The Arizona Cardinals won their 12th game and clinched the NFC West with a 40-17 win in Philadelphia Sunday, but it all came with a price.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced Monday safety Tyrann Mathieu tore the ACL in his right knee making an interception late in the fourth quarter. The injury will sideline the third-year pro for the rest of the season as well as the team’s playoff run.
“Just like we always have,” Arians responded when asked what kind of adjustments the team will make with Mathieu sidelined. “Jerraud (Powers) will move into nickel; we’ll see what roster moves we make, if we make any. Tony (Jefferson) played well, D.J. (Swearinger) played well. Hopefully we’ll get Rashad (Johnson) back and just keep on moving.”
It’s a tough blow for the team, as Mathieu was having a banner year with 89 total tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble, one sack and 16 passes defensed. There was talk that the former third-round pick was a candidate for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
“He set goals and he was attaining them,” Arians said. “I thought he should be right there with Pat (Peterson) for Defensive Player of the Year, I don’t think there was any doubt that he was having that type of season. It’s a shame, with two games left — it’s always a non-contact injury when these things happen.”
Arians, who expressed no doubt Mathieu will be ready for next season, was visibly emotional over the news.
“We have a little different bond just because of where he came from, where I came from,” he said of Mathieu. “I’ve just gotten real attached to him.
“I love the player but I love the person more.”
This is the second major knee injury Mathieu has suffered in three years as a pro, as he tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee as a rookie in 2013.
Arians said it will probably be a couple weeks until Mathieu goes in for surgery because the knee is going to swell. Once the swelling goes down, they will perform the operation so that Mathieu can return as soon as possible.
While the injury is season-ending, the coach is confident it is just a bump in the road for Mathieu and his career.
“You just look at what Carson did and what other guys have done, and I’m sure he’ll attack it with the same passion he did the last time,” Arians said. “And he’ll be ready to roll.”
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