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Rams aftermath, with No. 2 on the mind

Posted by Darren Urban on December 6, 2015 – 6:40 pm

Short weeks are just that. Short.

“I’m going to watch Minnesota (tape) on the way home,” Carson Palmer said, after the Cardinals’ win against the Rams. “We’ve got a three-hour flight, whatever it is (technically, two hours and 48 minutes). I’ll get a good jump on them tonight, but there is no celebration. We did what we expected to do. We’ve got to move on.”

Palmer is right. The Cardinals did what they were supposed to do in St. Louis: Beat up a struggling team that, simply put, has no offense to speak of. Their building was half-empty, a crowd dulled by losing and anger toward an owner who wants to move them to Los Angeles.

On the plane ride home, the Cardinals got to watch the Panthers pull out a win in New Orleans, and their possibility of running down the NFC’s No. 1 seed continued to fade. But now the Cardinals are in control of the No. 2 seed, holding a two-game edge on the Packers/Vikings. They can put the Vikings (who were hammered at home by the Seahawks Sunday) out of their misery Thursday night.

There is a lot left here. Games against the Eagles, who won in New England, and the Packers, in a game that could still mean something for the No. 2 seed, and the Seahawks (…. the Seahawks.) But the Cards control what happens to them. That’s all you can ask.

— It would’ve been nice if David Johnson could have gained 100 yards. He came up a yard short. But he was excellent Sunday. Catching the ball, blocking – his blitz pickups, while not perfect, were solid, and that was a big concern for the rookie – and running.

— Johnson was going to come out of the game to give the other backs work right around the time he fumbled, Bruce Arians said. He wasn’t benched for the fumble. In fact, Arians brushed off the fumbles of both Johnson and Kerwynn Williams, saying it was something that will happen with young players.

— Nevertheless, you would’ve liked for Johnson to get through his first start without a fumble.

— The defense made Todd Gurley their mission. One tiny slip, but otherwise, mission accomplished. And the Cardinals have allowed the last two teams (Niners, Rams) to convert just 1-of-21 third downs. Scary good.

— The Cardinals had four drives of at least 80 yards. Carson Palmer quietly had a very good game. It may be tough to displace Cam Newton and Tom Brady in the MVP race, but Palmer deserves to be in the discussion.

— It will be under the radar, but that was a Hall of Fame-type catch by Michael Floyd to gain 30 yards to convert the first third down during the 98-yard drive. I’m not saying Floyd is a Hall of Famer, but that was a manly play. That’s why the Cardinals took him 12th 13th overall in 2012.

— That last 68-yard bomb to Smokey Brown? I’m guessing his hamstring is pretty OK (although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards keep him limited in practice, just in case.)

— Safety Rashad Johnson gets interception No. 5, leading the team, on great recognition on a deep route. Like Justin Bethel, Johnson was/is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. Bethel got paid. Johnson is hoping he will too.

— Speaking of Bethel, he held up fine starting in place of Jerraud Powers, but there were a couple of times he lost track of the ball and that’s something I’m sure he’ll be working on.

— Three days of prep (and practice will likely be very little actual full-speed practice, if any). Then the Vikings — another game with meaning. The best part of December.

Marcus Roberson, Rodney McLeod, Kerwynn Williams


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31 Responses to “Rams aftermath, with No. 2 on the mind”

  1. By sggrange on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    A ten win season was a dream for many years..Now we get our third in a row….I could get used to this…

    Congrats to Larry..Great player, better person.

    How good is our receiving group? Keim is a great (GREAT!!) talent evaluator.

    Kudos to the rookies who seem to have forgotten that the NFL is intimidating..

    So much young talent and our QB who is only leading the league in TD’s…

    This victory bordered on clinical…and we got out healthy (I think..Gresham?)

    Minnesota better put their hard hats on, I think they are going to get waxed twice in 5 days!

    GO CARDS!

  2. By georgiebird on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,
    Good to beat the Rams who seemed to have a hex on the Cards the past few years.
    Now on to the Final Four. The intensity will pick up as will the speed of the game.
    Hope the pass rush improves a little more-finding the best mix of blitzers.

  3. By BirdsSTC on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    David Johnson. Well done young man, well done. On a side note, how the heck did Kerwyn Williams not get snatched up off our practice squad? A big thank you to the other 31 teams for that.

  4. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    Thursday’s mission: Stop Adrian Peterson.

    Floyd is the big physical receiver that so nicely compliments the smaller, pure speed guys (Brown, Nelson, Brown) and he takes pressure off of Fitz. Floyd needs to be resigned sooner than later, as does Rashad Johnson.

    What a great season!

