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Getting defensive with Lions aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on November 16, 2014 – 8:30 pm

It could have been any other game, any other result. Todd Bowles isn’t getting too high, or too low. And the defensive coordinator isn’t going to overreach with his praise either. His unit simply shut down the Lions Sunday, but Bowles will be Bowles.

“I thought they played hard,” Bowles said. “We did good in the process of understanding about not giving up the big play. We missed quite a few tackles, but we played hard and we played together. Biggest thing we did was finish the ballgame. The last two weeks we kind of took the foot off the pedal.”

Forget for a moment the Cardinals closed with a nasty fourth quarter last week (two touchdowns against the Rams), or that the TD allowed late in Dallas was completely meaningless. That’s why Bowles will keep getting the best from his unit. All his players joked this week after Bowles signed his extension that it wasn’t a big deal because they all feel his days are numbered anyway, and it does seem likely he’ll have a shot at a head coaching job if he wants it.

But in the first game A.C. (after Carson), the Cardinals won they way they have won all season. They did enough on offense, and the defense was stout. And lookee here: They have a three-game lead in the NFC West with six to play.

— Drew Stanton, for the first two-and-most-of-a-third possessions, made the Cards’ offense look excellent. The Cards were moving toward a third TD in a row until Stanton threw his first interception (Stanton said he never saw the linebacker.) How about the offensive line making sure Stanton wasn’t sacked, especially against that defense? I do think this offense will be OK with Stanton. I want to see how they run next week in Seattle – the Chiefs made the Seahawks’ run D look very ordinary Sunday.

— It was the play of the game but it wasn’t. Drew Butler’s punt was about to be downed at the Detroit 1-yard line, but Justin Bethel tossed the ball back as he was falling into the end zone. Mike Leach and Rob Housler couldn’t grab it, but the Lions’ Jeremy Ross did. It’s one of those quirky NFL rules – once a punting team touches the ball, if it is not downed, the receiving team can pick it up and return it with no fear of turning it over. Once it is touched, even if it is subsequently fumbled, the receiving team keeps it. So Ross had nothing to lose and he took it back to the Arizona 46.

Detroit was only down eight at the time. Smartly, Bruce Arians challenged, saying Bethel had possession before he tossed it back and it should’ve been whistled dead. Lo and behold, the play was overturned. A huge moment.

“I was like, ‘No, I was in the end zone! This is a touchback!’ ” Bethel said. “Then I said, ‘Darn, my good feet.’ … It turned in our favor. We got the call.”

— Larry Fitzgerald will get an MRI after hurting his left knee but he returned to the game to make the game-clinching first-down catch and he was walking around in the locker room pretty well after the game.

— Andre Ellington also got up slowly a couple of times after carries, but he said he was fine. “It’s one of those things, guys fall on me,” Ellington said. “They try and find ways to slow me down. It was one of those late falldowns on the pile.”

— Welcome back, Michael Floyd.

— Four more sacks for the Cardinals after six last week. Alex Okafor had two and looks more and more like a guy who can help off the edge long-term. I think he’s played well and it will be interesting to see what the Cards do with the lineup when Matt Shaughnessy – who can return to practice this week – can play again in three weeks.

— You can live with interceptions from Stanton but watching him make the tackles on both is kind of scary.

— That last Drew Butler end-over-end punt that pinned the Lions on their own 11? He almost dropped the snap. Yeah, that would’ve been a mess. “I looked up and it slipped out of my hands,” Butler said. “I just let it out. In those situations, you just want to put them inside the 20.”

— Big one in Seattle next week. The Cardinals win, they would all but eliminate the Seahawks. Never thought I’d be saying that in November.

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Posted in Blog | 36 Comments »


36 Responses to “Getting defensive with Lions aftermath”

  1. By UK Cards Fan on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    Darren why the MRI for Fitz? Just precautionary?

  2. By Darren Urban on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    UK —

    RE: Fitz

    I assume so. You are going to have him checked out just in case.

  3. By Steve Weston on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    Wow what an incredible game. Actually went to a sports bar here in VA to watch it – which I usually don’t do simply because I tend to get loud when I listen to my Cards and I don’t enjoy doing that in public! 🙂 But I was very glad I got to watch the entire game instead of bits and pieces on Red Zone and listening to the radio broadcast.

