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“Nine More,” and Saints aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on September 13, 2015 – 7:03 pm

Rashad Johnson had already pulled off his jersey and shoulder pads as he made his way off the field Sunday, the Cardinals’ 31-19 win official. The shirt he wore under his jersey for the game, now drenched in sweat? None other than one that proclaimed “9 More” – or the saying the veteran safety uttered back in 2013, after the last time the Cardinals played the Saints and Johnson lost a fingertip.

He was back with the team a couple days later, telling everyone he was fine because he still had nine more fingers.

It was kind of cool that Johnson got the Cardinals’ lone interception Sunday – he nearly had a second later on. He wasn’t going to get his finger back, but he was able to extract a small revenge.

The offense got gutsy with their playcalls and ended up putting 31 points on the board, but the new James Bettcher defense did a lot of the same things the old Todd Bowles defense did, including stiffening in the red zone to force field goals instead of touchdowns. The defense must be better – as acknowledged by many, way too many yards surrendered on short passes-and-long-runs by running backs – but it was a good enough start.

— The right knee injury to Andre Ellington was scary-looking. But as we got into the postgame, both Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer sounded optimistic that the injury – Arians said the belief is that Elllington hurt his PCL – wouldn’t sideline Ellington permanently.

— That said, we see where the running back depth makes so much sense. Ellington goes down, and you turn to a veteran who still has a little juice left in Chris Johnson. Then you let speed merchant David Johnson loose on the pass – I was down on the sideline when the rookie blew past everyone, and I have to say I didn’t expect that kind of speed – and you figure the Cards can weather an Ellington absence.

— Bruce Arians said he was “anxious” to make the play call that ended in Johnson’s 55-yard touchdown. Which is odd because few do such a thing. ESPN’s Mike Sando tweeted this great stat: From 2010 through last season, NFL teams ran 94.8 percent of the time on second down in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter when leading by six or fewer points.

— Then again, Arians does not lay up. He goes for the pin.

— There were many upset at the sequence at the end of the first half that ended with two incomplete bombs and a Palmer scramble as time ran out, costing the Cards a field-goal try. But remember, that’s the mentality that led to the Johnson touchdown. No risk it, no biscuit. That’s B.A.

— The offensive line did solid. There were hiccups. There always are. But there were not a lot of them and for the most part, there is little to complain about. Earl Watford hung in there at right tackle against the very talented Cameron Jordan. Jonathan Cooper had a rough start but rallied. Most importantly, Carson Palmer was not sacked.

— Backup center/guard A.Q. Shipley played fullback and was lead blocker on Ellington’s touchdown run. Fantastic, and good use of the 46-man active roster on game day.

— Tyrann Mathieu kept promising his savage season and he was all over the field Sunday. He had a team-high eight tackles and three passes deflected while the Cardinals went heavy with their four safety-packages.

— I thought Patrick Peterson played well. Yes, he got beat once by Brandin Cooks for a 30-yard gain. But mostly, Cooks – the Saints’ best offensive weapon – was a non-factor. And mostly, Cooks was covered by Peterson.

— It’s hard to find a better story or more likeable guy (and the Cardinals’ locker room is filled with likeable guys) than tight end Darren Fells. To see him break out is cool, and reinforces what Arians has been saying about his development. There are times when Arians moves into hyperbole with his players, but Fells is proving his coach right on target.

— Michael Floyd played, and had an 18-yard catch early. Arians said he wasn’t on a “pitch count” to hold down his plays, but Floyd certainly didn’t play as much as he normally would.

Road game in Chicago next weekend. One down, at least 15 to go.

AfterSsaintsBlog


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31 Responses to ““Nine More,” and Saints aftermath”

  1. By Patrick on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Excellent start to the season, sure-plenty of things to work on, but overall a solid effort by both O and D. What about Fells, guy looked like a battering ram out there.. Great to see. My wife’s top 3 today.
    Honeybadger
    Carson Palmer
    Fitzgerald..

    Onto the windy city.. invite the mayor of Pottsville, he should only be a couple hour drive away..

  2. By D on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Good team win

  3. By rod on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    I think Oak got to sacks also….so, nice game, can’t wait to play this one back over and over and over again🙂

  4. By Credit Card on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Great game. Impressed by run defense, and the emergence of Fells.

    The Cards truly have balance on the offensive side of the ball. The Defense has talent has talent across the board. Give this defense a little more cohesion, and give the offense a full playbook —- watch out NFL.

    Big test next week in Chicago. Early game and the Bears searching for their 1st victory.

  5. By Canadian Redbird on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Darren:

    Do you feel that the Cards need to consider an upgrade with our punter. The opening 30 yarder was reminicent of the Carolina playoff game last year and it seems that his slow 3 step delivery is prone to have kicks blocked.

    I thought that Minter played his best game in a Card jersey and is starting to show that he belongs. Still mind boggling that there is no word on Washington. Do you know if the team is stil paying during his absence and does it count against the cap.

