Opponents be warned: The Honey Badger has returned

Nov 3, 2014, 12:43 AM | Updated: 4:36 am

Follow @AZSportsPresented By...

Upcoming Cardinals opponents: Brace yourselves.

The Honey Badger is back.

(Get it? Because he’s playing in a brace now?)

Bad jokes aside, there was nothing funny to the Cowboys about getting picked off by a guy they may have underestimated entering the game.

Since Tyrann Mathieu has returned to full minutes after injuring his knee last season, he’s been feeling out his left leg and adjusting to its new ‘armor’ — a fairly large brace.

Teammates have said he’s been closer and closer each game to his old self, and Sunday he made a statement about his health with his first interception of the season.

It came halfway through the third quarter. Arizona had a four-point lead on a headless Cowboys team, and was hunting for some momentum. Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden slung a pass to tight end Jason Witten, a carbon copy of an earlier play that was successful.

“They ran that play on us in a previous series,” said Mathieu.

Don’t duplicate a pass against the Honey Badger.

Mathieu got his mitts on it; cradled it close, then took off, gaining nine yards before getting wrapped up by Witten.

For the second-year safety, plays like that are the best indicator of his return to full health and movement.

“I don’t think there was any doubt (I’d be back),” said Mathieu of his personal thoughts regarding his injury recovery. “(But) people won’t really believe you until they actually see you perform and succeed on the field.”

With five combined tackles to accentuate his interception, there won’t be much left to doubt.

“Hopefully people understand that the Badger is back,” laughed Mathieu.

As for the Cardinals defense as a whole, ‘doubt’ is not really the emotion other teams experience when preparing to play Arizona.

Maybe ‘worry’. Or ‘fear’.

The defense was the major factor in deciding the game Sunday. They pressured Weeden consistently, intercepted two passes and held star Dallas running back DeMarco Murray to only 79 yards, the first time he’s had under 100 rush yards this season.

But the biggest defensive moment came via a fourth-and-1 stop by Deone Bucannon. From there, the Cardinals were in complete control of the game.

“We believe in each other,” said Matheiu. “We had no doubt we were going to come in and get the victory”

Now 7-1 with the 28-17 win, the Cardinals will host the St. Louis Rams in Week 10.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Rome Odunze celebrates...

Tyler Drake

Jeremiah: Cardinals can’t go wrong with any of top 3 WR NFL Draft prospects

When it comes down to the top three wide-receiving draft prospects,'s Daniel Jeremiah sees nothing but No. 1 WR potential.

11 hours ago

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort...

Kevin Zimmerman

All eyes on 2024: Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort talks NFL Draft philosophy

While Marvin Harrison Jr. is the prize, Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort is keeping his pick options open in the 2024 NFL Draft.

20 hours ago

Frankie Luvu takes the field...

Tyler Drake

Frankie Luvu viewed as best free agent fit for Cardinals by ESPN’s Bowen

When it comes to adding top free agent talent, ESPN writer Matt Bowen sees ILB Frankie Luvu as the best fit for the Arizona Cardinals.

1 day ago

Cardinals helmet...

Tyler Drake

Report: Cardinals part ways with VP of player personnel Quentin Harris

The Arizona Cardinals have reportedly parted ways with vice president of player personnel and former player Quentin Harris.

2 days ago

Malik Nabers stiff arms a defender...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals add Malik Nabers, Robinson in Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's latest mock draft has the Cardinals improving both sides of the ball with their pair of first-round picks.

2 days ago

Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade...

Associated Press

2 adults charged with murder in deadly shooting at Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade

Two men have been charged with murder in the shooting that killed one person and injured 22 others after Kansas City's Super Bowl parade.

3 days ago

Opponents be warned: The Honey Badger has returned