    I honestly thought we’d be putting up a lot of points after those first two drives, I’d have never thought those 14 were going to be the ONLY points we scored! Hated to see those two interceptions, but you know if Stanton is going to throw a couple of uncommon INTs, at least we won the game in which he tossed them! And who would have thought we’d have held their offense to scoring NOTHING beyond the two short field three point scores they got off those two turnovers?

    Great team effort all around, Cards!! Damn, I’m gonna have to go back to that bar if the Seahawks game isn’t on TV out here next Sunday…

  4. By mick3517 on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Steve —

    I am in Maryland and can’t find any radio station that airs the Cardinals games. What radio station do you listen to?

  5. By cards62 on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    Our defense is just unbelievable right now. Lions 11 first downs for the game, under 200 passing yards, and no TDs even with great field position on an interception. 4 more sacks, 10 in the last two games after having 8 the first 8 games.
    CC a monster again and PP very nice Cromartie very nice and offense should take the entire defense out to dinner again.

    Nice work also by the oline. I know we did not run the ball again but no sacks against the lions on over 30 pass attempts that is very nice very very impressive.

    Man I am enjoying the ride. Seattle next week at their place with their season on the line. You know we will get their best so just another great game for our team to rise up.

    I think Green Bay is the second best team in the NFC at this point so I will keep my eye on them the rest of the way.

    Rams easy over Denver. I did not see that one coming, but they do play the tough D. The West is loaded.

    Great job again coaching staff keep up the great work.

    Go Cards beat those Seahawks and Dan Williams we need you to show again this week so we can shut down Lynch.

  6. By Larry t on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    If we had a running back that wasn’t afraid of being hit we would be a lot better

  7. By Oscar on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    I can’t recall what other games but Bruce gets a little too conservative when the offense is ready to put a nail in the coffin. On 1st & 5 instead of running it twice and being forced to throw on 3rd down, I would’ve like to see a PA call or 3 passing plays. The Defense dominated the whole game!!! Great win but the ply calling at times gets too conservative, I’d like to see us go for the Kill.

  8. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    With this defense, giving up a couple of INTs in exchange for no sacks and no fumbles (and a quick start) from our QB is probably a worthwhile compromise. Keep up the great work Drew!

  9. By jimwells522 on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    The interesting thing about this team is that we can’t really call them the “Cardiac” cards. This team just seems to be enforcing their will on their opponent and getting the job done. The games will always be close, but it just seems like this coaching staff is instilling a will on the players and they are responding by dictating how the game will be played.

  10. By Richard S on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    Wow! Next week the Cardinals get to play a team that doesn’t have the 2nd best record in the league. I hope it’s not a trap game. Actually the system giving 3 points to home field advantage has the Seahawks winning by something like 3.6 points. Two pretty evenly matched teams. I still think with the tough schedule the Seahawks have, they’ll end up losing to Az at Az, SF at SF giving them 6 losses and playing Philly in overtime for an undetermined outcome and a possible 7th loss.

  11. By Dre on Nov 16, 2014 | Reply

    Great win go red birds

  12. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    What a huge win. And yes I know there are six games left but this win absolutely puts us in an unbelievable position for playoff positioning.

    Consider this: If we just go 3-3 from here on, then we’re 12-4. The only way we lose the division if that happens is if Seattle or SF goes 6-0. (Seattle would win on head-to-head; SF still might not, as they’d be 1-1 against us and it would depend on the remaining tiebreakers).

    And considering that we own head-to-head tiebreakers against all the 7-3 teams except GB, the only way any of DET, PHI and DAL finish ahead of us if we go 3-3 is if they go 6-0. That seems very unlikely.

    So if we go 3-3 from here, a first round bye is almost a lock. While other teams have a mathematical shot, realistically, if we go 3-3, the Pack is the only team with a good chance of finishing ahead of us. I could see them running the table since they have three relatively easy road games, along with NE, DET and ATL at home. That Patriots game in two weeks is going to be huge for us. We really want NE to win that one. At this point the most likely top two seeds are us and GB, and if it plays out that way, you want them coming to U of P, not us going to Lambeau in January.

