The Arizona Cardinals beat the Washington Redskins 31-23 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. With the win the Cards improve to 5-6-1. The loss leaves the ‘Skins at 6-5-1 as both angle for NFC Wild Card slots.
Here are five things we learned Sunday.
1. Like Old Times …For the first time 2016 reminded many of 2015 inside the Bird’s Nest. Deep balls, gutsy calls and the ‘All or Nothing’ approach which has mostly disappeared through the struggles of, to this point, a losing season. Bruce Arians went for a fourth-and-one from his own 35. He threw deep late when “conventional wisdom” would be to run your stud David Johnson and work clock. “We finally found a big play at the end that we needed desperately,” Arians explained. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but if you don’t try, you don’t ever win.”
2. The Century Club…Johnson made it an even dozen. His third quarter catch-and-run from Carson Palmer ensured his 12th-consecutive game this season with at least 100 total yards from scrimmage. He could tie former Cardinal Edgerrin James’ NFL record of 13-straight, 100+ total yard games set back in 2005 next week in Miami against the Dolphins. Arguably the league’s most dynamic back could finish the season with 1,000 yards rushing (he’s already there) and receiving. Only two other players have done it in league history. Sunday DJ had 175 yards and two touchdowns against Washington. “I think he’s the best player in the NFL,” Palmer said afterwards.
3. The Definition of Greatness…As time passes you run out of adjectives to describe Larry Fitzgerald. Sunday he moved up to 10th all-time on the NFL’s receiving yards list following his 10-catch, 78- yard performance and in the process passed one his childhood idols Cris Carter. Fitz is on pace for his fourth-career 100+ catch-season and continues to be the lone bright spot on one of the most inconsistent and disappointing units in football. He also became the youngest player in league history to reach 1,100 catches.
4. Picture Perfect Palmer…His statistics Sunday mirrored those against Tampa Bay in Week 2 but Sunday’s 300-yard, three-touchdown masterpiece will be remembered more if this team runs the table and does sneak into the playoffs. “This was against a high quality opponent and he lit it up pretty good,” Arians said after the game. When Arizona needed a big play, CP3 rose to the occasion moving the chains and eventually delivering the dagger on a 42-yard scoring strike to J.J. Nelson with under two minutes to play to put the Cards ahead to stay. Most importantly he didn’t throw an interception and frequently worked through his progressions even in the face of a heavy rush.
5. Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper…Game film doesn’t lie so it wasn’t to anyone’s surprise Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden decided to pick on Cards’ cornerback Marcus Cooper with Washington’s array of skill players (particularly Pierre Garcon) rather than deal with Patrick Peterson on the other side. Fellow corner Tyvon Branch looked rusty early coming off the injured reserve missing an easy sack and giving up a 59-yard completion to DeSean Jackson which set up the Skins’ first touchdown. He did play much better as the game progressed.