  5. By Chuck 1 on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    The Cards are playing at a very high level and Keim deserves credit for assembling the roster that has done it.
    However, I want to write about a couple of wasted draft picks e.g. Thonas (Arians probably had a hand in that) and Cooper (a first round pick that can’t even start now!!!)..
    Because of the Thomas debacle, BA now has no young QB to groom for the Franchise QB.
    No, Barkley is not that Franchise QB.

  6. By cardsbaby on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    How did Riddick play today? Or did he even get on the field?

  7. By PotAsh on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    Can I nitpick? Floyd was the 13th pick in 2012.

    Very happy with the Cards win. These last few games have so much meaning to the Cards as far as post season implications. Fun stuff.

  8. By Canadian Redbird on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    Great game Cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was nice that Quinn was inactive as well for the Rams. Only point of concern was the inconsistency in our punting again. We lost approx. 20 yards on each change of possession. Still maintain we need to find a punter in the draft or free agency.

  9. By dynosoar on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    I look at the first of our season and we were winning against teams that we should have beaten, a softer schedule.

    Now we’re in the end of the season against the strongest stretch we’ll see outside of the playoffs (and maybe even as strong as the playoffs).

    The Seahwaks schedule (despite all the pundits who are saying they’re coming into their own), is easy except for their last opponent (hehe).

    I like we had the first part of the season to learn about each other and grow as a team so when we hit a schedule of playoff strength opponents, we’re ready and can use these next four games to prepare best for the playoffs. While the Seahawks get to play “cupcake” teams as our seasons opponents have been labeled, we get to play playoff caliber teams.

    We will be better prepared to play in the playoffs than anyone else. We have the toughest remaining strength of schedule. Only three current playoff bound teams have a SOS over 55%, Packers and Vikings at 56% and 58%, Cardinals at 60%.

    Go Cardinals!

    The Lombardi Trophy or nothing at all!
    (And I’m tired of nothing at all.)

  10. By Dakota on Dec 6, 2015 | Reply

    It feels so good to be a Cards fan right now. The depth of this team on both sides of the ball is impressive.

  11. By drummer-1 on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    thank you for the win

  12. By dynosoar on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    This website has all sorts of statistics regarding the playoff picture based on probabilities.

    After selecting AFC or NFC, go to the left column to choose: Strength of schedule, schedule, games needed to win/lose for playoffs, probability of securing any specific seed and probability (%) of no playoffs etc.

    For example: Seattle needs to win the next 4 to secure the 2nd wildcard spot and even if they win the next 4, they do not control their destiny for any other spot. If the Panthers win 3 more games, they secure the number 1 seed, if the Cardinals win 3 we secure the number 2 seed. So if we win out and the Panthers lose two or more, we could gain the number 1 seed.

    This site is updated after every game, not weekly or even daily, but after each and every game.

    http://www.playoffstatus.com/nfl/nfl.html

  13. By dynosoar on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Birds STC,

    Two thoughts. I’d give you another 25 thumbs ups (your current tally) if I could.

    2nd, my guess as to why Kerwyn wasn’t snatched by another RB depleted squad, only Keim is constantly searching the league every week to improve out team. All others only look if they have several injuries and a specific need and so they don’t know what talent is out their when the need arises. (Which is why we were able to get Dwight Freeney who leads in sacks and Corey White who saw action Sunday.)

    Steve Keim is like Coach Arians, he never lets up.

    georgiebird,

    I agree with your thoughts 100%. And I’m excited about it. Could any of us wish for a better scenario for December ball than a team playing it’s best with the four of the best opponents in the league to play against for our final four games?

    What better preparation for the Playoffs could we have than to play against four teams currently in the playoff mix

    I love it!

  14. By dynosoar on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    “We’re still looking to improve,” Arians said. “I’ve got to find reasons to holler at them about and make sure we are improving each week…”

    Is there a better Coach Quote than this?

    There’s always room for improvement and a good coach is wanting to find it… always. A good team, nay a great team makes the coaches job difficult in this regard.

    “I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it!”

    Now, on to a Vikings team that is most likely playoff bound and is either going to play much more focused after their loss to the Seahawks OR is going to try too hard to get this next win and will make little errors that we will capitalize on.

    Thursday may very well be one of the best games for the entire season. It could not have been better scripted, unless it is scripted (hehe.)

    The Lombardi Trophy or Nothing At All!
    (And I’m tired of nothing.)

    (One of my favorite quotes is from the Donald BEFORE he was a candidate, so this isn’t political. “Nothing is easy. But who wants nothing?”)

    brinnc,

    where are you?