    If the Pack were to go 5-1 (assume the loss is to the Patriots) and we went 3-3, we’d both finish 12-4 and we’d both have 3 conference losses (they’re already 5-3 in conference). Next tiebreaker is common games… they are 1-2 against opponents also on our schedule so far (losing to SEA and DET, beating PHI) and would finish 3-2 if you assume they beat ATL and win the DET rematch.. . We are 2-0 in “common games” (beat PHI and DET) with the two SEA games and ATL remaining. If you assume we win just one of those, we are 3-2 at worst in the “common games” and therefore can’t lose that tiebreaker to GB. Even if we tied in common games, next tiebreaker is strength of victory and I don’t know exactly how that works but I can’t see GB’s strength of victory being better than ours. I mean, they’ve beaten the Jets, the Bears twice, Minnesota, Miami, Carolina, and Philly… Two teams with winning records (a 7-3 and a 6-4)… We’ve beaten Dallas, Philly, NYG, Washington, SF, SD, Oak, St Louis, and Detroit… five teams with winning records, 3 7-3’s and 2 6-4’s.

    Of course I want us to win every game but the cushion we have is pretty amazing. We are heavy favorites for at least a #2 seed and have the inside track on the #1 seed. 3-3 may be enough to get it.

  13. By Lee W. Flanagan on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Statistics? ??? If you’re a doubter because of statistics, you aren’t watching the Cardinals play…especially the defense. These guys play.

  14. By superbowlcards on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Seems Stanton makes Fitz his last option, posted earlier in the week that this was a big fear of mine, he needs to make Fitz #1 option, 10-12 targets per, means Larry will get 125-135 yards per game, I believe we continue to win, continue to toss TD’s to Floyd, but need Fitz on front burner.
    Stanton needs to bust out the creddit card and take the entire defense out to dinner! Those 2 INT’s should have been 14 points for Lions, would have been a loss, THANK YOU DEFENSE!
    Not sure where the studly pass rush the last 2 games (Rams oline pretty weak, but Lions have solid oline) but hope it is here to stay! Not sure if PP smothering play since Dallas game has anythin to do with it, tend to think it helps, please just keep it up!! 4-6 sacks per game through 1 February 2015, works fine for me!!!
    Awesome win, hopefully Drew continues to get the offense more TD’s, dont think 14 points per is going to be enough, once he gets his timing down, should be fine.

    Random thought – heard Todd Gurley may have torn ACL, was a top 10 pick in 2015, if he decides to declare still obviously he will drop in draft, if he is still available come round 4-5 should Cards take a shot on him??
    I say if he is there in round#4, we should snatch him up so fast, it would make Gurley’s head spin! Anyone agree/disagree?
    Who would have thought?? When we beat Seattle I think they are out of playoff picture. Who would have thought we would be talking playoff elimination for the Seahawks, and in November, NO LESS!!!

  15. By Big Ken on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    The Lions defense number one in the league? seriously? I hope they had pencils and paper because Detroit got schooled today.

  16. By ryan on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    HELL YES!!! 9-1

    A win is a win is a win is a win is a win is a win is a win is a win is a win!

    First time since 1948? WOW! This is amazing!

    Anyone notice that Kurt Warner was the only one not to pick the CARDS to win? I love me some warner but damn, that pissed me off!

    Lets go get to 10-1 and pluck the sea chickens!

    GO CARDS!

  17. By georgiebird on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Cards continue to amaze. But as BA says- nothing won yet. Home field advantage throughout is the big prize.
    As I watch Stanton play some things are obvious:
    1) DS does not see the field as well as CP
    2) DS has more mobility that might serve well against top defenses
    3) DS is a tough kid and a decent tackler

  18. By georgiebird on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Darren,
    Has BA talked about the end of the game -he traded a game winning 53 yd field goal by Cat in favor of Lions going the long field for the tie. Instead of the Lions getting the ball at the 38 yd line-(with a Cat miss) an average punt would get it to the 12 yd line- a difference of 26 yds. Detroit is a top offense who has consistently won games late. There are other factors i.e. blocked punt, run back, penalty.

  19. By Darren Urban on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: FG

    — Arians could have tried a game-icing 53-yard field goal on the Cards’ next possession, but given the way his defense had played, it was never heavily considered.
    “I trust our defense to hold those things,” Arians said.
    He was right. Drew Butler’s punt pinned the Lions at their own 11 and Detroit didn’t go far. One more forced punt, and the defense’s job was done.

    http://www.azcardinals.com/news-and-events/article-2/Cardinals-Stop-Lions-In-Their-Tracks/c28a090b-ae11-46e3-8932-afbc54713d6e

  20. By Dynosoar on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Richard S,

    I don’t believe this team is built to fall for a trap game. They take each team one week at a time with the goal of winning every game. They also believe in “any given week” and with that mentality, I don’t see them falling for any trap game.

