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Finishing kick by the defense

Posted by Darren Urban on December 29, 2011 – 10:29 am

Much has been made about the Cardinals’ strong fourth-quarters on offense — particularly by the quarterback — but of late, the defense has arguably been even better.

In the fourth quarter and overtime of the last three games, which included two come-from-behind wins and the no-margin-for-error game in Cincinnati, the Cards’ defensive unit has been 2000 Ravens good. In those three total quarters (plus a Browns’ overtime possession), the Cards haven’t allowed a point. They have allowed just three first downs and the Niners, Browns and Bengals didn’t convert a single third down. Over 41 total plays, opponents gained just 106 yards.

The Cards also forced three fumbles which they recovered, forced 13 punts in 19 possessions, and allowed their offense to win or at least have a chance.

Combine that with how the offense comes alive late, and it’s little wonder the Cards have been able to win so many in dramatic fashion.

Overall, the Cards have the stats to back up how they turned the corner defensively since their second-half meltdown in Baltimore. Starting with the next week (the overtime win against St. Louis at UoP), the Cards are 12th overall in the NFL in yards allowed per game, first in red-zone defense, third in third-down completion percentage, third in touchdowns allowed and seventh in passing yards allowed per game.


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Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »


21 Responses to “Finishing kick by the defense”

  1. By Brandon Orgeron on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Something I’d like to see for next year is more takeaways. We neeed to get more interceptions and turnovers next year. That will make our defense complete.

  2. By MIKE G on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–The Card’s can be proud of their improvement on defense. They seem to be playing better as a unit. The unit played well with Eason and Carter on the nose. Darren–How do the Cards feel about Dan Williams on the nose??? Were they happy with his progress before the injury???

  3. By Dynosoar on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    For myself, I’m satisfied with how the season turned around. I hope we won’t lose momentum in the offseason.

    I’m looking forward to a Callais extension and how we address the O-line.

    Thank you to all of Ray Horton’s squad. First in Red-Zone, that’s Totally Awesome!

    Kurt Warner had us first in red zone scoring. If we could just be first in Red Zone defense and scoring in the same season…

    Let’s take care of Seattle and in the playoffs root for… looks like no one.

  4. By Darren Urban on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Dan Williams

    Yes, they thought he was doing OK. Needs to stay in shape in offseason.

  5. By Jesse Robles on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    I just hope they can do this all season next year, and not just in the 4th Qtr either. Need to play like that for 60 minutes, not just the last 12, and OT. The Cardinals can have one of the best D’s in the NFL next year if they keep it up. MVP goes to Ray Horton, the Cardinals are nothing without the Defense they have now, carrying them to every victory and making Ken Wisenhunt look really good.

    Great stats though Darren for the 4th Qtr and OT.

    Can’t wait for next season! Been saying that my whole life.

  6. By Kofari on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    I hope Patrick Peterson and Keven Kolb Play this sunday :)

  7. By D on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    If they can get back a healthy Toler and D. Williams (in shape version), bring back Campbell and add maybe another pass rusher then this defense will be very good.

    Darren- would the Cards consider moving Bradley to OLB and maybe either drafting or signing another ILB?
    I know Lennon will be back and he has been productive, but he is not exactly young.
    Thanks

  8. By Darren Urban on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Bradley

    They signed Bradley to be an ILB. I would expect that to remain the same, and I expect them to draft a linebacker.

  9. By 98CardsFan on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, if they had the option between a potential elite OLB(Woodley~esque) and a possible above average OT(like they picked Levi) which way would they go? Forget free agency or resigning their own guys, do they draft by need or best player avaliable that fits what they do? Sadly I think they would reach in this draft. I like what C. Upshaw of Alabama brings to the table. He’s already a 34LB and lines up everywhere, inside/outside/d~line. big and fast too. thats my wish, because on offense you have to address bookend tackle spots and none jump out for me.

  10. By Darren Urban on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    98Cards —

    RE: Draft

    Way too early, and if they are picking 12-16, lot of variables. It’s funny listening to fans though, some get mad if the Cards don’t go for a position, so mad if it isn’t BPA.

  11. By Scott H on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Man…who ARE these guys??? And what have they done with the players who started the season???

