CARDINALS CORNER

Arizona Cardinals defense dictates Week 4 win over Panthers

Oct 2, 2022, 7:26 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2022, 11:36 am
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona...
Baker Mayfield #6 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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.

Life Changer Loans

              Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt plays against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
            
              Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown catches a pass ahead of Carolina Carolina Panthers cornerback Keith Taylor Jr. during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)
            Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns forces a fumble by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scores against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman) Arizona Cardinals guard Will Hernandez reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. Hernandez was disqualify left the game. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman) Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner breaks away from Carolina Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman) Arizona Cardinals guard Will Hernandez leaves the field after getting disqualify during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes under pressure from Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones) Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz runs for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman) Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is tackled by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Ben Niemann during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones) Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson is tackled by Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore after an interception during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman) Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (34) celebrates with safety Budda Baker after an interception against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is tackled by Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones) Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is tackled by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

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