Between ‘All or Nothing’: The Cardinals give us ‘Something’
Dec 4, 2016, 8:06 PM | Updated: Dec 5, 2016, 11:16 am
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
I came to a football game expecting to write an obituary. Instead, I’m peddling hope like I’m Andy from Shawshank.
Any talk of the Cardinals’ season being over is on hold for now.
The rational and practical side of me understands that the chances of the Cardinals making the playoffs are slim and that given those realities the best thing for them to do is get the best draft pick possible. Steve Keim can hopefully rediscover his draft day magic touch and the Cards can get back on the road to success. Don’t mean to sound like Mr. Spock but wanting a better draft pick when the season is lost is logical.
Instead, what we were treated to on Sunday was a pause on the doom and the dread, a reminder that there is indeed a place between “All or Nothing.”
Sunday’s win was “Something.” And given the state of this football team, and frankly, the state of our state when it comes to sports, we could all use a little “Something.”
Now comes the obligatory reality check. Winning out is the closest assurance the Cards have of getting into the playoffs. One more loss will make it seven on the year, and it’s reasonable to think that won’t be good enough. Of those four games, only one is at home.
But in beating Washington, the Cardinals earned their most satisfying moment of the season by a wide margin. As irrational as it sounds in my own head, I’m glad it happened.
Other random thoughts from the win over Washington:
You’re the best. Around. So says Carson Palmer of his running back David Johnson, calling him “the best player in the NFL, point blank.” I’m sure Bruce Arians will point out a mental error or two tomorrow just to keep the kid humble, but the numbers are staggering. Eighty-four yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. Ninty-one yards receiving and a touchdown in the air. ESPN Stats and Info pointed out he’s the first player to get 100-plus yards from scrimmage in all 12 games to start a season since Edgerrin James in 2005. I can’t help but wonder how much will the Cardinals will ease off on Johnson to keep him fresh for next year when this season’s goals are officially out of reach.
Who wants a biscuit? We know Arians does. A 4th-and-1 late with around four minutes left and Johnson picks up 14 yards. A few plays later, rather than running the ball to kill clock, the Cards execute one of the few deep passes that have worked this year, a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson. By now Cardinals fans are so familiar with “no risk-it, no biscuit” — they’ve probably tattooed it on their shoulder blade — but I liked how Palmer, Arians and Larry Fitzgerald explained it after the game. When you are where the Cardinals are, why not try for a biscuit? It’s desperation time and hardly the moment to play it safe. Not that Arians ever would have anyway.
Bravo Larry, Bravo. Now No. 3 on the all-time receptions list. Now 10th on the all-time yardage list. The youngest player ever to get to 1,110 yards receiving.
Big play defense. The Cards had been missing this for much of the season. But the Calais Campbell sack and forced fumble and the pick by Peterson shows the Cards can still change a game with their defense.
Now comes the Dolphins. More scoreboard watching, more talk of winning on the East Coast. Let’s see how much longer the Cards can stay around in this thing.