  15. By Cardinal's Chick on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    What is it just me…or did they just hit cruise control in this game? Felt like a breeze…Carson just looked like he was in control the whole time with over 300 yards passing…specially the 98 yard march. I have to give DJohnson his props for coming through, Kerwyn Williams too. Very happy for Fitz getting to 1,000 catches for his career and reaching 1,000 receiving yards this season! He is an all around gentleman, a Rams player got hurt and Ftiz stopped to check on him, then gave him some dap and told him to hang in there. Defense was strong…and stayed strong for the most part! Love my Card’s and what they are doing this year!!! Makes all of those painfully bad years a distant memory. We can’t let up yet…stay focused on that #2 seed spot!!

  16. By JohnnyBluenose on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    A very good job by everyone. Win again Thursday night and then get some rest and get ready for the games that will (maybe) determine play-off seeding. Happy Birthday to Michael Bidwill. December 6th is obviously a special day for him. It is also a special/memorable day for the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia where I live. On that morning in 1917 two ships collided in Halifax harbour. One of them was a French munitions ship which was carrying explosives to be used in France during World War 1. The ship caught fire and blew up twenty minutes later. It is known as The Halifax Explosion and at the time it was the most powerful man-made explosion to occur. It remained so until the atomic bombs were dropped in 1945. Halifax, especially the north end, was devastated and more than 2000 people were killed, a significant number 98 years ago. The city and the people needed a lot of help and it got it. In particular, the people of Boston helped. Much needed medical supplies were sent and doctors and nurses arrived to care for the thousands who were injured. A special bond exists to this day between Halifax and Boston, indeed all of New England. Each year the province of Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree, a very large Christmas tree to the city of Boston where it is decorated and lighted and a big ceremony takes place. It’s not much but it’s our way of remembering and saying thank you. The Halifax Explosion is remembered every year. There is a ceremony where the victims are remembered. There are still a handful of survivors who are in attendance. I like Boston. My wife and I honeymooned there in 1972. I like the Bruins. I like the Red Sox. But I have never liked the Patriots. Go Cardinals. Keep going.

  17. By Amir on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Great win. Much better team performance than against 49ers although several good drives continued to get stalled around 40 forcing to punt.

    Congratulations to Larry. What an accomplishment considering these are the QBs he had to play with to get here…

    Josh McCown
    Shaun King
    John Navarre
    Matt Leinart
    Derek Anderson
    John Skelton
    Max Hall
    Kevin Kolb
    Ryan Lindley
    Brian Hoyer
    Drew Stanton

    Imagine his accomplishments if he had played an extended time with Warner or Palmer or any other upper echelon QBs.

  18. By Big Ken on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    It’s been awhile since I’ve looked at Peter Kings weekly column in Sports Illustrated. This morning I did and he hardly mentions the Arizona Cardinals. Then I realized why I never read his column.

  19. By Al on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    They are playing like they are on a mission…Like a freight train…I’m enjoying every minute..

  20. By Richard S on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    35 yard touchdown run
    a souvenier ball
    and now it’s Kerwin Williams time.

  21. By Marcelof on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    This sentece in particular made me think hard

    “Imagine his accomplishments if he had played an extended time with Warner or Palmer or any other upper echelon QBs.” (AMIR)

    Can it be even imaginable?
    Wow

  22. By Dr H on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Once again the young guys stepped up big time……kudos to the entire team and Keim has a good eye for talent……thank heavens Kerwin wasn’t taken…

    Great game, now let’s get them Vikings!

  23. By Scott H on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Dang it, I am so pissed right now….( no, not about the Cardinals! ). I did a lengthy post this AM and then I had a problem trying to submit it. It was like the screen froze…and nothing I did worked. I did what I had to do to get out of the frozen screen, hoping that my post had been sent and would show up later.

    It didn’t. Deep despair….

    I’m not doing that one over again, so suffice it to say that my sentiments are very much in line with those expressed here. So, I’ll just say ditto!

    I love the way the schedule is laying out for us now! SOOOO glad we are at home after this short week, then we get a long week before the trip to Philly. Could you image if we had caught the trip to Philly on a short week?? That would be brutal. But we have weathered the middle of the schedule, all those road games, and now we have 3 of our last 4 AT HOME!!! As the song says, there’s no place like home for the holidays!

    And on New Year’s Eve, I’m gettin’ on a plane for a long weekend in Phoenix and the Seahawks game!

    Darren, a question for you….in terms of these Thurs night games and the short week that leads up to them, is there any effort by the NFL to make sure that no one catches a cross-country trip after only a few days rest?? If not, it would sure seem that they should. Like if we WERE going TO Philly this week after we just played on Sunday….that would totally give the Eagles an un-fair edge in that game. I’m just assuming the league looks out for that? Can you shine any light on this?

  24. By Darren Urban on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Thursdays

    I think the league has done a better job of that recently.

