Arizona Cardinals defense dictates Week 4 win over Panthers
The Arizona Cardinals offense for the fourth-straight week was not on its A-Game over the first half of the team’s 26-16 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
After 30 minutes of action, Arizona was staring at yet another halftime deficit with just three points scored and a whole lot of questions for head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his game plan.
Luckily for the head coach, Arizona’s defense played equalizer until the offense finally started hitting its stride in Week 4.
Behind the play of Zach Allen and J.J. Watt, the Cardinals defense caused quarterback Baker Mayfield fits throughout the afternoon, recording two interceptions, two sacks, three QB hits and an impressive eight passes defensed as a team. Against the Arizona defense, Carolina recorded just one touchdown, was 2-for-10 on third down and saw just 40 yards rushing over the course of the night.
Simply put, the defense showed up and showed out.
“I thought the defense playing so well in the first half allowed us not to get too far behind where we had to scrap it and go two-minute (offense) or get into different things to really push the pace and that helped,” Kingsbury told sideline reporter Paul Calvisi after the game.
Leading the deflection frenzy was none other than Allen, who recorded a team-high three passes defensed in the victory. It marks the first time a Cardinals defensive lineman recorded at least three passes defensed since Andre Wadsworth (three) accomplished the feat in 1999. Allen also finished with six tackles, one of which was for a loss, a sack and two QB hits.
It’s yet another strong showing for Allen in Year 4.
“I definitely like to affect the game as much as you can,” Allen told Calvisi postgame. “Sometimes the game comes to you, sometimes it doesn’t. Luckily it came to me today and it’s something we want to do consistently week in and week out.”
Right there with Allen was Watt.
Despite going into atrial fibrillation on Wednesday and getting his heart shocked back into rhythm the next day, Watt still came away with three tackles and two passes defensed. He was also a split-second from adding another sack to his 2022 tally.
“There’s a reason why he’s our leader,” Allen told Calvisi. “He’s just an absolute stud. We’re just so fortunate to have him.
“Not just a great player, a great person. He’s really one of the foundation pieces of this organization.”
Allen and Watt weren’t the only two defenders to make their impact felt, either, with linebacker Dennis Gardeck and safety Jalen Thompson securing the team’s first two interceptions of the season.
Gardeck also added a sack in the victory, his first of the season.