Didn’t we just talk about going and getting a win in St. Louis, regardless? So that’s what the Cards did.
But there is little question, of all the big-picture items coming out of the 17-13 nailbiter, was about quarterback Derek Anderson. He completed his first six passes and 10 of his first 13. Then he missed on his next seven. On the game-winning drive, he completed 6-of-7 (and piled up 101 yards passing on that drive, because of penalties).
“We still have to find out what our strengths are going to be with Derek as far as the kinds of passes we are going to run,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “He made some good throws and he made some throws that were not so good.”
Whisenhunt insisted he was comfortable with Anderson (so everyone clamoring for Max Hall, stop). He praised Anderson for handling himself well. Perhaps Whisenhunt just understands who Anderson is and there are things a team must accept.
Anderson was impressive in taking responsibility. “I missed some throws, some easy ones I have to make,” he said. “I know that. I have to be better.” Later, he compared it to his beloved golf game (he is a scratch golfer), saying some of his incompletions “are like missing four-foot birdies.”
He missed Larry Fitzgerald on 12 of the 15 passes he threw No. 11’s way, including a seam route that Fitz was behind everyone. “I want that, I have to hit that,” Anderson said. “I will watch it tomorrow and probably be sick.”
— Whisenhunt thinks it will get better with Anderson. Both he and his quarterback wore that tired smile that comes after a win. Anytime you can make some mistakes – or in this case, have the offense stagnant for a chunk of the game – and still win, that’s the best kind of learning experience. Anderson did throw the game-winning TD after all (celebration below) and didn’t throw an interception (although the Rams dropped at least one).
— It didn’t help that Early Doucet is hurt again, straining a groin and forcing two rookies – Stephen Williams and Max Komar – into significant playing time. Whisenhunt also said Fitz’s injured knee starting bothering him late in the game too.
— Tim Hightower may have cost himself dearly with two fumbles. Hightower had fumbling issues last season and to have it crop up twice today is the fastest way to the doghouse. The last one did look like he was down, but let’s face it, the only job the running back has after that last interception by Kerry Rhodes is to not turn it over. The game is then over.
— Komar desperately needed that big 20-yard catch he made on the final TD drive. It was Komar’s lost fumble after his previous catch around the Rams’ 5-yard line cost the Cards at least three points, and he twice dropped punt returns to the turf (but recovered those). “You are both encouraged and upset” with Komar, Whisenhunt said, “but that’s this game.”
— The Cardinals, by the way, didn’t fumble seven times in a game at all from 1983 through 2008. Now they have done it twice in five games (including the Monday night debacle in San Francisco late last season).
— New cornerback Greg Toler did fairly well. He was a sound tackler with 13, while the Rams clearly went in his direction and tried to stay away from DRC.
— The 17 points scored were the fewest for the Cards in a victory since Whiz became coach.
— Definitely one of the best all-around games safety Adrian Wilson has ever played. He plays like this, he may reach that coveted 30-30 club (sacks and interceptions) yet. He now has 21½ sacks and 25 picks. (As good as he was, though, I do not expect Wilson to have 16 sacks and 32 interceptions this season. I do expect him to be NFC defensive player of the week, however).
— Anderson praised newbie Ram Sam Bradford, but he did note, “I was kind of happy we had a rookie quarterback leading them at the end.”
— Weirdest part of the game was because of the great play by Steve Breaston, the Cardinals had, essentially, a 10-play drive (plus three other plays called back because of penalty) that lasted almost five minutes of game clock. It started at the Arizona 29 and ended at the Arizona 35. “Talk about a 15-play drive to nowhere,” center Lyle Sendlein said.
Not that it matters now. Now, it’s a funny little anecdote in a win’s aftermath.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Derek Anderson, DRC, Early Doucet, Greg Toler, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, Larry Fitzgerald, Lyle Sendlein, Max Komar, Rams, Sam Bradford, Stephen Williams, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower
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