As far back as the summer, Bruce Arians was speculating that Michael Floyd could become a breakout wide receiver this season. The last two weeks seem to underscore Floyd’s coming-out year. He had the 193 yards in Jacksonville, including his memorable 91-yard score, but his game against the Colts seemed to put all of Floyd’s abilities on display in one tidy little package.
Floyd was targeted seven times by quarterback Carson Palmer. He made seven catches (for 104 yards). Here’s how it broke down:
— First quarter. Second-and-6, IND 48. Floyd runs a crossing pattern about four yards downfield and then, in stride, makes the catch and easily adds another five yards for the first down.
— Second quarter. Second-and-6, AZ 45: Floyd runs deep down the right sideline and makes a nice one-on-one jump-ball catch for 29 yards.
— Second quarter. Second-and-6, IND 36: Palmer is flushed from the pocket rolling right. He has to launch a pass to the right sideline almost all arm, but Floyd has smartly broken off his route and come back to the ball, snaring it for an 11-yard gain. Yet another first down. (Are you sensing a pattern?)
— Second quarter. Second-and-10, AZ 33: Floyd makes the grab a yard or so short of the first-down marker. But he powers through the attempted tackle of Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn for what ends up as a 13-yard gain.
— Third quarter. Third-and-14, 50: Floyd knows right where the first-down marker is on the right sideline. Then he leaps to snare a high pass (pictured below) for a 14-yard gain. Analyst Dan Fouts, a former QB, talks about how nice it is to have tall receivers so the quarterback can throw it high and the wideout can just go up and get it away from the defender. At 6-foot-3, Floyd certainly qualifies.
— Third quarter. Second-and-8, IND 34: A simple slant pattern on the move, gains about five yards after the catch on a nine-yard completion.
— Third quarter. Second-and-12, AZ 27: The “easiest” play of the day. A skinny post to gain 19 yards and Floyd slips at the end, meaning he doesn’t even get hit on the play. A beautiful choice/throw by Palmer, and a solid route run.
Floyd earns a first down on each of his seven catches. On the day, he shows his ability to run precise routes, to break a tackle for extra yards, to run after catch, and to be able to go up and get a pass. He shows his sure hands. And if he keeps producing (Floyd is now on pace to have 71 receptions for 1,107 yards) teams are going to have to start paying more attention to him — and that in theory should take some of the attention away from Larry Fitzgerald, freeing him up more often.
Said Arians, “(Michael) is the big-time player I hoped he’d become.”
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd
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