A Stanton win and Niners aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on November 5, 2017 – 7:42 pm

It was hard to imagine Sunday happening with Bruce Arians as playcaller. Not so much that the Cardinals ran it so many times compared to passing it, but that they did it with only one running back. The Cards are, after all, on a short week, facing the physical Seahawks Thursday night.

But Adrian Peterson got the rock Sunday. A lot. The most he’s had in his career, a crazy notion given the fact he is both 32 and needed Thursday against those Seahawks. The Cardinals needed a win. As offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said last week, feeding Peterson is like throwing wood into the old stove, getting it hotter as the night goes on. Peterson really is a marvel, and he was crucial Sunday.

Now comes the Seahawks, who lost themselves at home. The Cards would pull even in the standings by beating Seattle. This is the formula, like the Cards had been saying (and interestingly, even with Palmer, is often the formula against the Seahawks anyway.) Run a lot, lean on the defense. Ask Drew Stanton to do some things but not a lot of things.

— Even with all the running, one guy who wasn’t about to declare the Cardinals now a running team was Larry Fitzgerald, who quietly had a solid game (five catches, 70 yards, a couple of key first downs).

“To say we have a whole new identity, I don’t know about that,” Fitzgerald said.

— The 37 Peterson carries set a franchise record. I hate to do this, but he broke the record of — wait for it – Edgerrin James, who had 36 in the Monday Night Meltdown game against the Bears. Edge was slightly less productive, gaining just 55 yards that game.

On the all-time lists, Fitzgerald surpassed Tim Brown for sixth place in NFL history for receiving yards. Peterson, who went past the 12,000-rushing yard mark, passed Thurman Thomas and Franco Harris and is now 14th all-time.

— Budda Baker was great in punt coverage, making an impact especially in the first half.

— It was a chippy day across the NFL – google Mike Evans and A.J. Green – so it kind of fit into things when it got heated late in the Cards’ game. Safety Antoine Bethea hit 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard as Beathard slid and the 49ers deemed it late. They had something to say. When it was over, Haason Reddick and Frostee Rucker were ejected, as was 49ers running back Carlos Hyde. We’ll see what the punishments and/or fines might be later this week. The sliding thing has been in the forefront ever since last week’s Kiko Alonso hit on Joe Flacco.

— Congrats to Karlos Dansby for getting his 20th career interception, as he became the fifth player in NFL history with 20 picks and at least 40 sacks. Dansby also had a sack in the game, so it will be a memorable one for him. So will the fact the ball bounced off the helmet of an offensive lineman, but they can’t all be gorgeous.

Dansby said Adrian Wilson had been giving him grief the other day in the team cafeteria about getting the pick. “Stop floating in the zone,” Dansby said Wilson told him. “It’ll come right to you.”

— It came late, but Chandler Jones got sack No. 9 in his eighth game, one of five sacks in the game. It was necessary to pressure Beathard all game given his beat-up offensive line, and for the most part, the Cards did.

— It was a nice day for the offensive line. Peterson ran for 159, and Pro Football Focus said the line allowed just two hurries, and Stanton wasn’t sacked.

— Finally, a few words about Stanton. He was solid Sunday. I understand there will still be those calling for Blaine Gabbert. I don’t expect that to change. But I don’t expect Stanton to go anywhere anytime soon. He took the blame for his interception in the end zone, although Arians interestingly took the blame for the same play. Stanton made a nice play to scramble around and find Jaron Brown on the first TD. He made a nice run on a planned play on third-and-1 to get a big first down.

He did enough to get a win. Yes, the Seahawks’ defense is another animal altogether, but Stanton did his job. The Cardinals are back at practice tomorrow. It’s just a walkthrough, but the week has already started. Not much time to enjoy a win.

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15 Responses to “A Stanton win and Niners aftermath”

  1. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 5, 2017 | Reply

    The slide rule is bogus as it is now being applied. The defender has something like milliseconds to react to the slide. Do we expect the defender to factor in “what if the QB slides — where will his head be as I’m trying to tackle him” just in case he slides? Then the defender will get screwed when the guy doesn’t slide (as we’ve seen a couple QB’s do lately).

