Nelson, Johnson and Redskins aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on December 4, 2016 – 8:41 pm

It’s possible J.J. Nelson wouldn’t have even been on the field with 2:03 left Sunday, but as fate — and perhaps some virus, or bad food, would have it — Michael Floyd “was throwing up at that time,” Nelson said. So the Cardinals went with a play that could get Nelson open deep. Carson Palmer took a shot, and Nelson held on — something he hasn’t been able to do a lot of late.

“Them dropped passes I’ve had, I was like, ‘I’ve got to catch this,’ ” the wide receiver said.

He did, of course, and then the defense finished it off, and voila! The Cardinals had their win. There was so much talk about accountability and team meetings coming into this game, and maybe there was more attention to detail, but mostly, as Tony Jefferson said, it was Five Stars (as in five-star players) being Five Stars. Guys made plays. Nelson. Palmer. Patrick Peterson — who said he really didn’t think the players-only meeting impacted much tonight — with the pick. Heavy pressure on Kirk Cousins. Guys were making plays. David Johnson, at the forefront (more on him in a minute.)

They’ll see if they can keep it going in Miami.

— We knew it was coming, but props to Larry Fitzgerald for becoming No. 3 in the NFL all-time in receptions. The only two ahead of him? Jerry Rice and long-time tight end Tony Gonzalez.

— Going 10-of-16 on third downs and not turning the ball over usually is a recipe for a win.

— Calais Campbell played an excellent game. It was highlighted by his strip-sack when he collapsed the pocket, but he played so well all around.

— Lost on the last TD drive was a third-down holding call on Josh Norman on Fitz. From my vantage point on the sideline, it looked like he held. Norman said he felt he was within five yards of the line of scrimmage and thought he was in good position, but he also said he wasn’t going to blame the loss on a call.

— Why, exactly, the Redskins called a fade route to DeSean Jackson, with Peterson covering him, on the 1-yard line on third down I will never understand.

— Hey, remember when I was saying the Cardinals didn’t yet have a Victory Monday? They’ve got one now.

“There is nothing better than coming into this locker room and Coach giving us a Victory Monday in December,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s is the first Victory Monday. That is pretty bad, man.”

— Finally, there is David Johnson. What else can you say? Fitz is calling him the NFL’s MVP, Palmer is calling him the best player in the game. He’s got 15 touchdowns now, two shy of the franchise record set by John David Crow in 1962 (That’s the last time someone had at least 15.) He’s had more than 100 yards from scrimmage every game this season.

He’s got 1,005 yards rushing this season. He’s up to 704 yards receiving on 64 catches, and it does not seem far-fetched any longer to see him get another 296 yards receiving in the last four games. That’s an average of 74 a game. Definitely do-able, and it would bring him with Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only ones to do it in NFL history.

When you have Johnson, why wouldn’t you try fourth-and-1 (although Arians was right; big props to the left side of the line and those two tight ends because we have seen Johnson stuffed before.)

On a night when Fitzgerald made more NFL history, it sure feels like Johnson is rapidly becoming a player that — with health and good teammates — could end up having a chance to be a historical player himself.


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23 Responses to “Nelson, Johnson and Redskins aftermath”

  1. By CardsNation on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    I have to say that James Bettcher had done a great job preparing the design of the pass rush. We made some mistakes, but we overcame them and had a great win. Keep winning and keep the hope alive, we still have a chance and unfortunate for the Panthers.

  2. By TucsonTim on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    Thank you Cardinals for making the drive worth it.

    So much fun to see Fitz finish a HOF career and Johnson begin one.

  3. By mal on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    To all football fans everywhere–

    Count your blessings every time you get to watch #11 and #31 playing on the same field together.

    There’s a short over-lap as one legend nears the end and the other future legend begins his career, and we are lucky enough to see them play together.

    These guys are peerless. This is once in a lifetime stuff.

  4. By carlsonchemist on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    Hi Darren! We finally got our first of five wins needed! Carson Palmer looked good in my opinion. Everybody seemed to step up when needed. Sure, we made some errors, but we were able to overcome them (without any significant injuries)! We need another good week of practice and now that we have that all important win, I’m anticipating to build upon it with a win in Miami next week! Nya-Nya to all the nay-sayers! My beloved Cardinals will go!

