The Cardinals’ defense, save for the first half-plus against the Buccaneers, hasn’t played well the past three games. But one guy — both with his play and the fear factor he creates — who continues to play excellent is cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Peterson took on Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins Sunday night when the Cardinals were in man-to-man (there was a decent amount of zone coverage played too) and allowed no catches on only one target, according to Pro Football Focus. (Watkins had three receptions on four targets in other situations.) PFF notes that Peterson has allowed an average of just one catch per game through seven games this season.
There are reasons for that beyond Peterson of course. The Cards have played zone a chunk of time. Plus the play across from Peterson at cornerback — new starter Tramon Williams allowed six catches on eight targets against the Rams, PFF said — all but guarantees teams have reason to throw away from Peterson.
But considering the issues the Cards had last week when Pat P went out of the game and then the concern early last week that Peterson’s quad tendon injury could hamper his efforts Sunday, Peterson’s play stood out. He ended up playing all 80 defensive snaps (along with Williams, Tyvon Branch and Deone Bucannon) and gave another upper-crust performance across the pond. (He was avoided so much I’ve had trouble finding any action shots of Peterson yesterday, although he was out there for the coin toss.)
UPDATE: According to PFF, Peterson has been targeted only 21 times in seven games, allowing seven catches for 82 yards, one TD and three passes defensed. He has not allowed a catch in the last two games.
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