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence to return from the injured reserve list on Monday.
2 days ago
By the numbers: Where the Cardinals’ O-line finished in 2020