  5. By georgiebird on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    Nice win for Cards. They beat a quality opponent. The effort was there and they pulled it out with a few big plays late. Never easy but a win is a win.

  6. By Dr. G. on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    Cards Fans – – DJ2K+? By season’s end? What a complete and humble guy…! …and barely a sophomore.

  7. By dan on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    Thank you Dennis Green wherever you are…….for drafting Fitz. Oh, and thanks to the Lions for drafting Abdullah or we would have missed on David Johnson………and yes that was a cheap shot at Keim…..Lol.

  8. By Jeff A on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    Was only able to view highlights, but on the JJ Nelson play, all defenders on that side bit deep and Larry was completely wide open on a medium/deep drag. He would have gotten close to the end zone before having to break tackles himself. Nice to see JJ hold on to one though as he’s suffered through some drops.

  9. By CARDS62 on Dec 4, 2016 | Reply

    I agree David Johnson is special. Give him a great line and enjoy the show for a lot of years just like we have enjoyed the show with the Great Fitz. Congrats to FITZ on being # 3 receiver of all time. What an incredible accomplishment considering all the great receivers in NFL History and our Cardinal is # 3 all time, and lets not forget some of those QBs Larry and us fans had to endure, ha ha ha..
    Congrats to the fans for seeing a great second half and helping us secure a home victory. Remember Washington had 3 extra days to prepare and get healthy. So this is a very good win and our Tampa Bay win is looking better and better.

    I give the coaches credit for throwing more to the TEs and RB Johnson today.
    Glad to see that Carson Palmer and Coach Bruce had great games today that hopefully they can build on for the rest of this season.

    There is no way I would have went for the 4th and 1 on what was it our 32 yard line or thrown to the smurf in double coverage, but coach did it again and they both worked perfectly. Two plays that won the game for us. So very happy for coach and Carson and all of our guys. Yes I would say the 5 stars showed up today, Coach, Carson, Johnson, Fitz., CC, and PP.

    Darren we really need to run a contest to come up with a nickname for David Johnson.

    Guys I do not remember either team punting in the second half. Is that right? If so I am grateful I did not have to watch the Butler do it again to the tune of 28 yards. Butler I do have a nick name for, The Black Mailer.

    Well everyone have a great week and Go Cards beat those Dolphins.

  10. By Eazy E on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    Yes now that’s a different Cardinals team even from last week!


    Carson had a very good game throwing for 30-46, 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INT.


    David Johnson I mean what can you say by now about the man?! 18 carries for 84 yards and a TD isn’t eye-popping for him, but when you include the 9 catches for 91 yards and that TD on that screen pass and a number of big, important catches and runs including the 4th and 1 which I thought Bruce was barely thinking straight on and you see why I say that and he keeps his 100+ yards from scrimmage streak going also! 173 all-purpose yards is sick! I still wish we would have activated CJ2K, but I understand why we chose Tyvon Branch although I don’t fully agree.


    Larry Fitzgerald is just moving on up the list of catches all-time and now my guy is 3rd All-Time! He had another 10 catches for ”just” 78 yards, but he seems to catch all the important passes. Congrats to him! Gresham had a very nice game with his 5 catches for 52 yards. J.J. aka Fire had only 1 catch but the catch put some space between us and the Redskins, like 8 points! What a clutch play by the Cardinals there with him getting behind the defense from what looked like double coverage or at least 2 guys in the vicinity for a 42 yard TD! Floyd only caught 3 passes for 18 yards, but did catch a TD that I thought was picked or at least batted down, but boy was I pleasantly surprised when he was going on in the end zone!


    I thought the O-Line played pretty well considering that their playing musical chairs right now. We rushed for only 88 yards and a TD, but only 2 sacks in 46 pass attempts! Ulrick John got beat pretty good today though.


    I thought we did a pretty good job against the run although they had a pretty good average because we stopped them on a couple short yardage downs. That is the Calais we all want consistently, game in and game out please!? 3 tackles, FF, Sack, and just playing well and Markus with the FR! I liked the pressure we put on Cousins too with a Chandler, Calais, Minter, Markus or whoever got a hit, hurry, etc. on Cousins.


