Cardinals’ QB Carson Palmer struggles in first half vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Aug 25, 2014, 1:46 AM | Updated: 1:49 am

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The Arizona Cardinals’ starters played the entire first half for the first time this preseason in their game Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The results were decidedly mixed, as the Bengals took a 13-3 lead into halftime:

• Carson Palmer looked like a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback during limited action in the Cardinals’ first two preseason games. He looked nothing of the sort in the first half Sunday night against his former team.

Palmer committed the Cardinals’ first turnover of the preseason, and it was an especially ugly and costly one. On the Cards’ second drive, his pass intended for Larry Fitzgerald was easily picked off by cornerback Terence Newman, who returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.

Palmer appeared to panic under pressure — and even when he had time, he didn’t look like the 11-year veteran he is. He missed a wide-open Michael Floyd for what should have been a sure touchdown in the first quarter, and he overthrew John Brown in the corner of the end zone in the second quarter. For the half, Palmer completed just 7 of 19 passes for 92 yards.

• Floyd, who missed Arizona’s first two exhibition games with a groin injury, made his first and only catch of the game with a 4-yard grab midway through the first quarter.

• Starting running back Andre Ellington, who carried just four times for 12 yards in Arizona’s first two preseason games, reminded fans why he led the NFL with 5.5 yards per rush in his rookie season.

Earlier this week, Ellington said he bulked up during the offseason, and that work appeared to pay off during a 9-yard first-quarter run in which he (with some help from the offensive line) moved the pile a few additional yards on the Cardinals’ first possession.

Ellington also reeled off a 24-yard gain in the second quarter that ultimately set up a short field goal. He finished the first half with 46 yards on nine rushes (5.1 yards per carry).

• Bengals starting tailback Giovani Bernard had little room to run against the Cards, who held him to minus-2 yards on four carries in the first quarter. The Cardinals, which were No. 1 in the NFL against the run last season, limited Cincinnati to 41 yards on 15 first-half carries.

• Linebacker Kenny Demens made the most of his expanded playing time in the absence of Kevin Minter, who sat out with a pectoral injury. In the first quarter, Demens’ pressure of quarterback Andy Dalton forced an intentional grounding call, and in the second quarter, Demens had an impressive open-field tackle of three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green to prevent a long gain.

• The Cards’ secondary had a mixed performance. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie did a stellar job of blanketing Green on a deep pass in the second quarter, but he also badly missed a tackle of wideout Mohamed Sanu on a screen pass several plays earlier. Cornerback Jerraud Powers expertly swatted away a Dalton pass on third down to hold the Bengals to a field goal in the second quarter.

• Mired in a position battle with rookie Chandler Catanzaro, kicker Jay Feely didn’t do himself any favors by sending a 48-yard first-quarter field goal attempt well wide right. Feely somewhat atoned with a successful 24-yard field goal to put the Cardinals on the board, along with an ensuing kickoff that he booted nine yards deep into the end zone.

 Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) cannot hold onto a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)  Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) pulls in a pass as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall makes the tackle during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)  Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Larry Foote (50) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)  Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon Tate (19) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals' Jaron Brown (13) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)  Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton warms up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) bobbles a pass as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall (29) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws under pressure from Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Sam Acho during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) looks to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) runs after the catch as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers (25) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)  Cincinnati Bengals' Jermaine Gresham, right, makes a jumping catch in front of Arizona Cardinals' Kenny Demens (54) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton (14) scrambles away from Arizona Cardinals' Frostee Rucker (98) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton gets off a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws as -Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Margus Hunt (99) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)  Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talks with field judge Buddy Horton (82) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws as Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)  Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) looks for room to run as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (59) and George Iloka (43) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton, left, talks with injured AJ McCarron, right, prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  Arizona Cardinals tight end Rob Housler (84) can't make the catch as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur, left, defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) throws under pressure from Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi (90) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jason Campbell (17) looks to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton, right, scrambles away from Arizona Cardinals' Sam Acho (94) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill is stopped by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Glenn Carson (56) and Teddy Williams (29) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals tight end Darren Fells (85) is hit by Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Shawn Williams, bottom, during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) makes a diving touchdown catch as Cincinnati Bengals defensive back R.J. Stanford (28) defends during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Bengals' Jermaine Gresham, right, makes a jumping catch in front of Arizona Cardinals' Kenny Demens (54) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton (14) scrambles away from Arizona Cardinals' Frostee Rucker (98) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton gets off a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws as -Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Margus Hunt (99) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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