Someone decided to put on a show in Arizona on Sunday afternoon, but it was pretty one sided for an NFL affair. The Arizona Cardinals made sure to put out an amazing performance on Sunday to prove that they might just be the best team in the entire NFL.
They did that behind some fierce defense and the arm of Carson Palmer as they were able to crush their opposition by a margin of victory of 30 points. Perhaps even more impressive is that they did that in front of a crowd clad in primarily green and yellow as they were to cheer the "road" team in the Green Bay Packers.
The defense has not missed a step without Tyrann Mathieu this week as they kept stopping the Packers offense on every attempt. When trying to focus on who shined on defense, it's tough to highlight any one specific individual. Dwight Freeney led the team with 3 sacks in the game. Calais Campbell had 2.5 sacks with a total of six tackles and three other quarterback hits. Between the team they combined for a total of 9 sacks and 12 quarterback hits, which means that Rodgers got hit way more than he usually does. Justin Bethel had a key interception as he ended one of the only drives the offense started moving down the field in the first half. Aaron Rodgers fumbled three times, losing two of them, and they forced another fumble from James Starks that they recovered. In the third quarter both Cory Redding and Jerraud Powers returned fumbles for touchdowns. The defense was more than merely stifling, it was a suffocating defensive effort from the Cardinals.
381 yards of offense is not a crazy amount for a team, but it is a strong amount none the less. As a team, they combined for those 381 yards, with 260 passing and 121 rushing. The Cardinals wound up using a three headed monster at running back, as they primarily alternated between David Johnson, who rushed for a score, and Andre Ellington, who recently returned from an injury. But they also were able to use Kerwynn Williams as both teams played their backups quite a bit in the fourth quarter, and Williams wound up as their leading rusher.
John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald have the touchdown receptions, but the best wide receiver in this game was none other than Michael Floyd. Some people thought he might lose his spot in the offense after getting hurt earlier this year, but Floyd went off with 6 catches for 111 yards while being targeted 8 times. Floyd is back and he will be looking to continue his offense success.
Passing: Carson Palmer (18/27, 265 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT)
Rushing: Eddie Lacy (12 carries, 60 yards)
Receiving: Michael Floyd (6 catches, 111 yards)
The Green Bay Packers (10-5) have lost their chance at a bye and will return home next week to take on the Minnesota Vikings (9-5) to see who gets to have home field and the 3rd seed in the NFC for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals (13-2) will remain at home, where they are 6-1, to take on the Seattle Seahawks (9-6). There is a lot on the line in this game as the Cardinals will be hoping to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat of the Carolina Panthers. Also, Seattle has clinched a playoff berth, but it appears they will be sitting in the sixth playoff spot and will be trying to move up as long as Minnesota loses to the Packers and they get a win themselves. Both teams still have a lot to play for and don't be surprised if they get matched up again soon.