    Patrick Peterson is just one heck of a corner! The game-clinching pick was so nice and what a sweet catch that was! DeSean to me is their #1 WR, but his huge 59 yarder was against Tyvon Branch where he ran a go route on him and he’ll beat every safety in the league right there, so I ain’t mad at him for that, but Patrick got minimal passes thrown his way with him covering any of their star WRs including DeSean! Garcon made some plays with his 7 catches for 78 yards, but rather minimal in impact although those aren’t bad numbers at all, but we contained him as the game went on. Vernon Davis caught 5 passes for 47 yards and Crowder ran a nasty double move on my boy Tony Jefferson to get open and in the end zone, but I like overall how we played against that #2 ranked offense although they were without star TE Jordan Reed! Swearinger can really play the game of football too. I loved his 2 straight unblocked blitzes leading to bad throws and the eventual game-ending pick!


    Catanzaro made 1/2, but although it’s a 53 yarder, Catanzaro can nail those! He has to be more consistent and automatic. Drew Butler had another Drew Butler type performance and I’m glad and I usually don’t support booing, but I’m glad Arizona fans booed after one of his extremely poor punts!

    Thank God that we finally beat a viable, pretty good, in contention playoff team! Let’s build on this and at least try to make a run! Please don’t lose to Miami and kill any kind of momentum. I know it won’t be easy on the road, but let’s go and get it! We weren’t beating any good teams before since probably week 2 against Tampa Bay.

  11. By Scott H on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    Again, shouldn’t have taken until Week 12 to see it, but yesterday was a true glimpse of the 2015 Cardinals WITH the addition of David Johnson. And that was pretty much what I had in mind all along. Didn’t anyone else?? It’s been so frustrating to watch DJ be so productive week in / week out, yet the offense was struggling. How was that possible??? It didn’t even make sense. HOW do you add the best all-purpose back in the league to THAT offense and then watch it get stuck in the mud??? Like many other things, it seems to defy explanation.

    But….whatever. At this point, it is what it is.

    I’m just happy for the players and the coaches this morning, glad they all got to put their heads on the pillow after a win AND a very well-executed performance.

  12. By joe holst on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    the 2015 draft class, Humphries, Golden, Johnson and Nelson is shaping up to be a home run draft class, thanks to Steve Keim and his draft team.

  13. By mitchaz on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply



    * After another brisk tempo first possession TD, once again the offense goes into a stall—slower tempo and penalties.
    * Floyd’s drop
    * Throwing the fade to Floyd with Norman on him and lesser defenders covering Fitz (like throwing to Smoke with the Vikings’ 2 best CBs on him)
    * Ulrich John’s whiff on Murphy’s sack
    * Palmer taking that sack on the 3rd down play that led to Catanzaro’s missed 54 yard FG


    * Superb first drive for TD
    * David Johnson’s 180 all purpose yards, 2 TD
    * Great blocks by Ulrich John and Nelson on Johnson’s quick screen TD
    * Fitzgerald playing like the consummate pro, running DBs over and reaching out for 1st downs
    * Palmer playing error free and even ad libbing on a play and finding Fitz for a big first down
    * Gresham running over Norman to move the chains
    * DJH playing with confidence and pop next to Mike Iupati
    * Floyd’s perfectly executed switch route and catch for the TD
    * BA going for it on 4th and 1 with game on the line—and DJH and Iupati caving in the left side of the line
    * BA passing the ball to try to run out the the clock
    * Palmer dropping the ball perfectly into the bucket and Nelson making a fantastic TD catch in traffic

  14. By mitchaz on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply


    * With the exception of Calais Campbell (great strip sack), Markus Golden (played better contain on QB) and Patrick Peterson (good coverage), it’s hard to say if anyone else on the defense had a plus performance.
    * Marcus Cooper was way too passive once again—Jefferson was not himself—Swearinger wasn’t cleaning up as he has in the past—the ILB tandem of Minter and Bucannon has possibly their worst game (when one would fill, the other didn’t scrape and clean up)—the tackling as a whole was shoddy—Chandler Jones, save for batting down a pass where he stood still, was practically invisible.
    * And yet, at the end of the day they only gave up 333 yards and came up with the big interception at the end
    * But this unit has to play much better than this.

