It’s inevitable, really, that most games are going to be close in the NFL. This isn’t college, where little schools can be led to the slaughter by big schools; there is a reason why point spreads are rarely double-digits in the pros even when a strong team takes on a losing team. But the way the Cardinals are winning this year both inspires confidence and can leave outsiders wondering exactly how good the Cardinals are. In the end, if Bruce Arians is hoping his players stay focused week to week and look for that extra motivation, that can only help the cause.
But there is an element of the Cardiac Cards this season. To this, it’s hard to argue.
— The Cardinals score 12 fourth-quarter points in the opener to knock off the Chargers, 18-17.
— The Cardinals score 15 points in the fourth quarter to come back and beat the Giants, 25-14.
— The Cards outscore the Niners, 17-0, in the second half and need a Chandler Catanzaro field goal with 29 seconds left to seal a win, 23-14.
— The Cards outscore the Redskins, 13-7, in the fourth to put away a 30-20 win.
— Smokey Brown’s 75-yard touchdown catch with 1:21 left beats the Eagles, 24-20.
— Two fourth-quarter touchdowns in Dallas puts a 28-17 win out of reach.
What’s funny is that Arians has brought up, consistently, the mantra that the first half has been about “seeing where the game goes” and that the Cardinals will make the halftime adjustments to go out and finish. It’s certainly played out that way. But as quarterback Carson Palmer said, the Cardinals wouldn’t mind playing a little more consistently early so, you know, maybe the second halves don’t have to be quite so hard on the heart.
“We’ve been a second-half team since I’ve been here, as long as I can remember being a Cardinal,” said Palmer (although it’s really not that far back to remember, right?)
“We were a second-half team last year. We were really a second half of a season team last year, obviously, but we’ve been really good in the second half, and it’s good and bad. It’s good because that’s when games are won, but it’s bad because you leave teams hanging in the first half when you don’t go out and execute the way you expect to. From that standpoint, there are a lot of things we can clean up. We started hot and started fast as the season started, but we haven’t started games fast and that’s something we all are looking to improve.”
Tags: Carson Palmer
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