Kurt Warner; Robert Mathis (Harry How/Getty)
The Arizona Cardinals regressed in Sunday night’s 31-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Colts over-powered the Cardinals on both sides of the ball and put on quite a show in their first trip to the desert in nearly 20 years. The Colts improve to 3-0, while the Cardinals fall to 1-2.
The Indianapolis Colts stole the show on Sunday night, as they handed the Cardinals a 31-10 loss at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals have lost both two home games this season. The Cardinals head into bye week with plenty to talk about before they host the Houston Texans in Week 5.
The Cardinals weren’t able to contain the firing power of Peyton Manning who had the opportunity to play his game and reach out to several receivers. Reggie Wayne led the Colts receivers with 126 yards, rookie running back Donald Brown trailed him with 72 yards in the air and 40 yards on the ground, Pierre Garcon compiled 64 yards and Dallas Clark registered 62.
The Colts picked Brown over RB Beanie Wells in this year's draft. Wells saw two carries for a total of negative 2 yards. Sunday’s night performance made the pick seem logical. But Tim Hightower didn’t fair much better. It’s his turn to carry around the football all week, as he fumbled twice. Hightower saw nine carries for 22 yards.
Wells featured a dismal two fumble performance in Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, while Kurt Warner was near perfect. Warner was anything but in Week 3. Warner threw two picks and was sacked twice, losing 21 yards on the final sack. Warner completed 30 out of 52 passes for 332 yards and just one touchdown pass. Manning threw for 47 yards more and three more touchdowns.
Anquan Boldin was the only Cardinal, besides Neil Rackers, to put points on the board. Boldin made a routine touchdown reception in the third quarter to give the Cardinals their only touchdown of the game.
The Cardinals put Matt Leinart in the game at a 31-10 disadvantage. He completed both of his passes for 7 yards.
The Colts out-played the Cardinals on both sides of the ball in the first half as well. The Cardinals headed into the locker room with a 21-3 deficit. Rackers avoided the goose egg with a 38-yard field goal.
Tim Hightower; Melvin Bullitt
In the first half, Manning had already thrown for 220 yards, good for three touchdowns. On the Cardinals front, Warner threw for 158 yards, got picked off and sacked. The Colts formidable pass defense kept Warner and his crew in check. The Colts main issue is their run defense but that was irrelevant as the Cardinals struggled to get their ground game going. And the Colts held the Cardinals to just 15 yards in the first half.
The Colts demonstrated their high-power offense with beautiful touchdowns by a number of players. Reggie Wayne was Larry Fitzgerald-like with a one-handed touchdown catch for the 6-3 lead and extra point was good, 7-3. Clark followed suit to grab a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Colts a 13-3 advantage. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got a piece of the extra point attempt. But the ball hit the camera, so the extra point counted, 14-3. Rodgers-Cromartie heard his name called again when he was burned for a 53-yard touchdown from Garcon. Joseph Addai capped off the touchdowns with a 3-yard pass from Manning, and Adam Vinatieri gave the Colts three more points to round out the 31-10 victory.
To add insult to injury in the first half, a pass attended for Fitzgerald in the end zone was tipped and eventually picked off. The play marked the Cardinals second turnover inside the 5-yard line.
A bright spot in the first half of Sunday night was on the defensive side of the ball. Alan Branch, who was in for Darnell Dockett who left the field with injury but was back in shortly after, deflected an attempt by Manning that ended up in Antrel Rolle’s hands. The pick marked Rolle’s first since November of 2008. Last year, he nabbed just one attempt. Back in his cornerback days he nabbed five in 2007.