  2. By Cardinale on Nov 5, 2017 | Reply

    Is Dawson’s job in danger? this is getting ludicrous!!!

  3. By JR in Tucson on Nov 5, 2017 | Reply

    I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Stanton is now 7-3 as a starter. Now let’s get the Seahawks at home.

  4. By Tradersbrain on Nov 5, 2017 | Reply

    Glad to see Stanton perform well.

  5. By Don Short on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    Kudos to Drew Stanton. He did what I was hoping he’d do, even if it was against a bad team. And I do believe that he’ll play better against Seattle, since he has a game under his belt. Unfortunately, I’m sure our running game won’t be anywhere near as effective, when you consider AP’s overuse, yesterday. And that is why I don’t hold out much hope for a short week win.

  6. By joe holst on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    How much longer can they put up with Phil Dawson?

  7. By Big Ken on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    It’s alive!

  8. By mitchaz on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    AZ 20 SF 10 Thoughts

    The pre-game hype (or lack thereof) for this game was a little tough to bear—on one segment ESPN’s Teddy Bruschi and Herm Edwards were unanimous in picking the 49ers to win their first game. Then on Twitter, PFF reported a couple of hours before kickoff that the AZ-SF game was the lowest ranked game since 2006.

    In the FOX pre-game, Laura Okmin reported that Patrick Peterson told her that the Cardinals problems were not physical, they were all mental. Well, anyone who watched the Cardinals’ super soft performances in Philly and London would have to wonder how Peterson could dismiss the notion that the Cardinals’ problems are physical. The irony is, of course, that Peterson himself, shies away from contact as much as possible, just as he did when Carlos Hyde caught a ball right in front of his zone and he merely waved at Hyde as Hyde blew right past him.

    The Cardinals must lead the NFL in first possessions, as for the 8th consecutive game, the Cardinals got the ball first.

    As was the case in London, thanks to a nifty first down stop-and-go pass up the right sideline from Drew Stanton to John Brown of 52 yards the Cardinals threatened to score on its first possession.

    And then IT happened again. Phil Dawson missed a 38 yard field goal.

    However, this time the Cardinals’ defense responded, when Tyrann Mathieu stripped FB Kyle Juszczyk of the football and Patrick Peterson scooped up the ball and took it inside the 49ers’ 5 yard line. Curiously, even though Peterson had a running head start ahead of the field he was chased down on the play by WR Marquis Goodwin.

    On a third a goal, Stanton was flushed to his right and managed to feather a TD pass in between 49er defenders into the arms of WR Jaron Brown to make it 7-0 Cardinals. It was a risky pass thrown back inside that typically is picked off in traffic, but it worked.

    Stanton looked fairly comfortable throughout the game…aided heavily by RB Adrian Peterson’s impressive 37/159/4.3 performance…and some timely passes, such as the 11 yard TD pass to TE Jermaine Gresham, which made the score 14-3 Cardinals.

    Stanton had a chance to put the Cardinals up 21-3 in the second quarter, but threw a pass to the wrong side of Gresham that Eric Reed intercepted in the end zone. BA said he got greedy with the call, but, if Stanton throws that pass to the inside where Gresham had the leverage, it was a good call.

    Despite Peterson’s monster game and the constant pressure the defense put on Beathard, the Cardinals could only muster 6 points in the second half.

    Stanton’s passing mechanics are conspicuously flawed. He tends to cock the ball, cup it and then push it out. His release is rarely clean or smooth. As a result, his completion percentages tend to hover at or below the 50% mark. He has a tendency to sail the ball when hurried, which he tried to correct in this game, but wound up throwing the ball low or into the ground.

    But, Stanton is a gritty competitor. He says he doesn’t care about stats, he only cares about making enough plays to win. He is now 7-3 as a spot starter in Arizona, with 3 of those wins coming against the 49ers.

    The Cardinals allowed the 49ers to keep this a game, when once again, the Cardinals’ defense laid an egg on the first possession of the 3rd quarter. Whatever is happening at half-time with the Cardinals’ defense has not been working all year. But, BA keeps insisting that the first 5 minutes of the 3rd quarter is the most critical stretch in the football game.

    The Cardinals won this game because the won in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The left side of the Cardinals’ offensive line (Gresham/Niklas/Humphries/Boone) accounted for 137 of AP’s 159 yards.