    Two consecutive trips to Seattle should produce two consecutive wins. This Seattle team (and the SF team) appear ready to implode. I don’t understand what’s happening to these two teams, but they both appear to be on a course to self destruct.

    Then again, even after yesterdays win the Weynefuss (sic) pundit on NFL.com was saying that everyone better hope that Green Bay doesn’t secure home filed advantage because they can’t be beaten at home. Last I checked, apparently neither can we and we currently have a three game lead on GB for home field advantage.

    So appearances can be deceiving. Even to the pundits. (I also don’t have any intricate cool system like you do, just my gut.)

  21. By Dynosoar on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    I have to say, regarding BA’s response to the question about “can Stanton lead this team to a Super Bowl win?” and the response that this game has huge playoff implications…

    and all the flak he’s getting from the pundits for it…

    What coach worth their salt would think “no I don’t wan to win the Super Bowl, that’s not my goal.” I don’t even think the Lions coach doesn’t want to win the Super Bowl.

    I applaud you BA for standing steadfast in your conviction of leading this team in the quest for winning the prize.

    Any coach with a team like ours Should have his sights set firmly on the Lombardi. Good on you Coach Arians and staff and players and Cardinals organization. Keep your sights firmly on the prize. And thank you for doing so.

    The Lombardi trophy or nothing at all!

  22. By John The Draft Guy on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Two quick scores and that’s all the defense needed. Now that was an amazing defensive effort.

    I thought we had them guessing from the first play. Bucannon was on Ebron. Ebron went in motion and Bucannon went with him, which usually signals to the QB, Man Coverage.
    So the blocking figured Bucannon would take himself out of the play covering Ebron. Instead, Bucannon blitzed off the edge and hit the RB in the back field. I saw Stafford look like where did he come from?

    I love watching the game inside the game. Bowles just is fearless. He rushed 3 and dropped 8 back into zones. He blitzed and played man. He even stayed true with Powers covering the slot whether it was Megatron or Tate.

    The cardinals are just fun to watch to see how Bowles changes and morphs his defense to confuse offenses.

    I love Cro and PP and they deserve the love. But Powers is a pretty good player who has been one of those unsung heros.

  23. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    I had the same questions about not taking those FG tries (there were two) but I understand the rationale for not doing so.

    Sometimes you have games where the final score looks like a blowout but it was really close most of the way (e.g., our Denver game). Other times you have a game like this… even though the entire second half we were never up by more than the single score, it didn’t feel that way. It felt more like a blowout, or at least a solid win.

    I mean, we basically dominated the Lions. Think about this: we were essentially minus 2 in the turnover department. (I know Stafford threw one pick but he basically tossed the ball up under pressure on a 3rd and 13 from around midfield… essentially that’s no different from punting. If your guy makes a play or there’s a penalty, great; if not, you were punting anyway.) Our two penalties were potentially devastating if you consider them in the abstract. I mean, if you knew nothing about this game other than that Stanton was going to have two picks — one on a first down play deep in Detroit territory that got picked off on the 5 yard line, another in our own territory that got returned to the AZ 25 — and that Detroit would have no turnovers (other than the aforementioned INT that was basically a punt) — you probably wouldn’t have been too optimistic about the Cards’ chances. And yet we won by 8. The Lions had only 11 first downs. 262 total yards. We had 4 sacks and allowed none. A couple breaks went our way — that weird play on the punt return that was called back (I guess that’s the rule) and the spot on the final Fitz reception — but even without those, I don’t think the outcome is different.

    It’s a great time to be a Cardinals fan.

  24. By clssylssy on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    What’s the Cat man’s longest FG? Seems like his only miss was in the 48-50 range, but not sure. Seems like BA’s decision was a good one given the fact that it wasn’t really critical and our defense was so hot!

  25. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Yep, lets see if Drew learns from those INTs, no reason to think he won’t… every reason to think he will. He’s pretty good and has only started 8 games, he may have a LOT of upside. He was very to close to 3 INTs btw…

    Also noticed Detroit Safeties were playing us deep while Drew may have underthrown a couple long balls as well… not for lack of arm but underestimated Receiver speed? dunno

  26. By William Barry on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Darren: What a great win….Wow!!!! 9-1…..a couple of thoughts on the game. We have a lot of unsung heroes on this team…Kelly, Niklas, Housler, Taylor, etc, along with many others. I liked the pace of how Drew and the offense came out smoking on the first couple of drives….we could have had 21 points if not for the INT!!!! The deceptive speed of the Robert Hughes 49 yard run was great!!, and the Housler catch in the 4th helped us out too. Would like to see an improved running game, though.

