Rallying to Browns aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on November 1, 2015 – 7:20 pm

There are times when Larry Fitzgerald is, let’s say, careful with his words. The veteran receiver understands what and what not to put out for public consumption, so there are times when he’s delivering sanitized material. Not Sunday, not when the first question was what exactly happened at halftime to change the Cardinals’ fortune in Cleveland.

“We just pulled our heads out,” Fitz said, and thankfully he allowed us to fill in to ourselves from where the Cards were doing the pulling.

Between the turnovers and the sloppy defensive moments it wasn’t hard to figure out that the Cardinals were doing themselves dirty in that first half. They are fortunate they were able to turn it around. Why it took so long – “It seems like until we get pissed off or something, then we start playing and we can’t be like that to get where we want to be,” defensive tackle Frostee Rucker said – is something that will be a point of emphasis. But if there is always something to be learned, this week it is that this team can overcome turnovers and pull one out. Now, if you are a minus-two (and at one point, a minus-four) against a good team, that will be problematic. But this week, it was not.

— From the time the Browns scored their third and final touchdown, the Cardinals’ defense forced five punts, had an interception, forced a fumble and then got a stop on downs. The Browns gained a total of 92 yards on those eight possessions.

— The last time a Cardinal running back had 30 carries in a game before Chris Johnson’s 30 Sunday (for 109 yards?) Edgerrin James had 36 on Oct. 16, 2006. Perhaps you remember that one. James had only 55 yards in that game, and well, the Bears were who we thought they were.

— CJ2K is also the first Cardinal to have four 100-yard games in a season since … wait for it … Stump Mitchell, now Johnson’s position coach, who did it in 1985.

— Former agent/cap guru Joel Corry tweeted out that with his surpassing of 664 yards rushing on the season, Chris Johnson has earned the first $280,000 of the $1.13 million in incentives built into his contract. Why 664 yards? Because he had 663 yards rushing last season while playing for the Jets.

— The Cardinals did not get enough pressure on Josh McCown in the first half. That changed in the second half, and you could see the results. In a side note, Dwight Freeney had his second sack in as many weeks.

— Carson Palmer was just talking last week about how he doesn’t care about stats but how he cares about red-zone efficiency and third-down conversions. Sunday, the Cardinals were 3-for-5 in the red zone – a very solid 60 percent – and 13-for-16 on third downs – an amazing 81 percent.

— And this is a team that missed on two wide-open bombs down the field on overthrows both Bruce Arians and Palmer said were because of the wind.

— Palmer is on pace for 40 touchdown passes.

— The bye comes at a good time. Arians pegged both wide receiver John Brown and cornerback Jerraud Powers at “85 or 90 percent” Sunday, but were held out because the Cardinals could afford to hold them out. If that’s the case, you figure a week off will do wonders and set them up to be ready after the bye. Same goes for Larry Fitzgerald, who hurt his ankle late and will get some welcome rest.

— The players are off Monday – “Victory Monday” has arrived. With the bye week, they’ll have practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and then get the mandated four-day weekend. At 6-2 halfway home, and with a two-game lead in the NFC West, it’s been a solid start.


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24 Responses to “Rallying to Browns aftermath”

  1. By sggrange on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    Very close to a blow out, but we were losing at the half? WTH?

    Thankfully it was the Browns…..

    ONLY team that has beaten this club this year is the Cardinals….When they are on they don’t seem to be able to be stopped…

    If we win the turn over battle Sunday Night in two weeks we win….If we don’t, and play as loosy goosy as they did the first half? We will indeed be pretenders…

    Good to see JJ and Mike Floyd step up and show healthy (How good is MF looking? Just seems a man among boys)

    Good to see BA stay with the run…Felt that CJ was just a step away from ripping off a big run in that last quarter….

    6 -2 and it feels a little disappointing…That’s a new experience for this Cards fan!!


  2. By D on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    Impressive how deep the WR group is and productive. The first time I think the secondary had some issues with a tall TE/WR. They better adjust and prepare for J. graham after the bye. Cards need to practice and work on ball security. Overall very good first half of the season.

  3. By Steve W on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    Wow, that was a rough 1st half but the Cards sure showed everyone what they were made of in that spectacular second half. Man just hold on to those balls, guys! Seems like these kinds of come-from-behind wins might do a lot to build the character of our team throughout the season, though – especially if we can go 6 and 2 again after the bye week! Or better even, I’ll take better too!

    Anyway, glad to see us in this position halfway through the season and a bye week coming to help get Brown, Okafor and Powers back healthy. GO CARDS!!

