Sep 8, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) runs the ball in the first half against the San Diego Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Week one of the regular season is finally in the books and, most importantly, the Arizona Cardinals’ first win of the season is also in the books. While the score may not show too much offense (17-18), there were plenty of big plays on both sides of the ball.
The Cardinals were able to be effective on both sides of the ball and, as a result, several players could easily be nominated as our Birdgang MVP of the week. Unfortunately, we can only choose one so let’s get to it.
The Birdgang MVP for week 1 of the regular season has to go to the man who seemed to make broken plays turn into positive gains for the Cardinals’ offense throughout the entire night. Quarterback, Carson Palmer.
Palmer had impressive overall stats ending the game with 24-37, 304 passing yards, and 2 passing touchdowns but this is not the sole reason why Palmer deserves Birdgang MVP for this week. Palmer has always had a reputation of being a pure pocket passer with zero mobility while also forcing passes a little too much which would equate to interceptions. On Monday night football, under the national spotlight, Palmer would put those two notions aside.
While Palmer is getting up there in age, 34, he was still able to use his feet to make some very impressive plays. For one, Palmer ran for 30 yards just Monday night. To put that into perspective, Palmer only had a total of 3 yards rushing for the entire 2013 season.
Besides for Palmer’s rushing numbers, he was able to avoid several sacks by the Chargers’ defense where he would, somehow, squirm out of negative plays and turn them into positive plays. On multiple occasions, Palmers would avoid the pressure, step up in the pocket, and throw the ball downfield which would turn into a pass interference penalty on the Chargers.
Palmer was also very accurate, but also, very careful on where to throw the ball throughout the night. As a result, Palmer would not throw a single interception which would be critical in such a tight game.
Most importantly, Palmer was able to drive the Cards down the field in a two-minute offense and throw a go-ahead passing touchdown to take the lead which would be the winning score.
A couple of players do deserve honorable mentions for being terrific in their own way on Monday night. Wide receiver, Michael Floyd, was Palmer’s go-to man as Floyd would rack up 5 receptions for 119 receiving yards with an incredible 23.8 average per reception.
Linebacker, Larry Foote, also deserves recognition as he would have a huge part in stopping the running game all night. Foote was able to close the gap on multiple occasions leaving no hole for the running back to run through. For the night, Foote would lead the Cards in tackles with 8.
It was a great way to start out the 2014 NFL regular season and, most importantly, for Arizona Cardinal fans. Hopefully, we can continue the same feeling into next week.
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