Nothing like a 40-burger to make Cardinals better
For me, there is nothing like a cheeseburger and a cold beer to make the world right again.
For the Cardinals, there is nothing like a 40-burger to accomplish the same thing.
After posting their first 40-plus point game of the season and the fifth in their last 18 regular season games, everything suddenly seems right again.
The Cardinals’ second quarter outburst — 24-0 on the scoreboard and 179-29 in total yards — let Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter know early that he was in for a long day.
In many ways, it reminds me of a year ago. After a sluggish opener against the Saints, the Cardinals throttled the Bears (one of the four 40-burger games of a year ago). The only difference then? The Cards beat the Saints and couldn’t do the same to start this year against the Patriots.
That said, here’s a couple of quick thoughts from this beatdown.
The David Johnson freak show is real. The look on Larry Fitzgerald’s face told the whole story. After the game, his face lit up like a smartphone in a pitch-black room when he was asked about Johnson. Fitz called him amazing. Fun. Even joked that he doesn’t want Johnson getting too comfortable in the passing game (so surely not to take touches away from him). Carson Palmer said he can’t find a weakness in Johnson’s game. Bruce Arians responsibly held the second year back in check, chiding him for running the wrong route on a near pick from Palmer. But it’s clear Johnson is going to have a couple of plays a game that will make you glad you were there to see it. As for Palmer, he spoke after the game about how he couldn’t wait for today. His stat line of 18-for-31, 308 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT and a passer rating of 124.1 proved it.
The Keim-Time Special is alive and well. And his name is Marcus Cooper. After most of the players acquired before training camp failed to make much of an impact it appeared Steve Keim didn’t have a free agent rabbit to pull out of his hat. Enter Cooper, picked up in a trade with Kansas City the day after the last preseason game. Two picks, three passes defensed and seven combined tackles later, Cooper could be this year’s magic trick. It’s just one game but for now, it limits the exposure of Brandon Williams and makes the Cardinals seem a little less vulnerable. I think Williams is going to get a little break for now.
Patrick Peterson was a busy man. After spending all week wondering how often Peterson would be match up with Mike Evans, Jameis Winston wasn’t shy about throwing P2’s way. Peterson said it was “fun” to be challenged and other than a third-quarter touchdown, I thought he held up well. Arians suggested a certain amount of bad karma for Peterson, noting that he dropped a sure INT that same drive and when that happens, “bad (expletive) happens.” Speaking of the secondary, Tony Jefferson continues to play very well, reminding reporters with a straight face that “it’s a contract year.”
Seattle lost. To the Rams. Again. After spending a week in the national crosshairs of conversation, the Cardinals will gladly pass the baton off to their NFC West rivals. It’s their turn to get hyper-analyzed after managing only three points against the Rams and only 15 points total on the season. It probably doesn’t mean much; Seattle got off to a slow start last year and by the end were one of the scariest teams out there. Still, it will be fun to see how Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are going to handle the negativity. Because Marshawn Lynch ain’t walking through that door. At least, I don’t think he is.
Next up, Buffalo. A team that was so bad defensively on Thursday night that they fired their offensive coordinator but waited until after the team photo to do it. Understand though that this will be a desperate team the Cardinals will be playing in their first road game of the season.