    On the other side, the Cardinals’ defensive line harassed rookie QB C.J. Beathard, to the tune of 5 sacks and a whopping 16 QB hits. Yet, Beathard still had a chance late in the game, thanks to Adrian Peterson’s fumble, a late hit by Antoine Bethea on a QB slide and the multiple ejections that followed.

    However, a feel-good ending for the Cardinals ensued when Beathard threw a pass that ricocheted off Trent Brown’s helmet right in to the waiting arms of Karlos Dansby who became the 5th player in NFL history to record 40 sacks and 20 interceptions.

    As for the Cardinals’ special teams, aside from Dawson’s missed field goal, the teams were solid. Dawson made his next 2 FGs, Andy Lee got better hang time and averaged 45 yards per punt where emerging ST’s star Budda Baker was there to clean up.

    Per PFF, the top rated players in the game for the Cardinals were DT Corey Peters (3 tackles, 1 sack), T Jared Veldheer, TE Troy Niklas, WR Larry Fitzgerald (5/70) and LB Karlos Dansby (7 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PD, 2 QB hits).

    Meanwhile, over in Seattle, the Redskins looked like they might put away the game up 10-8 and marching late when they were flagged for an illegal hit in the back on DT Michael Bennett who deliberately turned his back to go out of bounds on the play. It was an absurd call. These are the kind of game changing breaks the Seahawks typically get. Russell Wilson got the ball back and once again, despite struggling all game long he goes 7/7 in the 4th quarter and throws a go ahead TD to Doug Baldwin with a little over 90 seconds left.

    However, Kurt Cousins flips the script by leading the Redskins on a 75 yard TD drive in a mere 35 seconds, thanks to a spectacular diving catch of a deep fade to WR Josh Doctson.

  9. By mitchaz on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    Seattle Preview

    Obviously the Cardinals are going to have an enormous challenge on offense up front versus Seattle’s prolific front 7. It will be much harder this week to open holes and to prevent their speedy trio of LBs from shooting the gaps straight to the upright Peterson. DT Michael Bennett and MLB Bobby Wagner could dominate this game. BA has to find a way to keep Wagner off-balance, through play action passes. This is a game where having a FB to iso on Wagner would be huge…if only…

    Plus, as we know, Seattle’s pass rush is formidable. It would be helpful for BA to move Stanton around a few times as he did on a few occasions—and wow—great call from BA to run Stanton off the read option!

    The one little throwback screen Stanton threw to Peterson looked well timed—this is another way to slow Seattle’s pass rush down—that and the sprint draw that Ellington burned them with a couple of years ago.

    On the other side of the ball, it was crystal clear once again yesterday that Tyrann Mathieu is at his best when he is up in the box. In space at FS he is too slow and tentative. Seattle has two burners at WR in Baldwin and Paul Richardson, plus two very good pass catching TEs in Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson. They will be looking to attack the Cardinals over the middle—intermediate and deep.

    The Cardinals did do a better job this week of keeping contain, but one has to wonder whether OLB Kareem Martin is athletic and quick enough to contain and chase Russell Wilson. it would be huge this week if Haason Reddick could step up on the edge and make plays on Wilson. The Redskins did a good job of not overcommitting on their rushes and keeping Wilson hemmed in the pocket. Inside defenders have to be able to shed their blocks quickly to make plays on Wilson. Plus, James Bettcher would be wise to put a spy on Wilson the way the Redskins did with ILB Zach Brown. The Cardinals cannot play zones versus Wilson. he will pick those zones apart. Pressure man coverage on contained rushes with a middle spy is the key.

    The Cardinals need big games from Deone Bucannon who almost had his 3rd double-digit tackles game in a row (9 tackles vs. SF) and Karlos Dansby, who looked much more like his old self (or younger self) vs. SF.

    On STs the Seahawks are suddenly also having kicking issues as Blair Walsh missed 3 FGs versus the Redskins. Punt returner Tyler Lockett is not quite as explosive after his ankle injury, but he’s still very good. With a short week it would be tough for either the Seahawks or the Cardinals to change kickers….and we all know how poor kicking affected last year’s 6-6 OT tie in Arizona.