  4. By krehbieo14 on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    The good news is the Cards are 6-2. The bad news is the mystifying mistakes that have plagued this team. I think we have the most talented roster in the NFL but have not been able to maintain intensity and focus for 60 minutes. After the bye, we’ll find out more about the identity of this team. I hope the switch stays on!

  5. By Dr, G, on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    A bit frustrating at first, but the Cards a showing a degree of maturity knowing they could come from behind without panic. A solid effort after settling into rhythm. Those 2 losses were an education in humility.

    My hope is CJ644 earns all his bonus this year…that will mean the team will also be on a roll with a good running game. Keim, the savant of free agency. Good on ya, Steve…later Cards Fans.

  6. By georgiebird on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    Cards win a game that in yesteryear would have been a loss.
    Now it’s time to put it all together for the tough 2nd half of the schedule. Defensive pressure has to get better or good teams will wear us out on 3rd down.

  7. By Tucsontim on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    No one should feel good about this game.

    IF I had a word for the Cardinals it would be that they are LAZY

    They are incredibly talented. They are probably the best talent the Cardinals have ever fielded. They may actually be the most talented team in the NFC

    So why do they act like spoiled privileged teenagers? Fitz you can talk about the team with it’s head up its a## but who has fumbled twice in critical situations

    Just like bad teenagers, it won’t fix it self. Parenting…. tuff love. Better figure it out soon cause the real NFL is coming

  8. By Richard on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    I love the Cardinals, but this season is a wash until we beat a team with a winning (or even better than 33%) record.

  9. By Steve on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    A tale of two halves but glad to see the Cards step up big time in the second half. I liked what I saw from J.J Nelson and Justin Bethel, both starting today and both contributing to the win. We’re 6-2, in first place at the midway point and have avoided major injury issues so far, I can’t complain.

  10. By John on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    Good team, but guys seem unfocused/less energy than Seattle. I hope they zero in on every play, starting with week 10

  11. By Chuck 1 on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall during the half-time “talk” by BA.
    I’ll bet that the paint on the walls was scorched and peeling.

    And, well it should have been.

    Also, how does Bettcher’s defense give up 20 points in one half to a lowly team like the Browns?

    The Cards are a good team, but not an elite or excellent team.

  12. By JohnnyBluenose on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    Did not see the game but was aware of the scoring sequences and was disappointed that we had such a woeful first half against a team as bad as Cleveland. The bye week comes at a very good time and hopefully we will use it to get physically and mentally ready for the challenging second half of our schedule. I did see some highlights of the first half which showed some poor tackling from our defense. We cannot afford that in November and December. CJ2K had 30 carries. That’s a lot. And, am I correct, AE and Johnson2 combined had ZERO? Why is that? Still, 6-2 is a good start. Back in January Ottis Anderson Fan predicted the Cardinals would go 5-11 this year so we are already exceeding his expectations. Green Bay lost tonight. I was not expecting that. So, all we have to do is win all our remaining games and then we don’t have to play the Packers in Green Bay in January. We control our own destiny. Keep going but be tougher and play harder.

  13. By Nathan on Nov 1, 2015 | Reply

    Great Win. Now just gotta get healthy and take it to the Seahawks with Carson for once!


    Did the Cardinals pick the song for when they came onto the field (The Imperial March) or did the Stadium people pick it for them?

  14. By Darren Urban on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    Nathan —

    RE: Song

    Those are always home team choices. The visitors don’t have much say in anything, in any stadium.

  15. By Eazy E on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    I was at church during a good portion of the game, but I saw a decent portion of it afterwards and I saw where we started very poorly and then scored 27 unanswered points!


    Carson is having one helluva season with another great game. 23-38, 374 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT that was overthrown! He is firmly entrenched in the MVP race with the likes of Tom Brady and Cam Newton!


    Chris just continues his stellar season with a bell-cow type workload with 30 carries for 109 yards which is just under his typical 4 yard average or in this year’s case 4.8. I’m glad Bruce stuck with his star running back after the 2 fumbles! On the first one, one of my favorite players in former Cardinal Karlos Dansby just made a nice play knocking the ball out of Chris’s hands, and on the second one, he gets blown up by Armonty Bryant when he really didn’t in my opinion have the ball clean.


    Larry had a nice game with 9 catches for 84 yards and a beautiful back shoulder fade for a TD. Floyd had 4 catches for 106 yards including a great play beating the great Joe Haden for a 60 yard TD. JJ caught 3 passes for 70 yards, David caught 2 passes for 44 yards, Jaron Brown caught 1 pass for 39 yards, and even the TEs got in on the fun with Gresham catching 2 passes for 19 yards and I saw Niklas actually making plays with his 2 catches for 12 yards, but both we’re TDs! Finally he’s making a contribution!


    Only allowed 1 sack and gashed them pretty good with Chris!


