If the Arizona Cardinals are going to earn a trip to Super Bowl 50, they will have to do it without the services of Tyrann Mathieu.
The cornerback, who has been a catalyst on defense this year, was lost for the season after tearing his ACL in the Cardinals’ 40-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night.
It was news Cardinals fans didn’t want to hear following what was supposed to be a joyous occasion. The team had a division-clinching win and the first 12-win season in franchise history.
Now the Cardinals will look to move on without the services of one their defensive leaders, something the team has done in the past with other key injures, but nevertheless it’s going to hard to replace Mathieu.
But before Arizona begins to move on without the Honey Badger, let’s take a look at his impact on the team by looking at the loss By the Numbers.
At the time of his injury, Mathieu had five interceptions on the season which tied him with five other players for sixth among NFL leaders. The good news is teammate Rashad Johnson also has five interceptions on the year and will be someone Arizona will look upon to carry the load in the wake of Mathieu’s absence.
While the interceptions will be missed, probably the biggest impact Mathieu had on the team was his 89 tackles, which ranks him second on the team behind Deone Bucannon.
In 14 games played this season, Mathieu was enjoying career year. In his brief three-year career, Mathieu has recorded 195 tackles and eight interceptions while being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 3 and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Month in November.
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.
Thirty-one of Mathieu’s 89 tackles occurred when opponents were driving in Cardinals’ territory, including eight tackles inside the red-zone.