    Defense played superb….it looked like Matt Stafford was exasperated at the end of the game…..this team plays with a lot of confidence!!!!!!

  27. By Eric G on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Mick3517 –

    Who needs radio when you have atdhe? Search for it next Sunday.

  28. By Steve Weston on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Nick,

    I pay something like $19/season to NFL Audio Pass to get all the preseason and regular season games for the Cards. It’s actually cheaper now because the season is more than half over. Here’s the link:

    https://audiopass.nfl.com

    I love the tandem of Dave Pasch and Ron Wolfley, and will sometimes even mute the TV if I’m lucky enough to be able to watch the game, so I can listen to them. Though there’s always a few seconds of delay which can be annoying. 🙂

  29. By Steve Weston on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Eric,

    I’m always wary of the webcasts out there on unknown sites. I’ve heard more than one story of computer systems getting crashed for good from taking a gamble on those kinds of websites.

  30. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Also, as much as people are talking about SF and Seattle being down, the NFC West is once again the top division in football — best overall record. Yeah, the AFC North has 4 teams over .500 but their division leader is also only 6-3-1 to our 9-1, which makes up for the Rams being 4-6. Would any of those teams — Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Baltimore — be favored against the top 3 teams from the NFC West on a neutral field? I don’t think so.

  31. By Dr G on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Comments on narrative:

    No, we did not school the Lions’ Defense; they were actually slightly better with one additional INT. The box score shows that the defenses were fairly even. The 2 TD’s were the difference. Airing-it-out fits the Cards’ plan with better results.

    Drew-my man! An occasional pick is worth the extra offense and scoring, but think again about having to tackle the guy coming full speed at you and taking on blockers…lesson learned here…. a demented mind may see humor here.!

    The 2 INTs cost us maybe 10 points, so Drew was fooled twice. But this is lesson learned for him. He will improve with the real-time action. This is a smart guy.

    Rushing – The Lions held us to 46 yds…1.8 yd. avg… Ellington is taking a beating trying to run the middle. His prowess is really better used to scat. I still have concerns for his durability…playing the harp again. We need to use Hughes/Taylor more in the middle rushing. The big Housler play was brilliant!

    Trap game? This is a supposed cool moniker for games with lesser opponents. …ambiguous at best with the remaining schedule…it looks like we won the Super Bowl last year.

    We now stare into the mouth of the most difficult part of the schedule. KevinS says 3-3 will do it. Agreed, but most importantly, the division games were a mustard seed in Arians’ tooth last year; he is getting revenge so far.

    To the sports media, the Cards are a mystery; I like it that way, but some are waking up…

    My kingdom for a CARDINALS vs PATRIOTS game in February.!!! Be well Cards Fans… A happy week after the win…

  32. By Scott H on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    First – WOW!!! These are great days we’re livin’ right now, Cardinals fans!

    It seemed strange to see the Cardinals start fast and jump all over the Lions right out of the gate, given the opposite dynamic has been so much more common this season. Seems like no matter which way we go, it’s usually a little scary at the end. I did not get to see this game, so I don’t have the feel for it any anyone who DID see it would have.

    But I look at the overall game AND how Stanton played and I come away with this feeling – it really wasn’t much different at all from the games we played with Palmer. Yeah, Palmer was being VERY efficient with the ball, didn’t have a multiple INT game this year. Amazing. But taking a simple view of the rest of his numbers – just a click over 300 yds and 2 TD’s – well, that is pretty much exactly the neighborhood we were living in with Palmer. Take from it whatever you will. The team won the game and the team can continue to win with Drew Stanton.

    I WAS following the 4th quarter on NFL.com and that can often be a very frustrating way to try to follow a game! The big punt return late ( that turned out NOT to be )….I had no idea what the hell was going on because everything just stopped. NOTHING was happening! I went away from the game for a second, came right back, and the Lions were back at their 4 yd line. Didn’t even know what the hell happened with that until now. Whew….close one. Good call by BA and whoever helped him see what he needed to see for the challenge.