    But back in 2008, that’s exactly what happened — the Cardinals played in Philly Thanksgiving night after playing the Giants in a hard game at home. It did not go well.

  25. By Scott H on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    And, BTW, damn those Vikings for that effort yesterday! Now, I REALLY want to lay a beat-down on their sorry rear-ends. They have been playing so consistently well ALL YEAR and they pick the week they play the damn Seahawks to roll over like that??? Serves them right. I am going to hope that it holds true that teams that play Seattle one week tend to fall off the next.

    Let’s take from that game the lesson that perhaps the best way to take Peterson out of a game is to build a lead early, keep your foot on the pedal, and put the Vikings in a situation where it is no longer viable for them to run the ball. Looked like that worked pretty well for Seattle yesterday. And there ain’t nobody more capable of putting the Vikings in an early hole than the Cardinals!. Bring them shovels, fellas!

    Let’s him ’em early and hit ’em hard.

  26. By Chuck 1 on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    WOW!!
    Apparently, those who gave me Thumbs Down for criticizing Keim for drafting Logan Thomas and Cooper believe those were GREAT picks.
    To refresh your memories, the Cards cut Thomas loose. He’s now on the Fins’ Practice Squad.
    Cooper was the # 7 pick in the draft and has been with the Cards three years and can’t even start!!!
    Get real!!!

  27. By Dr. G. on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Our best wishes to CJ; but as bad as it is for him, the team is fortunate to have David and Kerwin to step up doing a very good job. It would be nice to see him taking a few touches with the team in FEBRUARY.

    Not to look past any game, but Cam Newton and Co. looms big for our staff to put a game plan together to knock them off… That will be H U G E…!!

    Major Props to Fitz for the new record//level of excellence..!!

    Go Cards on Thursday…one game at a time….

  28. By Scott H on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    Thanks. Um…yeah, I DO remember that Thanksgiving game in Philly. I completely forgot it came after a Sunday game. Yeah, it was ugly.

    But we got them back in January! We went on to the SB. They went home. I’d say we fared better in the long run! 🙂

    Just saw where the Cards have been flexed to Sunday Night again – in Philly, against the Eagles. Damn, man….I gottta take off on a Monday AGAIN??? Hey, prime time has worked real well for the Cardinals this year, so….bring it! Line ’em up! I hate the Seahawks…beat them. I hated the Bengals in support of Palmer…beat them. I hate the Vikings for rolling over against the Seahawks yesterday…..SHOULD beat them. And as we all know, I hate the Eagles…..hope to see the trend continue!

  29. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 7, 2015 | Reply

    Chuck 1 —

    Re: Thomas/Cooper:

    I don’t think you can be overly critical of the Thomas pick. Not that I think it was a good one, but because there’s a ton of guesswork involved in the QB position. I mean, look at the guys taken in the 2013 draft: Manuel (round 1), G. Smith (2). Glennon (3), Barkley, Nassib, T. Wilson, L. Jones (4), and so on. A few guys that have played in a few games, but at this point it’s not clear any of them will be long-term starters. The 2014 draft in which we got Thomas was a little better — Bortles, Bridgewater and Carr all starting, but they were all 1st round or high 2nd round (in the case of Carr) picks, and Manziel was also drafted then — not sure how he’ll turn out. But unless we were going to spend a high pick on a QB, the guys who came later all look like flyers much like Thomas. And of course we tried the flier approach in previous drafts with 6th rounder Lindley and 5th rounder Skelton.

    Maybe the end result of all that is, don’t waste late-round picks on QB’s, but then again, you never know… you might uncover Tom Brady.

    I think it’s fair to be critical of the Cooper pick although we don’t really know how that would’ve turned out if not for the broken leg. Yeah, I know, it’s healed now, and I’m not trying to make excuses, but that’s a big setback. Prior to that, he had looked good in the preseason and figured to start from day one. I also think our first round pick from this year is increasingly looking like a bad pick, but I guess we need to give that some more time.

    Bucannon, I think, has played well enough given how late he was drafted in the first round. And Keim has found some gold in later rounds, but you’re right, it’s surprising how little we’ve gotten out of first round picks in his tenure.

  30. By Chuck 1 on Dec 8, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin S Mesa,

    I understand the difficulty of drafting a QB that will be THE Franchise QB to succeed Palmer. With all due respect to Stanton and Barkley, they won’t be the Franchise QB.
    But, at some point, Keim will have to do that. And, unless he trades up, he won’t get that QG when he’s drafting in the mid-to-high 20s as he will probably be doing for the foreseeable future.

  31. By Chuck 1 on Dec 9, 2015 | Reply

    Previous post: QB, not QG

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