Jerheme Urban got some reps in on Sunday
The Cardinals are sitting one game above .500 with a trio of back-to-back NFC West matchups right around the corner. Arizona will need to start and finish strong to keep their reign of the division. But before the Cardinals get there, they’ll have to review the game tape of their disappointing loss to the Carolina Panthers. AZRedReport.com looks at what worked and what didn’t in week eight.
--The Cardinals headed into halftime with a 10-3 lead. The first on-the-road halftime head start of the season.
--What got the Cardinals there was zero turnovers, getting the Panthers’ offense off the field quickly and knocking the ball from Carolina’s claws when the home team did have possession. Arizona’s defense was near impeccable and its air game couldn’t be stopped in the first half.
--With Ben Patrick and Leonard Pope both sitting out due to injury, 10-year veteran Jerame Tuman stepped up. He had an 18-yard pickup early in the game and finished the contest with 41 yards, nearly five times the amount of yards he had all season with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007.
--Arizona found a way to get Anquan Boldin involved in the game quickly. If there was any question of whether he would rebound from his injury, he gave the answer with a two-touchdown return. His second touchdown of the game looked as if he was taking candy from a baby.
--Larry Fitzgerald proved to be Kurt Warner’s favorite target on Sunday. He brings the ball in during any situation. Fitzgerald makes the ball his. He finished the game with a team-high 115 yards.
--The Cardinals can count their blessings for their scouts’ ability to find the lesser known talent. Tim Hightower has proved time and time again that he has what it takes to be a back in the NFL. He earned his sixth rushing touchdown on what seemed to be an impossible task. Hightower bounced off the wall of blockers, located the hole and shot inside the end zone. The point after, made it a 17-3 ball game in the Cardinals favor.
Hightower appeared a bit stifled early on. He moved past the frustration and made things happen on Sunday. Even more important, while being stuffed, he took care of the football.
--The Cardinals broke the Panthers streak of not allowing opponent’s to score on an opening possession.
--Earlier on in the season, Arizona promised to use Steve Breaston, Early Doucet and Jerheme Urban in different situations. Breaston filled in for Boldin and Urban has made good in critical situations. But he’s an unlikely target in the opponent’s minds. On Sunday, he saw four passes and turned them into 51 yards. Urban has also made good on his pledge to keep pushing Breaston for the No. 3 role.
--The offensive line gave Kurt Warner all day to make the passes he needed.
--Levi Brown demonstrated stellar quick thinking and awareness. When Warner was sacked, Brown was there to recover the football in the air and prevent the turnover.
--Tackling was a major issue for the Cardinals against the Panthers. Plenty of times, Arizona could have wrapped up a player. The Panthers weren’t extraordinary in their ability not to go down on contact; the Cardinals just couldn’t pull them down.
--An Edgerrin James fumble, gave the Panthers possession on what they turned into a game changing touchdown. Roderick Hood was left alone to take care of Steve Smith who beat Hood for the touchdown that knotted the score 17-17. The score was a complete breakdown, Hood was set up to fail in that situation.
--After the tying score, things went from bad to worse. An easy play by Warner gave Boldin the ball in the end zone, but then a blotched point after let an easy point slip away. The Cardinals had let three go earlier in the game when a failed fake punt ended poorly.
--The taste in the Cardinals mouth only got more sour when Smith was at it again. He received a 65-yard pass under traffic. Rood and Antrel Rolle were both there to take him down, but watched him dance in and out of bounds instead.
-- Warner likes the spread offense, but lineup prevented the Cardinals from covering DE Julius Peppers who could have annihilated Warner if he didn’t get the pass off to Urban in time.
The Cardinals continue their short two game road trip to the St. Louis Rams turf. The Rams, after a loss, to the New England Patriots share second place with the Seattle Seahawks.
Arizona will then host the 49ers at home on Monday night football. Then the Cardinals travel to the Seattle Seahawks who are injury ridden, but have always been a thorn in their thigh. The Cardinals have still just won one road game and can’t afford to drop contests in St. Louis and/or Seattle.