The Cardinals lead the NFL in interceptions after three weeks. They have seven (Mathieu 2, Peterson, Powers, Rashad Johnson, Bethel, Jefferson). They have yet to recover a fumble. On the other side, Carson Palmer has thrown two interceptions, and the Cards have lost two fumbles. Their plus-3 in the turnover ratio is fine, but not overwhelming.
What is overwhelming is how the Cardinals have dealt with both sides of the equation.
Of the four turnovers, the Cardinals have allowed a mere six points — the two field goals at the end of the first half in Chicago, despite the Bears getting the ball in the red zone twice after a Palmer pick and a J.J. Nelson muffed punt. Yet the Cards have turned their seven takeaways into 41 points. It doesn’t hurt that three of the interceptions have been returned for touchdowns, but the Cards have scored every single time they have stolen the ball. The ultimate underscore of this three-game stretch came against the 49ers. Palmer threw an interception — a bad one — near the end of the half. Yet Tyrann Mathieu picked the ball back moments later, setting up a field goal (on what was headed to be a touchdown drive if the Cardinals hadn’t run out of time.)
It’s a ratio that isn’t going to be sustained all season (you wouldn’t think.) But it’s a crucial way to give you leads in games, and yet another thing to point at with a 3-0 record.
Tags: 49ers, Bears, Carson Palmer, J.J. Nelson, Jerraud Powers, Justin Bethel, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu
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