The Cardinals were bad in all three phases of the football game, mustering just 30-yards of offense in the first quarter. The Offense didn’t get much better in the second quarter, finishing up the first half with just 94-yards, the fewest yards in a half since week 13 last season.
The Panthers beat the Cardinals in just about every category. Carolina finished the game with 444 total yards, converting seven times out of 11 on third down and converting on their only fourth down attempt in the first quarter.
Panthers had a field day
Carolina jumped out to an early 14-0 lead after scoring on their first two possessions of the game. Mike Davis scored on a one-yard run caping off a 13 play, 66-yard drive and Teddy Bridgewater scored on an 18-yard scramble, sidestepping several tacklers to reach the end zone. That touchdown run would be his first rushing touchdown for Bridgewater since Dec. 20, 2015 and visually looked identical to the touchdown runs Kyler Murray has delivered for the Cardinals.
Arizona would be forced to punt on their first three drives. Their first big break of the game came early in the second quarter, with Patrick Peterson intercepting a Bridgewater pass deep in Panthers territory. Murray would capitalize on the turnover for a Cardinals touchdown, bringing the Cardinals within seven.
Bridgewater would throw two more touchdowns before the game would conclude. Bridgewater would complete 26 passes for 276 yards. Mike Davis rushed for 84 yards on the day, with his longest run of the day coming in at 21-yards. Robby Anderson had a big day, catching eight passes for 99 yards.
The Panthers' defense limited Kyler Murray to 133 yards passing, finishing the game with three touchdowns passes. DeAndre Hopkins, who came into the game averaging more than 10 catches and 118 yards receiving per game, was limited to 41 yards on seven receptions after a week in which he didn't practice due to a foot injury.
Simmons the nonfactor
Usually in the NFL, your first-round draft selection is a guy that comes in and makes some kind of impact for his team. That has not been the case for one Isaiah Simmons.
Even with Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson out with injuries, there was no room in sub packages to get Simmons onto the field. Second year safety Deionte Thompson and veteran defensive back Curtis Riley carried most of the bulk in the secondary. In the linebacker group, Simmons is blocked Jordan Hicks, De’Vondre Campbell, and Haason Reddick. Reddick has been better but was burned a couple of times in pass coverage, something Simmons performed well executing at the college level.
Moving forward the Cardinals have to get their first-round pick onto the field. The lasting image that we have of Simmons is getting burned by Raheem Mostert when the Cardinals played the San Francisco 49ers. The only way Simmons is going to learn and play at the speed of the NFL is too get out there and play. They need him the most right now and it feels like Vance Joseph is keeping him hostage on the bench.
Arizona (2-2) will stay on the road and take on the struggling New York Jets. Carolina (2-2) will visit the winless Atlanta Falcons (0-3) in a divisional showdown.