    Great opening day win !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved to see the Saint’s def. coordinator Ryan’s reaction following Johnson’s td. Just about as good as our friend Pete Carroll after they lost in OT to the Rams.

  6. By shane on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,
    Nice game the oline looked good… was worried about Carson on the scramble before the end of the half he seemed too grab his acl knee.. did you see that also? he needs to learn how too slide lol that head first dive is so awkward .

  7. By Darren Urban on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Shane —

    RE: Palmer end of half

    Palmer said he didn’t get hurt. His knee brace took up a chunk of turf and he said he just needed to readjust it.

  8. By Steve on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Terrific way to start the season and besides Ellington, no injuries. Question Darren, I live in Houston,Tx and I have the NFL Sunday Ticket package on DirectTV so I can watch all the Cards games yet was denied watching this game due to the “NFL rules on local broadcasts in your area.” What a bunch of bull@#%#@. Do you have any idea why the NFL does that? I know the game was a sellout?

  9. By Darren Urban on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Blackout

    There are no blackout rules in terms of sellouts anymore. They rescinded that rule. Not sure what it means in terms of playing in a market of another team. I would check with DirectTV.

  10. By Coach K on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Good win, but we must get better defensive play calling. Our young defensive coordinator needs to know when to hold em, and when to fold em when it comes to the blitz. Drew Breeze is way to smart to blitz him that often. It could have cost us the game.

    Good win, but hopefully Betch learned some things from his first game. If you live by the blitz, you can die from it. Don’t make it too obvious.

  11. By Daniel Thompson on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Watford looked pretty good, worked hard……….I think I like him better than Massie.

  12. By Daniel Thompson on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    Was the Honey Badger dinged up from that hit earlier in the game? Looked like he had a cobweb problem most of the game, played great but I’m referring to him looking like he was trying to clear his head most of the game.

  13. By BigBobDiesel on Sep 13, 2015 | Reply

    I know Scott H was jumping up and down with Fells having a break out game LOL!

  14. By Eric G on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Great win! Love the play call at the end. Favorite part was afterwards when TVs cut to Rob Ryan, who said “FAST!” a couple of times angrily to, I guess, describe D. Johnson. That’s high praise right there. 🙂

    Perhaps you can describe that Peterson got “beat” on that play, but that was a perfect timing play that no CB could stop.

    I thought Betcher did very well. Hopefully they learn to cover the RB on some of those blitzes.

    Of course, what we all want to know is what is the status with Andre. Hope its nothing.

  15. By Marlin on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Great team win. Carson Palmer looked fantastic. Fitz is still the team’s best player. Kudos to the O-line. C. Johnson looked good. C. Redding was very active. Okafor needs to start getting more press attention. Honey badger and PP were terrific.

  16. By faster on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    darren, any news on andre`s knee?

    and i`d like to mention two players, who were not mentioned, catanzaro had in my opinion a perfect game for a kicker, and rucker a very good one.

  17. By Marcelof on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    What a great win!

    Despite not being able to watch it due to a poor football broadcast in my country I followed every play @ nfl.com

    Amazed to know our oline didn’t allow any sack, although Saints pass rush is ridiculous, it gives the line strength and confidence to carry on. Talking about confidence, 3 td passes and no interceptions? What a way to step back into the field for Palmer.

    Dark clouds over Az, once again, sidelined Ellington. A real shame. But Lupatti will be back soon and CJ will be CK1K you can bet it.

    I’m not THAT excited only because of this win, remember I didn’t watch the game, but as per what I have read, Az is heading to a great season as expected and we are dangerous in every side of the ball. Cards may lose sometimes, but at least they will give chills to every oponent spines down this road.

    Go Cards. Teddy Bear Wants to play next Sunday.

  18. By All day on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Was pleased with the O-Line’s performance. After a shaky preseason they looked solid. But we’ll have to see how they hold up against someone like St. Louis. I’m excited about Alex Okafor. The Saints have an above average O-line so for him to get 2 sacks is gonna make it interesting this year. I could see him getting anywhere from 11-17 sacks this year. Ellington makes me nervous. At this point it’s not how he’s gonna play. It’s if. But I like what the two Johnsons bring to the table.

  19. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Great win for the Cards – 1-0
    The good and bad of the game;

    The good-

    Patrick Peterson –
    On one play (a 3rd down), Brees wanted to hit Cooks on a quick out, but PP jumped it. Cooks then turned up field and PP flipped his hips and ran with cooks and tipped the ball away. Last year, PP didn’t have those quicks. This year, he looks like the CB we drafted.

    Ellington –
    Hit the holes and ran harder than I have ever seen. Hope he is OK.

    Fells –
    For everyone saying we have no TE, Fells went out and proved you wrong. What a solid outing. He would have had another big play, but as he became wide open down the middle, an inside rusher caused Palmer to move and he had to settle for Gresham for a 4 yard gain. Too bad, because Fells would have been well over a 100 yards.

    Palmer
    This guy is good. I would say he made one bad decision (tried to force a ball to JJ in double coverage- when Larry was wide open). But this guy is an elite QB.

    Minter
    Yep, I said Minter. For his role, he did a nice job.

    Butler
    What a great punt when we needed it. Dropped it inside the 5. Changed the game.

    Okafor
    He is our only pass rusher. But more than that, he was chasing down RBs on the other side of the field.

    The Bad

    Cooper
    Darren said he had a rough start. I would say he will grade out very poorly. This guy needs to get a lot better

    Bucannon
    Overall, played well, but when he gets singled on a TE, he does not have the cover skills.

    Swing passes
    I can’t blame anyone, because I don’t know the defensive call. But whether it was the OLB, The ILB or the safety, no one would come out on the swing passes to the RB. It wasn’t blocking or well executed. there were no cards out there in coverage. Got to clean that up

  20. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Great game overall. Kind of reminiscent of last year where we’d give up a lot of yards, but not many points. Really, the D let up 4 FG’s and that’s it, which is pretty amazing against a Brees-run offense. I’m not going to fault them for the TD that was scored after they had already forced a punt, due to the 12 men penalty. We do need to figure out how to not give up 50+ yards on a screen pass.

    I just heard Keim on the radio on the way in, and when asked by the 98.7 guys to whom he would give a game ball if it were up to him, he said it would be a choice between Watford and Cooper. Which I thought was interesting, as I didn’t think Cooper looked very good, although I thought as a whole the O-line was fine.

    Nice mobility shown by Palmer on a couple plays. Zero sacks! I know the Saints’ D isn’t all that great, but still, zero!

    And Ellington getting hurt, while obviously not a good thing, is hardly catastrophic when we’ve also got the two Johnsons. Nice to have some depth there. Considering our next two opponents, I think we will be fine without Ellington, so I say, don’t rush him back if there are any concerns. (Waiting for the MRI results.)

  21. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, one more thing — the 12 men penalty. I’ve always found this to be completely inexcusable. It seems to me that on game day, an NFL team should have one guy — or maybe two, one on the field and one in the suite upstairs — whose SOLE job is to count the number of players on the field on every play and signal to the coach to call a TO if we’re about to commit a 12 men penalty. When you pay around $140M for player salaries, you could pay a couple guys a thousand bucks a game or so to count to 11. That one play turned what could have been a rout into a close game, and then it stayed that way until the very end.

    I realize that if the offense is going at a quicker pace it may be difficult, but the Saints were sending in their punting unit for Pete’s sake… it’s not like we didn’t have time to figure out that we had too many men on the field, if someone simply had the job of counting. Or is that someone’s job already and they blew it? Heck, we started with 13 and one guy got off late, before someone else (I think Mathieu) realized the problem and started to try to run off as well.

  22. By Darren Urban on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin S —

    RE: 12 men

    Agreed, inexcusable. Trust me, they counted over and over late in the game before the last Saints punt.

  23. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Darren and Steve

    Usually that means it is being shown on one of the local channels.

    Ex. We had the chiefs / texans in the early game on our local CBS, so it was blacked out on DirecTV.

  24. By georgiebird on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Darren Fells is the wildcard of the offense. If Fells’ stats can be in the mix of top TEs then the Cards have a shot at the playoffs.

  25. By georgiebird on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    On the TD by David Johnson- the one negative. DJ runs too high- it’ looked like he was 7 feet tall. He will need a lot of work to become an effective RB- he has to run closer to the ground. Right now, too big a target.

  26. By AZCardinalsGirl on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Did anyone get a picture of Rashad’s Nine More shirt? Would love to see that!

  27. By rod on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    @Steve

    You can get NFL game pass and LISTEN to any game LIVE and you can WATCH any game when there are no NFL games being broadcasted. I watched the Cards again right after the Dallas game ended. It’s on the PC so I hook my laptop up to my TV. Also, if you have ROKU or Amazon Fire TV, NFL Now is in the progress of being relaunched and you’ll be able to watch the games with your gamepass BUT they are dragging their feet because the apps aren’t done yet even though they keep saying to check back at the start of the 2015 season.

    Just another option.

  28. By dkerry5242 on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Given Ellington’s history of being injured the Cards should make a play to extended CJ’s contract a couple more years.

  29. By Coach K on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    CJ still has the burst. I’m so glad we signed him.

  30. By Steve on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,JTDG and Rod: Thanks for explaining the rules guys, it now makes some sense to me that if the game is already being broadcast locally where I live, DirectTV will not show the game. The Cards won so I’m happy, lets go get the Bears!

  31. By Richard S on Sep 14, 2015 | Reply

    The braintrust looks like they put together a pretty good team. There sure seems to be a lot of talent there. Mea culpa for doubting the final makeup of the team.

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