    Totally shut them down in the running game with only 39 yards rushing total! We only got 1 sack from Freeney who is getting it going a bit here, but we definitely need my boy Okafor back! Calais, Frostee, Rodney and the crew we’re killing it even though the stats may say another story a little bit.


    I can basically copy and paste what I said about the defensive line and put it here. Our pressure is pretty good, but we just don’t have the sack numbers yet which doesn’t mean everything, but it would be nice to just pile them up sometimes!


    Our team started slow and our defense is obviously included because they we’re getting it from our ex in Josh McCown before they regained their bearings. Hartline only had 4 catches for 32 yards, but 2 nice TDs, one on the Honey Badger, and the other on Bethel! Patrick locked up Travis Benjamin who is a player as a WR and KR/PR for 3 catches for 26 yards. Rashad is having as great a year as Patrick, Honey Badger, Tony Jefferson, or anybody on the defense or secondary with 2 tackles and a great pick for his fourth at the halfway point!


    Patrick popped a big return for 38 yards! I’m looking for more of that! The Special Teams was good otherwise with a perfect day from Chandler and only 2 punts from Drew.

    The turnovers we have to rid ourselves of though even though I won’t overreact because our Turnover Differential was one of the tops in the league if I remember correctly! Bye Week…

  16. By Cardinal's Chick on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    Oh my goodness…I kept having deja vu moments during the first half. I thought they were going to beat themselves in the same fashion as they did in that Steelers game a few weeks ago…. four turnovers – three fumbles and an interception. sdmh!!!! Thankfully they pulled it together and brought home a W. But, considering the teams they are facing after the bye, they are not going to win playing like that.

  17. By NJAzCardsFan on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    Congrats to Troy Nickalas for his 1st & 2nd NFL touchdowns….., JJ Nelson for his one handed grab.

    The Seahawks game is a must win….!!!

  18. By clssylssy on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    First half was so terrible, it was hard to watch and I really felt we were going to drop another against a team that was “suppose” to be a walk in the park. The thing about the AFC North is that even their worst team is better than the best of a lot of other divisions so there is a tendency to get lazy and forget these teams are built on old time ground and pound, smashmouth football;we better get our stuff together before we have to go against the Bengals or else it will be a long and very sad day for the Cards! Teams who play in Domes forget what it’s like to play in the wind and other unpleasant elements which, it seems to contribute to the toughness and skill of teams like the Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks, Bengals etc. abd we haven’t had the benefit of a lot of these experiences so far, being blessed with decent weather in the few times we
    ve played outside. Making the necessary adjustments for the wind, etc. at halftime was a HUGE step for the Cards who, in recent times have struggled when having to come from behind. Am SO relieved to go into the bye at 6-2, although St. Louis is breathing heavily down our necks as are the Seahawks with their controversial W over the Cowboys.
    Our defense still looks uncontrolled and slap hazzard, appearing to miss a lot of assignments with an energy that seems to wax and wane, leaving it to one or two players to “save the day”. We’re not getting pressure on the QB and are leave gapping holes for our opposition to run through.
    We’re gonna have to REALLY get our stuff straight and our heads right to go into Seattle after the bye and come out with a W. Everything is critical after that.
    Sure am greatful for the Veteran core this team has, feel they don’t get enough credit for helping to coach up the younger guys so we can be successful as a team. Good Job salvaging a dumpster fire of a beginning!

  19. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    One thing I love about this message board… we can win by two touchdowns on the road, and there is still a group of fans who will talk about how the team is unfocused, lazy, etc.

    Meanwhile, someone says above that “guys seem unfocused/less energy than Seattle.” You mean a Seattle team that needed a FG with about a minute to go to beat Dallas, 0-5 since Romo broke his collarbone? How do you infer that they are more focused from a 13-10 home win against Detroit where they needed a non-call by a referee to win it, followed by two losses where they gave up the lead in the 4th quarter, and barely beating Dallas with their backup QB? The only game they’ve played well in 5 weeks is against SF, and everyone — us, the Rams, etc. — is manhandling them. On this same day, let’s look at what the other “good” NFC teams did. Atlanta (at home) lost to Tampa Bay, the Vikings needed 10 points in the last 2 minutes to beat the Bears, and the Packers got whipped by the Broncos. We were the class of the NFC today. (Panthers play Monday.)

    Turnovers happen. Sometimes they are the result of poor decisions, sometimes they are the result of guys being careless… and sometimes a defender just makes a good play. The Fitz punchout is something that is nearly impossible to guard against — it’s similar to what Chancellor did to Calvin Johnson. The Palmer INT looked at first like an inexplicable throw, but then the announcers acknowledged that there was PI against Larry that made it impossible for him to even make a play.

