Foxboro, Mass- Being the stubborn know-it-all I am, I hate admitting to others that I was wrong. That being said, I’m glad the Cardinals made me look like an idiot today. The Cardinals were supposed to be just another cupcake win on New England’s easy schedule, the classic example of a less talented team traveling across the country to get walloped by Bill Belichick’s well-oiled machine. Kevin Kolb couldn’t beat out John Skelton in practice, how’s he supposed to beat Tom Brady in a game? That’s what 95% of football fans thought, including the Benedict Arnold writing this article. All clichés aside, no one knows what will happen after kickoff, and the Cardinals shocked all of us.
It’s time to start calling this defense elite, they outplayed the Patriot’s highly touted offense in every aspect of the game today. I realize we’re only into the 2nd week of the season, but they looked dominant against a team that is widely regarded as one of the bosshogs in the NFL. Patrick Peterson made plays on both defense AND offense (loved seeing him in the wildcat), linebackers like Daryl Washington and Sam Acho were flying around the field refusing to let Tom Brady get his offense in a flow, and William Gay was hitting hard enough to make people forget he’s a cornerback. It’s known how much Brady hates a good pass rush and he had to make a few business decisions tonight, opting to just sit his butt on the ground for the sack instead of taking the hit. The Cardinals sacked Brady 4 times, picked him off once, and limited the Patriots to just 1 touchdown the whole game.
Kevin Kolb continued his middle finger tour dedicated to all of us who called him a scrub earlier this month, throwing and rushing for a TD and significantly limiting his errors. His stats might look game manager-like (14/27 140 yds 1 TD, 1 rush TD 1 fumble), but he made enough plays to win the game, or pull his end of the bargain at least. Belichick tailor made his defense to stop Larry Fitzgerald, constantly bringing a safety up to double cover him. Fitz finished with only 1 catch for 4 yards, but the rest of the offense wouldn’t have been able to make the plays it did without all of the attention Fitzgerald commanded, just another reason to be thankful we have him on our side. The defense deserves most of the credit for this one, but Kolb and the offense definitely accounted for their fair share. (Not counting Ryan Williams’ charity giveaway with a minute left.)
I forgot to thank New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski by the way, don’t be surprised if Williams sends you a a keg of Sam Adams for missing the game-winning kick after he coughed it up. Everything goes right for Tom Brady when he’s not playing the Giants, and finally something didn’t! Sure he went home to a supermodel wife after this, but the Cardinals went home 2-0 and the fans couldn’t be happier.
I still don’t know why Ken Wisenhunt called the halfback toss play that led to Williams’s near-fatal fumble, but other than that Wisenhunt and his players executed their game plan close to perfection. They moved the ball slow but steadily enough to keep Brady from being on the field and stopped him from completing the big gains when he was. Most teams apply that formula when trying to beat the Patriots, but few are successful with it and the Cardinals were. Football is a physical game; the Cardinals epitomized that word with their play. They were simply too physical for the Patriots. Other than the team possibly being too satisfied with this early season win, nothing but good will come of this.
It’s great seeing Kolb prove his worth so far this season, and if he gets one or two more chances he might make Wisenhunt rethink his position as John Skelton’s backup. Patrick Peterson continues to be electric and the more I see these linebackers the more I feel like one of the first investors in Microsoft. Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton looks like he’s building something special on that side of the ball, and in a division with the 49ers & Seahawks, Arizona might start making this the hardest hitting division in the NFC. Hopefully the Cards can continue their strong play when they take on the Eagles next Sunday at home. (1:05 Az time, 4:05 ET)
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic