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Bears aftermath, and Fitz’s legacy

Posted by Darren Urban on September 20, 2015 – 6:14 pm

Larry Fitzgerald was walking on the sideline having just come off the field after scoring his third touchdown Sunday when he looked my way – I was down there, about 30 feet away – and yelled at me. I looked at him, and he yelled at me, “Working on my legacy.”

It was a reference to his comment he made to me a couple of weeks ago, when I talked to him right before the season for (yes, shameless plug – so click here!) a story about him and his legacy. Since then, Fitz has played two games, leads the Cardinals in catches (14) and yards (199) and now touchdowns (3, all coming against the Bears, and one more than he had all of last season.) The trust is there between he and Carson Palmer. It took a while to make it click, and there were some injuries that got in the way, but this is the kind of production he was having last season in that happy place he and Palmer found post-shoulder/pre-ACL problems.

— David Johnson is still a work in progress, but he looked excellent again Sunday, and not just because of the 108-yard kickoff return. His 13-yard touchdown run was nice as well, so patient before hitting the right hole. It’s hard not to see Johnson getting much more work sooner rather than later, although Chris Johnson was fine (20 carries, 72 yards.) David Johnson, with 42 yards on five carries, just looks like a star waiting to happen.

— Smokey Brown didn’t have gaudy numbers – five catches for 45 yards – but he had two other plays that generated 80 yards in pass interference penalties. Both were near catches. Palmer slightly underthrew one, when Brown had Kyle Fuller beat. But Brown has gotten better at coming back through the defender even if the play won’t be there, forcing the defender to interfere because he’s not looking back at the ball.

— The kings of efficiency: The Cardinals have made seven trips to the red zone this season. They have scored touchdowns on all seven.

— The Cardinals did not allow a sack against the Bears Sunday, after not allowing one against the Saints in the season opener. Since sacks were made an official stat in 1982, it marks only the fourth time the Cardinals have gone at least two games without a sack. The last time was the final two games of the 2007 season.

— Bruce Arians took the blame on the Palmer interception right before the half. It was an amazing play by linebacker Jared Allen, who leaped in the air on the quick wide receiver screen to bat the ball up and then pick it off.

“I got a little greedy,” Arians said. “We wanted to put a nail in that one. I jinxed him. I told him the screen is going to be wide open. Do not let them tip it.”

Allen tipped it. Arians said he called the same play for wide receiver Eric Moulds “32 years ago” and the same thing happened. “It was a flashback, ‘Oh (expletive).”

— An exhausted Frostee Rucker talked about the defense finding itself after a couple of leaky moments early. One couldn’t be avoided, the veteran defensive end said – the zone-read runs of quarterback Jay Cutler, before Cutler got hurt.

“If Jay Cutler is going to keep the ball, you can’t account for a guy like that,” Rucker said. “You don’t think the opposing team would risk getting their guy hurt. If those are going to be the plays to beat us, they’re going to get that.”

— The Cardinals again averaged more than four yards a carry. The running game wasn’t great, but it was enough.

— There were no sacks on Palmer, but he was hit more than the Cards would want, including the flag-inducing low hit by Pernell McPhee that always gives everyone pause. But Palmer is going to have to absorb some of that. That’s Arians’ offense, and that’s playing quarterback.

Signing off from 30,000 feet.

AftermathBlogBearsUSE

 


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Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »


26 Responses to “Bears aftermath, and Fitz’s legacy”

  1. By sggrange on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    Anyone else get the impression that this squad has not played well yet?

    For the second week in a row the only danger to us was our own errors and miscues…..

    The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!!

  2. By Credit Card on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    Couple of awesome blocks: 1. Fau on the opening kick-off, he literally owned the Bear player. 2. Watford on a pass play kicking the outside LB horizontal to the sideline.

    As a fan, you can sense the team can play better with better timing communication etc… Once they do this — watch out!

  3. By Patrick on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    On to San Francisco, I hate those guys- lets get them down early and stick their nose in it..

  4. By rod on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    I think other teams’ defenses are going to get pass interference calls a lot because we just have too many weapons on the field there is always going to be some kind of mismatch or guy who is caught off guard.

    That was a fantastic watch !!

    I have Fitz as one of my WR on my fantasy teams, I have a feeling he’s going to bring me points this year🙂

  5. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    I can’t remember a RB as big as D. Johnson running as fast as he does. He looks faster than C. Johnson.

  6. By jaime on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    Onto the Niners!! Division game time!!!

  7. By don on Sep 20, 2015 | Reply

    And next week . we get arguably the best run blocking G last year in his first start for his new team . against his old team . i was looking forward to an Epic battle . then DD got cut LOL .
    lot of game balls in this convincing win . .
    right off the top , is Tony Jefferson . he looked Amazing today .
    even without the INT. he’s making big plays all over the field
    Fitz. showing really . all he’s been lacking is being targeted
    DJ . 2 more TD’s . setting a franchise record on the NFL’s oldest franchise in his 2nd game , and averaging 8 yards a carry on 5 touches
    CJ for running effectively replacing Ellington .
    with. no training camp , basically no pre season .
    PP for being PP
    John Brown for catching all 5 balls thrown to him , and getting the PI calls on Palmer’s 2 horribly underthrown balls . those should have both been TD’s
    Palmer for playing Outstanding , avoiding the rush . staying healthy.
    Mauro . with his first NFL sack . solid play .
    the entire Defense . for containing Forte all day
    the Offensive Line for not allowing a sack . again .. it’s been awhile
    I’d even give 1 to Butler . but he’s a kicker .
    overall special teams was fabulous .
    . great game plan . great execution .
    red zone was nearly perfect . on both sides of the ball . .
    VERY Auspicious 2-0 start to the season .. still no national coverage
    do we start getting some attention ,
    if we beat san fran by double digits next week ??
    because i don’t think it’s going to be close .
    GO CARDS ! ! !

  8. By Corgon on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    Ok, on three. 1…2…3…LARRY, LARRY, LARRY, LARRY!! I could watch him catching the ball all day long.

  9. By Eazy E on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    Cardinals, Cardinals, Cardinals!!! Great Job!!

    QB:

    Carson had an average day in terms of yardage with 185 yards, 17-24, but the 4 TDs impressed! That pick by Jared Allen was sick and I have NO problem with the aggressiveness! The aggressiveness epitomizes the New Arizona Cardinals under Bruce Arians.

    RB:

    The running game was effective again and Chris is ready to pop a few big runs, but 20 carries for 72 yards ain’t terrible when you just started playing a few weeks ago. David is doing the dang thing right now too with 5 carries for 42 yards and a patient TD! I ain’t gone overreact because he’s still a rookie, but good job rook! Kerwynn got 1 carry for 3 yards, but overall a 2nd straight effective game!

    WR/TE:

    What can I say about my man Larry Fitzgerald?! He just needs an above crappy QB and he will beast and be one of the best in the league if not still the best! 8 catches for 112 yards and 3 TDs and all we’re Larry all the way. The slant for the first, Flea-Flicker on the 2nd with Shea draped on him and he still kept his eyes on the ball and caught it still, and the third was just a added dimension of Fitz’s game with the stiff-arm and running through guys! I’m happy for the brotha! I think Michael Floyd is getting eased back into his role after the dislocated fingers because he didn’t have any catches. John had ”only” 5 catches for 45 yards, but drew huge pass interference penalties that helped dramatically. Jaron Brown had 2 catches for 20 yards and a TD. Gresham and David had a catch a piece going for 5 and 3 yards respectively.

    OL:

    Offensive Line looks downright dominant right now although 2 suspect pass rushes early, but still impressive with NO Sacks and a few hits on Carson!

    DL:

    They did another superb job on stopping Matt Forte even though he had a couple nice runs especially when Jay got hurt. He only had 15 carries for 61 yards and 4 catches for 44 yards which is not bad considering that he is a beast! Calais had 6 tackles, Frostee had a couple tackles with a beautiful forced fumble on one that was timed perfectly, but unfortunately he couldn’t keep the sack! Stinson, Mauro with 4 tackles and I believe his first NFL sack, and Rodney Gunter plugging the middle also was good.

    LB:

    The LBs didn’t make as many plays, but still helped big-time on stopping Forte. Golden and Kareem did have a 0.5 sack though.

    CB/S:

    Even though I would have loved to see Patrick vs. Alshon, when he ran that route for Marquess, I just shook my head, Patrick Peterson is back! Our safeties are amazing running around and making so many plays like the Honey Badger who seemed to be everywhere with what seemed to be more than his recorded 4 tackles, Rashad had 6 tackles, Deone had 4 Tackles and a FF, and Tony Jefferson had a game leading the team with 9 tackles and his 1st pick and it’s a pick six of Jay Cutler!

    ST:

    David had a great start to say the least for us with a 108 yard kickoff return for TD taking it out way back there! J.J had a not so good fumble, but fortunately our defense gave up only 3 there. Chandler almost had a perfect 7 for 7 if not for a final miss. Dang it Chandler!

    All in all, good win by the Cardinals on the road.. On to San Fran…

  10. By Marcelof on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    D. Johnson is a beast, however his patience to find holes – which worked pretty much well on Sunday by the way – might fool him sometimes, what would stand for a loss of yardage. Gutsy patience, BA’s style. Love that.

    The good:
    Flea Flicker?!
    Palmer having time to think and also have a coffee?
    Both sides of the ball not playing 100% of what they’ve got, and yet shinning bright?
    A fumbled punt and an interception both inside the 30 turned into petty 6 points?
    OUTSTANDING. Woow with a thousand o’s.

    The cons:
    An average QB being 8/8 for over 100 yards prior to the interception? that’s a nope that must be avoided.
    Penalties heading to first downs and key turnovers may settle an L when facing a better team (Chicago is on the edge of a horrible season)

    The purgatory:

    running game.
    Enough only.

    I can wait a little, but I’m crazy to see what critics will have to say about their superbowl predctions after a couple of weeks more of cardinals improvement.
    After all, everyone is having eyes on Brady’s performance of almost 500 yards, but hey he threw 59 times x Palmer’s 24 – that’s one touchdown every 6 throws, I think we can live with that, can’t we? :p

  11. By John The Draft Guy on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    Ottis Anderson Fan,

    I heard David Johnson compared to Larry Johnson of the Chiefs. Interesting comparison. It fits. (except none of the drama)

  12. By Fan in Chi Town on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    I see a lot of confidence in the fan comments here, but I must somewhat agree with sggrange. Cutler looked like a first ballot HOFer before the pick six. I have a feeling that if he wouldn’t have gotten injures the score would have been closer. You better believe Wilson and Kaepernick are going to be watching that tape and salivating the chance to run against us.

    No complaints about the offense though. Great performance.

  13. By Scott H on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    Well, let’s put this out there loud and clear – all reports of Fitz’ “death” were greatly exaggerated. GREAT to see the proud lion raise his head and roar! As I stated previously ( in my “wishes” for Sunday ) he is still far too capable of this kind of production for him to be down-sized as he has. And before people start going off about me saying we have to “force” the ball to Fitz….that is NOT, nor has it EVER BEEN, what I want. Maybe it’s only 2 games, but what we are seeing is hardly a surprise – that Fitz is leading the team in catches, yards, and TD’s. Or, that our offense just seems “bigger” when he is more involved. That is hardly a surprise, either. Anyway….just sayin.

    But none of that is meant to sound like a complaint. After this 2-0 start, what is there possibly to complain about??? After 2 weeks, we couldn’t be any better than 2-0 and already 2 games ahead of Seattle. I hope we keep our foot on the gas and put as much distance between us and the rest of the division as we possibly can in the early going. Seattle has tended to start slow and then get rolling later. And when they get rolling, well….we’ve seen it. And we’ve seen them roll right over and past us en route to taking the division. They will get it together at some point. But if we KEEP it together, they won’t be able to win enough games to overcome the deficit.

    Love this David Johnson kid!

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

    As much as I love Ellington, I don’t think this offense even needs him. Yes, the Bears D isn’t that good, but today’s game just shows the versatility of our offense when Floyd doesn’t even have a catch and yet we still dominate.

    There’s going to be a week soon where Larry has 1 or 2 catches for 20 yards but then Brown or Floyd is up near or over 100. David Johnson might get 8 or 9 carries next week instead of 5 if he keeps it up. So many weapons. If someone told you that there would be a team in the NFC leading all of the NFL in scoring by 11 points after the next-highest team and by 21 points over the next-highest NFC team after two weeks, you would have figured that would be the Packers, or the Eagles, right? Nope, it’s our Cardinals, with 79 points through 2 games.

    My favorite part of this game was that even when we were up 42-23, we didn’t just say, oh, it’s in the bag, and do the predictable (run 3 times and punt). Not that we needed an extra TD, but you see NFL teams coast all the time… and then the other team comes back and wins. Love the idea of keeping the foot on the gas pedal.

    Did I mention I was in Chicago for this game? For a franchise so steeped in history and tradition, I was surprised at the lack of crowd involvement. At U of P, every third down for the opposition, the crowd is up. Every down (not just 3rd) deep on one end of the field, the crowd is up on at least that end. But in this game at Soldier Field, the crowd sat nearly the entire game. And I’m not just talking the 4th quarter when the outcome was not in doubt, but even early on when it was still a game. I thought they’d be going crazy when it was 7-7 or 14-14, but U of P is a much more raucous place.

  15. By Grimm Reaper on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    The Cards need each and every person that BA & SK have on the team. Sure, next man up…but each and every player is on the team for a reason. I hope Ellington gets well soon; and happy to know there is depth at the RB position (along with many other positions). Helps keep legs fresh and allow some smash mouth run it at you ball…resulting in other team’s D having a harder time of reading a versatile Cards Offense…it’s no wonder why our receivers are enjoying success. Season is young, lots of ball left to play…hope the injury bug stays away.

    No way the team was going to take the foot of the pedal after the cheap shot taken at Carson Palmer… Karma’s a biotch.

  16. By Timmy on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    7 touchdowns in 7 trips to the red zone for the season. That stat blows my mind. Keep playing like that with a defense that only gives up field goals, and you have to be very optimistic about where this team is going!!!!!!

  17. By MichaelfromStl on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    Fan in Chi Town— They may look at the tape, but no one on defense expected Cutler to take off with the ball. Forte was the focus for the defense, and that’s why I benched him on my fantasy team lol. That being said: The credits due to Cutler for going 8-8, before a crucial interception giving the Cardinals a 14 point lead. With that also being said, if Cutler wasn’t injured, I believe we would have approached the ending of the half a little differently, due to Cutler’s play.. I’m glad Fitz has class and stayed tough with the Cards. Palmer is an elite qb, unlike the likes of Skelton, Hall, Lindley, Anderson & whoever else I’m forgetting about during the post-warner era. FItz may be “older” but with great Qb play for a change, he’s going to back down the expert analysis/critics and put up pro-bowl numbers.., Then Postseason Fitz comes into play, Better look out!

    I started Fitz on all of my fantasy teams that have him. I almost picked up D Johnson too, but I went with CJ. Might let DJ sit on the FA wire one more week to see if his touches begin to outweigh CJ, and pending Ellingtons return…, Ya i’m biased, there is at least three Cardinals on each team!

  18. By Scott H on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    I am interested in seeing where the “experts” put the Cardinals in their power rankings this week. Last week, after a pretty solid win against a solid team, I saw one ranking that had the Cardinals 12th BUT with half the teams above them ( Seattle, Philly ) having lost their first game. GIMME A DAMN BREAK, MAN! That is what tells you that pre-conceived notions are more a factor in these rankings than reality.

    I imagine many will find reasons to either not be impressed with the Cardinals OR to be overly impressed with teams that have not looked nearly as good to this point. And they will rank accordingly.

    And I’ll just smile and say who’s next?

    Carson Palmer is now 15-2 in his last 17 starts. My lord, I did NOT see that coming! But this guy has made a believer out of me. It’s amazing. With Kurt, we saw a guy find the greatness again we knew he had at one time. That was amazing, too. But with Carson, I feel like we’re seeing a guy RISE to a level of greatness that he NEVER had before. I am just glad to be on this ride with him.

  19. By SCarolinacardinal on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    Wilson and Kaepernick traditionally kill us with some back breaking runs. I hope the defense has an answer for that this year. Cards are looking good!! I love it!!

  20. By Chuck 1 on Sep 21, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG,

    Re: Larry Johnson
    “Drama” reminds me of the headaches that he caused Joe Paterno when he played for Penn State (my Alma Mater). He was a head case even though he was a very good running back.
    PS: His dad was the defensive line coach @ Penn State and a terrific recruiter.
    When he wasn’t offered the Head Coaching job after JoPa was canned, Ohio State hired him.

  21. By Scott H on Sep 22, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin –

    RE: This offense doesn’t even need Ellington

    C’mon, man. Going a little far with that, aren’t you?? I think it is great that the team seems to have a tandem of RB’s that can carry the load – and who complement each other well – if Ellington is out. But having all three of these guys will be awesome, assuming we get to that point. What’s not to love about a three-headed monster like the one we have here??? Better to have a rotation of 3 play-makers, especially with Ellington seeming a bit fragile.

    I’ll throw the word “need” out of the discussion. It is just better to have Ellington in this mix because we know how dynamic he CAN be. If we have to make it without him ( or any of the other two guys ) and we do? Great. But I like – and prefer – to have all 3 weapons at our disposal. In THAT respect? Yeah, I think we do need him.

  22. By Jimbowan on Sep 22, 2015 | Reply

    Thank you Fitz. Your contribution could NEVER be summed up in just yards and catches. You’ve made us feel like competitors. I and all the fans have great respect.

  23. By Jimbowan on Sep 22, 2015 | Reply

    Good point SCC-
    If Cutler can run on us. Just wait for Kap and Russell.

  24. By sbrown on Sep 22, 2015 | Reply

    hi Darren,
    and all the great RED SEA fans…

    I’m late on posting this, sorry…

    On the hit on Palmer from Bears player Parnell McPhee, he did get a penalty flag for the hit, and thus a 15 yard penalty.
    So the kickoff, ball goes into the end zone, and the Bears start the drive on their 20 yard line.
    so…IMO, really did not suffer the result of the penalty, that is what doesn’t look right, no real loss of yards due to the penalty.

    OK, so what am I missing on this call ??
    or is it just a loop hole in the rules, maybe something that League would look to change ?

  25. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 23, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    I meant it exactly as I stated. We don’t “need” Ellington. Of course it’s nice to have him, and I think the team is better when he’s available… but when he plays, CJ likely gets a lot fewer touches, and DJ may be relegated to KO returns and very limited offensive plays.

    The difference between, say, Palmer going down (huge), or Veldheer (not as huge, but still very large), or Calais or PP on defense, as compared to Ellington going down, is night and day, because we have decent replacements for Ellington. Those replacements don’t have the identical skill set, but I’d speculate that they would have almost the same ultimate impact if they got as many touches as Ellington otherwise would. Let’s say you were about to go into a random game (opponent unknown) and you were going to give either Ellington or DJ 15 rushes and design around 5 pass plays for them. Right now, I would expect either of them to end up with about the same number of yards. Might depend on who they were playing, the defensive style, etc. But certainly I wouldn’t predict a big variance between the two of them.

    That’s not a knock on Ellington — it’s a positive statement about the state of our RB situation.

  26. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 24, 2015 | Reply

    sbrown —

    I’ve often wondered about that. Assessing a 15-yard penalty on a kickoff when the majority of kickoffs are now touchbacks even from the 35 isn’t much of a penalty.

    I don’t mind when the dinky 5-yard penalties like offside on an extra point result in a kick from the 40. But I think for the 15-yard penalties, they should have some other kind of system. Like maybe, at the kicking team’s option, they have the right to forego the kickoff (i.e., assume it would be a touchback) but then assess the penalty from the 20, half the distance to the 10. I’m sure the kicking team would take that option every time unless they were at the end of a close game, behind, and needed to recover an onside kick.

    I’d be fine with a rule that says, at the kicking team’s option, the opponent who committed a 15-yard penalty before a score, or on an extra-point try, automatically starts at the 10 without a kickoff.

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