Feel better, Cardinals fans?
There. Feel better?
It’s okay if you don’t 100 percent better. After all, it was the Jets, and perhaps more importantly, it was Ryan Fitzpatrick.
But for the second straight week, the Cardinals did exactly what we needed them to do — dismantle an inferior opponent. Ask Cam Newton if he’d like to trade places. On second thought, don’t. He probably won’t answer you.
The 28-3 win wasn’t perfect, never is. The offense was sluggish at times in the first half. It took a while for anyone not named David Johnson to get going. But it was good enough to make you feel like this team is on a road trip to recovery with a “prove it” game looming against Seattle.
Here’s what stood out to me on a Monday Night.
The David Johnson Show is real. There was a time this summer where I grew concerned there was too much hype surrounding the second year back. Maybe there wasn’t enough. Johnson plowed through a defense that’s been stout against the run all year. Yes, half of his 111 yards came on the 58 yard touchdown. But so what? He rushed for 111 yards, three touchdowns and 5 yards per carry against a defense that was giving up around 68 yards per game. It wasn’t just Johnson, either. The Cards ran for 171 yards as a team on 35 carries. Balance that with 35 pass attempts for Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton and you have, well, balance. Bruce Arians had nothing but praise for Johnson after the game, which is rare.
Uncle Bruce isn’t so stubborn after all. It was clear from the outset the Cardinals weren’t looking to do any deep damage. Arians acknowledged after the game it was not in the plan to test the Jets deep. Instead it was shorter, intermediate routes. Get the ball out quick. Good run-pass balance. According to Pro Football Focus, Palmer was 9-of-10 for 107 yards and a TD when throwing the ball 10-19 yards down the field. Anything deeper down the field and you might have risked exposure to that Jets pass rush. The Cards adapted and it worked to perfection.
The Jerome Boger Show. Sounds like a failed 90s late-night talk show. Instead, it was the head ref getting way too much air time as penalty after penalty was called. You could practically hear the remote controls changing the channel looking for something else.
Gabbert got benched, is Fitzpatrick next? Todd Bowles said the starting quarterback will keep his job after the game but there seems to be little gained by sticking with the Valley product. The offense was listless under his command and at 1-5 it’s just about time to starting planning ahead. Give the Cardinals’ defense credit. It allowed 33 rushing yards for the night, which gave the Jets very little in the way of options.
Next up? Your rival. The Seahawks have not only won every game played against the Cards in University of Phoenix Stadium, they’ve embarrassed them. To the Seahawks’ credit, they’ve been able to survive Russell Wilson’s injuries and give themselves a nice early cushion in the division. We know the Cards are on the uptick. On Sunday night, we’ll find out how far they’ve come.