  12. By cards62 on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Darren I am so very proud of our defense the second half of the season, but I think the biggest reason they have played so well in the 4th quarter and overtime is that our offense finally decided to start playing in the 4th quarter so our defense could actually get some rest.

    Excited for next season to see how the defense improves, and hoping that our offense improves next season.

    Enjoyed your article on Levi Brown, and I agree with you that he has a good head on his shoulders, but I just do not think he is a good tackle. I hope we try him at guard to see what happens if at the right price.

    Darren correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think that we had any offensive lineman named to the pro bowl even as an alternate. Could you please also tell me when was the last time an offensive lineman drafted by the Cardinals made the pro bowl as a Cardinal? I remember Leonard Davis making it as a guard for the Cowboys.

    Any chance of you being able to do an interview with Russ Grimm after the seaon on his thoughts about the struggles of our OL the last few seasons and what he is planning to do to improve their play? I think that would be interesting reading.

    Thank you and Happy New Year to you and all Cardinal Fans.

  13. By Darren Urban on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Cards62 –

    RE: OL pro bowl

    Levi was actually an alternate after the 2009 season, I believe. Leonard was an alternate a few times. The last guy to make it was Lomas Brown in 1996.

  14. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Now that A dub, dockett and fitz are signed the Cardinals have finally run out of star players to let go, hopefully we can start drafting some beasts! Boy it would be nice to have that 2nd round pick tho….

  15. By Cards4Life on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    I like Russ Grimm Hope we keep him, dnt know who people think were gonna get that will do better with what we got, but I would like to see an Interview with him I would like to know his take on the OL

  16. By Brandon LA on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    That’s because our defense is getting really good now. Deal with it!!! Awesome!!

  17. By joe67 on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    re: O-line pro bowl pix, in the mid 70’s (I know, its ancient history, but…) Cards had 3 go to pro bowl the same year. Dierdorf RT, Dobler RG, and Banks C. We had what was considered as the best O-line coach in the league in Jim Hannifan. Also remember Dierdorf was drafted by the Cards and is HOF.

    I know we are banged up, but somehow, someway, need a win Sunday to carry the momentum into off-season.

  18. By Andy K on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Will Greg Toler be the starting Cornerback for next season? Toler CB#1 and Peterson CB#2

  19. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    Andy K —

    RE: CB starters

    We have a long, long way to go before that is determined. Pretty sure Peterson will be your top CB next season though.

  20. By Eazy E on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    Darren-

    Wow Lomas Brown ”Lo” Brown! He’s on espn on a regular basis now. Our D has great potential with a strong d-line consisting of calais, darnell, and a returning healthy and in shape hopefully dan williams. Depth with a hopefully resigned vonnie, eason playing nt and de, david in his 2nd year. LBs inside are very nice with future all pro daryl washington and borderline pro bowler paris lenon. If we draft another guy inside, it would be even nicer. Stewart couldn’t unseat lenon so I don’t know what we’re going to do about that situation. Reggie Walker is a good special teamer, but very raw on defense. Outside young guys impressed with Acho who I liked in the beginning and O’Brien being healthy had his moments too. Clark is good with a more situational role, can still start, but would be more productive with less snaps. Joey it all depends on the salary. Secondary looks really good with a young Patrick and a hopefully resigned Richard who really impressed. A.J. was up and down because he was also raw. Toler hopefully coming back healthy is a huge ?. Mike can play special teams and cover a 3rd, 4th receiver. Crezdon and Korey are special teamers for right now and raw also in our d. Kerry was injured a big chunk of the season, but before and after the injury, he was on his way to hawaii honestly. Rashad didn’t play bad either, but he just ain’t kerry in terms of playmaking which ain’t a diss, rhodes is a pro bowl type safety. A-Dub or A-Wil is A-Dub or A-Wil, had a big year for all you adrian wilson haters out there just like last year but even better. He could’ve had more picks, but he dropped a couple, but hey could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, who cares, still an outstanding season! Considine didn’t get enough time to impress really except for special teams and I remember him more on the eagles and jags. Hamza is a special team guy, but can play some defense too. Defense needs another dominant OLB, and probably another nice cb with pat and rich.

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