  10. By Scott H on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    I will NEVER forget that stat line for the Edge in that Monday Night game back in 2006. NEVER. Our ridiculous play-calling killed us in that game. Well, and another miss on a gotta-have-it FG attempt from Rackers. Scoring 20 points, then trying to run and hide from the Bears for the rest of the night was NOT going to work. But they just kept sending James right up the middle into a brick wall and he kept going nowhere.

    I really saluted Matt Leinart for his show of frustration that night.

    One of the worst losses EVER for this team.

  11. By Kevin S Mesa on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    We were fortunate that our backup QB has more to work with than SF’s. But let’s not get carried away — we were the favorites in this game because the Niners are so bad. People saying above “glad to see Stanton perform well,” etc. If 15 for 30 with an INT is performing “well,” I hate to imagine what a bad performance is. I’ll give Stanton a bonus 3 points for Dawson’s miss, and then take away the TD that was really attributable to the defense putting the ball around the 5 yard line … and with those adjustments, that means Stanton led the team to what should have been 16 points (13 actual points plus the Dawson miss) against a defense that, going into the game, was giving up 27 per game.

    I’d be shocked if we score 20 points against Seattle. We might be in the single digits. Our only chance to win is if the defense plays out of its mind, like in the 6-6 game last year.

  12. By JTDG on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply


    You forgot the worst part.

    Up 20-14, on 4th down, the cards punt directly to Devin Hester.
    Hester goes the distance, running the punt back to put the bears up 21-20 after the cards had a 20-0 lead.

    I can’t remember, but I believe the cards defense had like 5 or six turnovers and the bears offense could not move the ball. Two defensive TDs and a punt return.

    That was the end of Denny Green and with him, Matt Leinart.

  13. By Richard S on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    The first words I saw in the comment section by Kevin S from Mesa was “The slide rule is bogus” and instantly I thought, no if you can find e squared =7.4 on the slide rule, you can do pretty much anything you need to do on the slide rule. Anyway that’s the laugh for the day, since the Cardinals won. The kicking game needs to improve if the Cards want to beat Seattle.

  14. By CARDS62 on Nov 6, 2017 | Reply

    Mitchaz – yes the Cardinals do lead the NFL in first possessions because our coach always takes the ball to start the game if we win the toss and all the coaches we play against defer to the second half if they win the toss. They could save some time and just eliminate the coin toss in all of our games and just have our opponent kick to us to start the game.

    Yes our head coach says the first 5 minutes are so important, but he does not believe that for if he did he would want the ball to begin the second half.

    Mitch I disagree on special teams as Dawson missing these field goals to start the game really hurts our momentum and San Fran punted to us 8 times, 1 a 54 yarder and 1 a 52 yarder and we had little to no return on those plus other 6 punts and kickoff returns also nothing. If there is a worse return team than our Cardinals in all of the NFL I wish someone will please tell me.

    Everyone knows I am not a Stanton fan, but if you go back and watch the interception Gresham running his pattern is on the inside with the defender on the outside and Gresham runs right to the defender instead of keeping left on the inside. This made for a much harder throw for Stanton. Gresham also seemed to have caused AP fumble by grabbing him for some unknown reason.

    Stanton was not good when you factor in the job our line did and the fact we had more running plays than passing plays. Strong QB would have had lots more completions and yards.

    Seattle game is a home game for us and I just do not know what to expect. 49ers only had 1 weapon, Carlos Hyde, and he was kicked out of the game. Seattle offense is not playing well and not scoring much so our defense has a chance. Doug Baldwin is talented but I see PP severely limiting him, Other WRs are okay, TE Jimmy Graham is talented so interesting to see who we have cover him and of course R. Wilson is a talented runner. Wilson not throwing the ball great this season. If Stanton can go 20-30, we rush the ball just as well as Seattle does, and we contain Wilson running we will be competitive and hopefully get the win.

  15. By Cardinalchris on Nov 7, 2017 | Reply

    Is anyone with the last name Metcalf available for kick returns?

    Would anyone argue against open tryouts for kicker? American Idol for kickers. Let them bring their families. First round tryout winners get a golden ticket, and so on… until we find the Kelly Clarkson of kickerdom.

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