    Special Teams:

    * Butler—man—
    * Peterson—loved that he turned in a good return early in the game—is he showing signs of stepping up?
    * Catanzaro—good, solid day 4/4 opts, 1/2 FG (miss from 54), 6 touchbacks

  15. By shannon robinson on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    This was worth waiting for. I am most impressed by 84 yards rushing for David Johnson. The young guys did their job blocking the run plays to give Our Man gaping holes to run through when it counted. The 2 Johns especially: Ulrich John downfield to spring DJ of the flare route and John Wetzel holding up in pass protection on the inside. Thank you Coaches Goody and Zimms for getting those guys up front to play such a dominant game. I give credit to Bruce Arians for tough coaching of JJ Nelson to get him to get to the point that he knew “I’ve got to catch this.” One of the great throws I’ve ever seen. There’s nobody that has the cojones like our Coach to make those play calls to win the game. I loved Calais coming through for all of us fans who still believe this team and organization are special – great to see Marcus pause as he sighted in that fumble and picked it clean and ran for the goalline. A tip of the Cards’ Wing to Mr. Gresham for “squashing Josh Norman like a biscuit on the sidewalk,” or whatever it was that Wolf was saying. A lot of Joy yesterday – thanks Darren for the great pics and coverage of our first win. It can’t get any better than this!

  16. By Dr. G. on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    Interesting how just one win engenders such accolades. Fans morph from reasonably negative critics into optimistic, hopeful observers. …my reasoning why the guys should play every game like it is the last regardless of win//loss record. A shot at the post season is a distant wish, but character matters.

    The reward is “”walking off the field knowing you left it all out there.”” This was a good “”team effort”” despite shuffling some personnel… Go Cards….the next game is always the only one that matters…. a sign on my desk reads “”A job worth doing, is worth doing right.””

  17. By Kevin S Mesa on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    Loved the 4th-and-a-half-yard play.

    Listening to Doug and Wolf this morning, about a half-dozen times they replayed Wolf saying “Oh no” when Pasch told him, “they’re going for it!” And then Doug chimes in to explain that he thought it was a terrible call.

    Which is exactly the problem with the “conventional wisdom” in football. That wasn’t a terrible call at all — it was a great call. The reason most NFL coaches don’t go for it there is because they don’t want to be second-guessed for not making it, and no one will ever blame you for punting. But the reality is, going for it gives you a better chance of winning.

    By going for it (and making it), you put yourself in a position where just one or two more first downs wins the game. Now, as it turns out, we ended up scoring a TD on a bomb, but really, all we needed to do was churn a few more yards each play. Use up Washington’s timeouts, get a first down, and then kneel.

    And your odds of making it are high, especially with David Johnson.

    Punt? Well, our punter averaged 39 yards a kick, and two of those were returned for an average of 8 yards. I don’t have the season stats, but I’d say a typical Drew Butler punt nets around 35 yards. So, punting from our 34 yard line, that means Washington starts on their own 31. And, here’s the key — they’d only be down by 1, and they’d have 4 downs to work with.

    It is hard enough in the NFL to keep a team from earning first downs in three downs. When they have 4 downs to work with, the task is extremely difficult. As evidence, look what happened when Washington took over with just 1:56 left after our TD — they marched down to the AZ 28 in just about a minute, and then, fortunately, Peterson made an INT — although that was just a bad pass, as the receiver was wide open. Now, sure, maybe you can argue our D was willing to give up some less explosive plays since Washington needed a TD and not just a FG, but I have very little confidence that, if we had punted with over 3 minutes to go, Washington wouldn’t have been able to drive at least 40 or so yards and get in position for the winning FG.

    And the problem in that scenario is, THEY have the ball. They control the clock. If they drive down to FG range, then they can just run the clock down to 3 seconds and then kick the game winner. By keeping possession of the ball (going for it on 4th down), we remain in control of the game.

