Cardinals Sack Tennessee, Blowout Titans to Open 2021 Season

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

The Cardinals went to Tennessee and blasted the Titans 38-13 to open the 2021 season. It’s the largest margin of victory in a season opener since coming relocating to Arizona from St. Louis. Here are some observations


1)Defense was the story of the day 

Vance Josephs’s defense never allowed Titans running back Derrick Henry to get on track. One of the top players at his position in the league, Henry finished the day with a pedestrian 58 yards. 

Isaiah Simmons came up with an interception on a tip drill. 

J.J. Watt made contributions all afternoon, even if his name wasn’t called for making the tackle. 


2)Murray the magician 

Durability, arm strength, decision-making. There was a lot of time in the offseason to question Murray. But on Sunday, the Cardinals would close in on over 400 yards of total offense. Murray only ran the ball six times, which was much better than a season ago. Murray’s accuracy through the air produced two touchdowns each for Deandre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. The Cardinals should have Chase Edmonds and James Connor carry the ball a bulk of the game, rather than have Murray put his body in harm’s way. 


3)Mr. Keim, Chandler Jones agent, is holding on line one

Jones, who wasn’t given a contract extension in the offseason, put up three sacks in the opening quarter, which is a franchise record. He would blow through the Titan’s offensive line to the tune of five sacks today. Jones agent, Ethan Locke, should be on General Manager Steve Keim’s speed dial after finishing the day with five sacks. 


4) Early returns of 2021 Draft 

The top two picks in the Cardinals’ April draft class were produced on Sunday. First-round pick linebacker Zaven Collins and wide receiver Rondale Moore made plays. 


5) Who needs preseason? 

The choice between putting top players on a team in harm’s way in meaningless preseason games versus having a sloppy product was in full display in the opening quarter. The Cardinals had their starting lineup on the field for just nine plays in August. The mistakes in Sunday’s opener were fast and furious in the first half for the Cardinals (7 penalties) before settling down. 

Arizona will host Minnesota next Sunday in the home opener.