Fincher’s Food For Thought: Cardinals Beat Giants
The Arizona Cardinals are now 2-0 after a 25-14 win over the New York Giants. The Cardinals went on the road and got a convincing win even without their starting quarterback.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was ruled out of Sunday’s game due to a shoulder injury only a couple of hours before kickoff. That forced backup QB Drew Stanton to appear in his first game since 2010. Stanton did exactly what a backup QB should do, come into the game when your starter can’t play and protect the football.
Stanton, who hadn’t thrown a pass in a game in four years, threw for only 167 yards but the key was that he didn’t throw an interception. He was able to make just enough throws to lead the Cardinals on some good drives down the field. If Carson Palmer is somehow not able to play next week, Stanton should be able to get the job done.
One thing that Stanton was able to do was get the ball in the hands of Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald led the team with six catches for 51 yards. While those aren’t the greatest numbers, it was much better than Week 1 when Fitzgerald had only one catch for 22 yards. Fitzgerald also led the team in targets, which was the biggest concern after the game against San Diego where he wasn’t targeted in the first half and only targeted a few times in the second half.
The running game also showed up this week. Andre Ellington rushed for 91 yards and looked good while doing it. Ellington seems to be fighting through whatever injuries he has. He seems to still have good burst out of the backfield. Also, Jonathan Dwyer was able to make his way into the end zone on a goal line play.
While at times, the return game still looked shaky, Ted Ginn Jr. was able to return a punt for a touchdown. Ginn looked great on that run and showed how much speed he really has. Look for him to continue to make those kind of big plays this year.
Last, but certainly not least, you cannot overlook how well the defense has played these first two games. The Cardinals defense was able to pick off two passes from Eli Manning, have two fumble recoveries, and only allowed 14 points. Even without Darnell Dockett, this defense is still tough up front and the secondary is full of talented defensive backs.
The Cardinals will be facing their NFC West rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, next Sunday, which will definitely be a challenge. A positive is that the game is at University of Phoenix Stadium and the Cardinals are a much better team at home. One concern is if Palmer is unable to play, how will Stanton perform against a very talented 49ers defense? The hope is that Palmer will be able to play Sunday but is status is still unknown. The Cardinals also need to be able to cover 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. In the past, covering tight ends has been an issue and Vernon Davis is Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target. If the Cardinals want to be successful in Week 3, we need to hope that Carson Palmer can play, and limit Vernon Davis’ productivity.
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