    And even if we HADN’T made it on 4th down, that’s not the end of the world. Washington probably gets at least a FG, but they’d play more conservatively, knowing they’re already in FG range. They wouldn’t have all 4 downs to work with, only 3. Maybe they drive to the 20 and stall, and kick a FG with 1:30 left, and we still have a shot at our own GW FG.

    Football teams (and announcers and radio guys) need to study analytics more. There is no question that going for it on that 4th down play gave the Cards a higher chance of winning than punting, even when you factor in the possibility of not making it.

    And the funny thing is, while I loved that play, I didn’t particularly like the bomb to Nelson. I mean, it worked out… so, great. But then we’re forced to give the ball back, whereas just getting another first down forces Washington to use its last timeouts and allows us to nearly run out the clock. Not going to complain, since the TD (and extra point) at least meant there was no way to lose in regulation — would’ve taken a TD and two-point conversion just to tie — but can’t say I was wild about giving Cousins the ball back with a chance to tie, either.

  18. By JTDG on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply


    Great call;

    Why did Wolfe and others question the call? Simple. If you didn’t make it, the skins take the lead without gaining a yard with a FG.

    What BA did, I wouldn’t say it is conventional wisdom, just logical.

    If DJ doesn’t get the first down, the skins go in and score a FG or TD, and the cards offense can’t answer, man is BA being run out of town. Everyone is saying he has lost his mind, he lost the game for us, Darren is censoring out the curse words on this page.

    But if he punted, the skins drive the field and win the game, well we are all talking about the player who gave up the TD and Betchler choking.

    But if we get a first down, the drive continues, eating up clock and moving the ball down field, maybe even in FG range or a TD.

    So, who do you trust more? Punt and play defense or run DJ to continue the drive? Remember, there were 4 lead changes in the 2nd half.

    Remember Billechek going for it and coming up short. People still question him over that one. But with Manning on the other side, he liked his chances better on offense than stopping Manning. Think if he punted, and Manning drove down to win it, it would have been about his defense unable to stop Manning. But if he got the first down, they win and Manning never touches the ball.

    I think that is what happened here. I think BA thought his chances of getting a first down with DJ is better than his defenses chances of stopping the skins from driving down for a FG. I think it is that simple.

    So, in reality, BA did the logical thing whether he made it or not. The correct move always depends on the flow of the game. This was the right move.

    When you have a guy like DJ, the odds are in your favor.

  19. By mitchaz on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    Kevin and JTDG—

    What was superb about the 4th and 1 was how prepared the offense was to run it, by rushing to the line and setting it up—it looked like a classic “try to draw you off-sides” strategy. Instead they snap it and bang DJH and Iupati cave down the left side of the line and DJ hits the hole in a flash. Vintage BA and run to perfection.

  20. By CardsNation on Dec 5, 2016 | Reply

    DJ Humpries did well again and David Johnson is still a beast. 1000 rushing yards and receiving yards for sure!!! 2000 rushing yards next year>>>>>?

  21. By clssylssy on Dec 6, 2016 | Reply

    You know you’ve done good when your opponent’s coach “loses it” on his team at a volume that is audible beyond the cinderblocks of the locker room and describes your D-line as “unblockable”!
    Now let’s let this first win be a building block and foundation upon which to build, getting the mistakes ironed out and improved upon. The reality IS everybody really is playing for a job either here or some place else and impressions count.
    Washington was a little cocky and perhaps overconfident. Miami is coming off a loss and desperate, so will be much more of a challenge on the road and a couple time zones away! Now the test begins!

  22. By JTDG on Dec 6, 2016 | Reply


    Don’t forget Gresham.

    His block opened the hole. He had a really nice game catching and blocking.

  23. By clssylssy on Dec 6, 2016 | Reply

    Absolutely! Gresham’s pancaking of Josh Norman was one of the highlights of the game for me as it demonstrated to a loud mouth that we are the sissies he thought we were and are TEs are great offensive weapons when we decide to use them. Let’s hope that in the future, BA will make use of ALL our weapons rather than just getting stuck on giving snaps to the same few. I don’t think Washington expected Gresham (all 6’5″ of him) to come blasting away! LOVED IT!!!

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