    GREAT to see the D coming up with sacks late in the game to push the Lions back. Makes SUCH a damn difference when they can get that! SO much more effective that that Eagles game when they just could NOT get to Foles and Foles kept moving that team down the field. That day, it was the secondary coming up with the big plays. Good to know the pressure can get there, as it has for the last 2 weeks.

    Yes, welcome back, Michael Floyd!!! Good to see Stanton being comfortable with him, especially on that jump ball for the first score. I think it says a lot about Floyd that during the last several weeks, we didn’t hear anything about him being un-happy or making his complaints known to reporters or on twitter. Seems a solid young man. I also think it speaks to the character around him – solid / focused / classy vets like Fitz and a coach like BA who probably impresses upon his players that that kind of stuff has no place on this team and won’t be tolerated. Let’s keep #15 rolling!

    Yeah, a REAL big one coming up this week. A win COULD effectively finish the Seahawks. And a loss could put them right back in it, in position to think about taking the division again. We are a LOOOOONG way from being where we want to be. 9-1 has put the Cardinals in a position to have it all. But with 6 games left – and the nature of those 6 games – NOTHING has been achieved yet.

    The next game is ALL that matters. It’s HUGE.

  33. By Darren Urban on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Punt return

    Check back on azcardinals.com Tuesday. This week’s Film Room article will break down Bethel’s downed-not-downed-downed punt.

  34. By Scott H on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Kevin –

    Yup, have been thinking the same thing. The Seahawks and Niners are alive and well in that we KNOW they can be the best team in the NFL on any given Sunday. The Niners have won two very close ones in a row and either game could have gone either way. But they didn’t let it happen. That is the sign of a team getting into the right gear at the right time. And the Seahawks? I still see them as a team that can lay a beat down on ANYONE any time they put their mind to it.

    And we have 3 games left against them. Scary thing is, even at 9-1, those three games could still swing the division to either of them. We KNOW the Cardinals are good enough to beat these teams now. But going out and doing it….different story.

    Gotta stay focused on playing the rest of the season 60 minutes at a time and maximum effort for each 60-minute period. This coaching staff is doing that better than any other in the NFL right now. No reason to think that will change.

  35. By Scott H on Nov 17, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G –

    Just goes to show ya what people have become conditioned to think, doesn’t it? I take NOTHING away from the Patriots because after being left for dead by many earlier in the year ( after they were smoked big time by the Chiefs, 41-14 ), they have come roaring back to life with 6 straight wins. 6 Straight wins….hmm….gee, who else has won 6 straight games? That would be the Cardinals. But look at how these two teams are generally perceived. People have become conditioned to expect the Pats to be great, so…a few wins, and the Pats are great all over again. Period. No discussion needed. The Cardinals? Generally, people don’t expect the Cardinals to be in the discussion of the best teams ( or THE best team! ) in the league. So, even when their record says they are right there, people just don’t see it. Even last night, during halftime of the Sunday night game, you could just SEE how the “experts” just did not want to really get on board with the Cardinals. Power rankings and experts have been begrudgingly ranking the Cardinals all year. And even with a 9-1 record – better than the Pats at 8-2 – the Cardinals will be ranked as 3 or 4 on most lists. Most will put the Pats and Packers ahead of them. Many will still have the Broncos ahead of them.

    And it’s not necessarily that that would be SOOOO completely un-reasonable. But people – in general – will see greatness in THOSE teams before they see it in the Cardinals because that is how people have been conditioned to think. AND I have to acknowledge that it must be hard for many to see a team with Drew Stanton at QB as better than one with Rodgers, Brady, or Manning.

    Speaking of the halftime show last night, Bob Costas did a GREAT ( I mean it – GREAT ) spot about Bruce Arians and the job he is doing with the Cardinals as well as the job he did with Indy in 2012. He ended his narrative with such an AWESOME observation about how Bruce Arians is so committed to the Next Man Up philosophy because he himself IS / WAS the ultimate next man up when Chuck Pagano became ill and had to step down in 2012.

    Seriously, if you did not see this, look it up on google or you tube. It was AWESOME!!!

  36. By Lee W. Flanagan on Nov 18, 2014 | Reply

    Glad to see the Cardinals finally fix their weakness on defense. Defending the tight end on the blitz was killing them early in the season. Peyton saw it and exploited it. Doesn’t seem to be much weakness in the last 3-4 games. Did notice a few players giving up on converging on takes early and burned them a few times.

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