    We turned the ball over 4 times, once giving the Browns the ball inside our 10 and once negating a drive where we were inside their 10 when the fumble occurred. And still won by 2 touchdowns. Let that sink in a little.

    We nearly doubled the Browns in total yards.

    CJ didn’t have any breakaways — 13 yards was his longest run — and still made it to 100 yards.

    John Brown was out, so JJ Nelson had 70 yards. Larry had 9 catches and still wasn’t even the high yardage guy on the team.

    We didn’t allow a point in the second half.

    Repeated hits on McCown by the D knocked him out of the game.

    I know people blamed “lapses” in focus or energy for losing against St. Louis and Pitt, but let’s not make this the theme every time the Cardinals have a bad game, half or quarter. Sometimes the other team has a good game plan, and you need to adjust. Sometimes you turn the ball over, and those are maddening but largely unpredictable.

    Our team won by double digits. Any time that happens in the NFL on the road, there is reason to be positive. Are there things we can do better? Of course. There always are. But the other team is getting paid too, and we should for the most part be very pleased with this game.

  20. By Scott H on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    A tale of two halves, to be sure. What I REALLY want to know is what Arians said to them at half-time. It must have been…..special. And while it was effective in getting them to wake up and play well enough in the 2nd half to get the win, don’t we all have to wonder why we were basically sleep-walking through the first half??

    The Cardinals had TOO MANY turnovers in this game. The Browns are apparently bad enough that we were able to survive that. Anyone think that is going to happen against Seattle? TWICE? The Bengals? The Rams? The Packers? Don’t bother, it’s a rhetorical question. Or, at least, it should be. The answer is NO.

    You have to do a lot wrong to fall behind to a bad team 20-7 by half-time. And we did. And, to be fair, you have to do a lot right in the 2nd half of ANY game that you trail 20-7 going into the 3rd quarter to win that game. And we did. But let’s not forget that there is another side of this coin, folks – to over-come a 20-7 half-time deficit, the other team probably has to do a lot wrong as well. And the Browns absolutely did. So…what are we really taking from this game??? A win, yes. But what else?

    Anyone feeling really encouraged by how the Cardinals played in the 2nd half cannot possibly over-look that what necessitated that was how BAD they played in the first half. We weren’t coming back against the Packers or Patriots. We were coming back against the damn CLEVELAND BROWNS. A bad team. With a QB nowhere near 100%. The final score says we won convincingly, by two TD’s. But if you saw / heard this game from start to finish….can you really say that? I say the Browns and their ineptitude were every bit as responsible for the outcome in the game as the Cardinals ( and everything they did right ) were. And I don’t see how that is anything but a totally fair assessment.

    While ya might not think so, I am thrilled to be 6-2 after 8 games, going into the bye, getting a week off to get ready for Seattle. But just I was hoping for a better 2nd half yesterday, I am hoping for a better 2nd half to the season. NOT in terms of record, but in terms of how we are playing. We have been playing mostly bad teams. Better teams are on the way in the 2nd half, and those teams are not likely to be as forgiving as the Cleveland Browns! Just sayin.

    BTW, I am SO glad to see Floyd starting to re-emerge!

    And welcome to the NFL, Troy Niklas!

  21. By Dr. G. on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    TucsonT… your comment on Fitz’s fumbles is right on, however, he took a major hit on one of them. I would add to your point that when you have had some issues, you avoid pointing to others’ issues as PP does commonly. He just thinks he needs to point to something needing improvement facing the media…there was an optimistic fix buried in that comment…be well…😂

  22. By Dr. G. on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin…comin’ across like a lecture, but I cannot disagree with much…good post.

    ScottH… Yeah, BA’s half-time soliloquy would have been a gem to be sure. If you noticed in post game commentary, BA and Palmer pointed to the Hawk ((wind)) as a culprit to consider. I think one adjustment there on offense did make a difference. This is why Peyton is so good in tricky weather, because he does not rely on the long ball as Arians ALWAYS does…G’day…

  23. By Lucas on Nov 2, 2015 | Reply

    Very disappointed with the first half defense. Bowles would have never let Cleveland get on the board. The second half of the season is going to be all about how the defense can perform against legitimate teams. Defense wins championships. Offense will only take us so far. Remember Superbowl 48?

  24. By William Barry on Nov 4, 2015 | Reply

    In Cleveland, we had a good second half…..

    Nikklas, Floyd, and JJ really stepped up ……Floyd showing great catching ability ….JJ was great with one handed catch…..and Nikklas, had two TD’s in redzone. As Darren mentioned, we were above 60% in 3rd down efficiency….

    Agree with Kevin S.’s comments…..

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