The offense will get much of the credit for the Cardinals' 43-13 victory over the Broncos last Sunday, but the defense was really the key.
The defensive line pressured Denver quarterback Kyle Orton, and the secondary picked off three of his passes. It was the second consecutive solid outing for a unit that has been disappointing for much of the season.
The Cardinals knew their offense was going to struggle for a while this season after Kurt Warner retired. The depth of the problem was a surprise, but the hope was the defense could carry the team until the offense found its footing.
Instead, several defensive players had down years. End Calais Campbell was a disappointment. Strong safety Adrian Wilson was a liability in coverage at times. End Darnell Dockett struggled through a sore shoulder. Outside linebacker Joey Porter appeared to have lost most of his pass-rush skills.
Coordinator Bill Davis' job is in jeopardy because of the unit's performance, but a surge at the end of the season might help his chances of staying.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt doesn't address such matters, but he was encouraged by Sunday's performance.
"This is what we envisioned our defense looking like this year," Whisenhunt said. "It was nice to see them play at the level they played (Sunday)."