Cardinals CB Antonio Hamilton continues to impress when given opportunities

Nov 21, 2022, 11:01 AM
DeeJay Dallas #31 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by Antonio Hamilton #33 of the Arizona Cardina...
DeeJay Dallas #31 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by Antonio Hamilton #33 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton played more snaps last week than at any point in the last calendar year with Byron Murphy Jr. sidelined with a back injury.

Hamilton rewarded the Cardinals for trusting him with an impactful performance against the Los Angeles Rams that included a career-high 12 tackles.

“To watch him play not only as a cover guy Sunday, but as a run defender, he made some plays in the running game that hadn’t been made in a while,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Thursday. “In the C and B gaps, that’s a test of his toughness and his size. He’s a big corner. He played his butt off.”

Hamilton nearly intercepted Los Angeles quarterback John Wolford, jumping in front of a curl route in the fourth quarter. He said last Monday that it all worked out since safety Budda Baker came away with an interception during that drive, and the Cardinals held on for a 27-17 win.

The 29-year-old matched up with Rams star receiver Cooper Kupp often and allowed two catches on four targets for two yards with a pass defense, according to Pro Football Focus.

Hamilton said he wanted to show consistency and that he can fill in seamlessly when called upon.

With Murphy Jr. ruled out for Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City, the Cardinals will turn to Hamilton again for extended snaps.

There’s a comfort level there, as Hamilton won a starting job during training camp but lost his chance early in the season after a cookie incident led to burns.

“Obviously he had his accident early, he missed the first month and a half of the season, basically, but he’s getting back to what he was in the summer,” Joseph said.

“He’s a guy who has great confidence in his game. He studies, he’s mature. He’s tough. So obviously, he’s playing good … he’s gonna play more for us.”

Hamilton said he’s got his wind back since coming back after missing the first four weeks of the regular season.

Arizona’s defense has quite the challenge ahead.

The 49ers have a talented crop of skill players including receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, tight end George Kittle and running back Christian McCaffrey.

Hamilton is focused on his own technique and letting the rest play out.

“Just honing in and locking in on the scheme that we have at hand,” Hamilton said. “Keep your leverage and understand what they’re trying to do to us schematically and just make the plays and the opportunities that come your way.”

Catch the game Monday at 6:15 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7, or the app.

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