Late Cardinals’ drive proves Carson Palmer is Bruce Arians’ guy
It’s Tuesday. We have had some time to reflect on the Cardinals’ huge road win Sunday night over Seattle. So many things stood out — from Jaron Brown’s heroics, to the draw play to Andre Ellington that sealed the deal to the Drew Stanton “African Anteater” dance.
But the one thing I keep going back to is the drive. You know, the drive that followed the two crucial turnovers by Carson Palmer on sacks in which Seattle defenders (K.J. Wright and Cliff Avril) came in uncontested and turned a 25-17 Cardinals’ lead into a 29-25 deficit.
Conventional wisdom says that when your quarterback has just fumbled twice leading to two touchdowns by the opponent and is rattled, you may want to run the ball a little, take some of the pressure off of him and get him settled. But that’s not how Bruce Arians works.
On the first play after the two turnovers from their own 17-yard line, Palmer goes to Larry Fitzgerald for a 15-yard gain. That was followed by an incomplete pass and a 6-yard pass to Fitz. Then came a run by Chris Johnson for six yards. After that pass, pass, pass, pass, pass — ending with the 14-yard touchdown to Jermaine Gresham that gave Arizona the lead back and quieted that Seattle crowd.
The drive: 10 plays, 83 yards. Of those 10 plays, nine were passes, one was a run.
Arians thought the only way to get the lead back was to do what Palmer does best –- throw the ball. There was no hesitation from Arians nor any need to run the ball and take the pressure off of his quarterback. There was no need to waste time getting Palmer settled and relaxed. Nope. Arians just went right back to the gunslinger mentality.
The belief Arians had in Palmer amid some adversity was priceless. He never allowed his quarterback to let doubt settle in. And Palmer rewarded his coach with a drive that will be remembered in the desert for a long time. There may not have been a play of the game necessarily. But there was a drive of the game — and that one was it.