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The Setup
4th preseason game. Cards looked sluggish in their previous game vs. Chicago. Both lines lacked oomph. Arizona struggled vs. the Bear running game. Despite their problems, the Big Red used big plays to pull within one point of a tie; only to lose the contest on a makeable 2-point conversion to close our the game.

Drew Stanton had an especially dismal one-quarrter's worth of work. . Contributing to the loss were an injury shredded LB's group and "risk-it/no bisquit" ST play calling which (1) turned a 62-yard FG attempt at the end of the first half into a 107-yd Bear TD return and (2) failure to convert the 2-points at game's end.

Key roster battles to keep an eye on vs. the Falcons:

QB - We'll probably keep 3, with Gabbert battling Stanton for #2)

RB - The Johnson boys are the 2 frontrunners, with Ellington battling K Williams for #3 backup and Penny a possible keeper because he adds needed-physicality).

WR - Fitz, Jar Brown, Nelson and Jo Brown (assuming his injuries are minor) figure to occupy the first 4 spots with a dog-fight for one or two remaining WR spots among Ross, Hogan, Agudosi, C Williams, Dobson and Golden. Williams is 3rd round draft pick. Golden has looked best of the bunch so far, but anything can happen.

TE - Niklas and Gresha look like shoe-ins with Momah gaining an edge for #3.

OL - Front runners for 2 backup spots figure to be Wetzel and Toner, with Bergstrom, John and D Johnson longshots to fill a remaining one or two final backup spots).

DL - Figures to be a six-man rotation consisting of Mauro, Peters, Rucker, Pierre, Gunter and Nkemdiche with X Williams and Anau longshots still in contention.

LB - C Jones and Golden return to man the edges. Dansby and (about to be returning) Bucannon figure to start inside. Battling for two OLB backup spots figure to be Capi, K Martin and Bazzie. Reddick, Bynes and S Wright III are likely ILB backup contenders.

DB - Opposite Peterson, the #2 CB spot appears to be shaking out with Bethel, B Williams and T Williams. Four safeties figure to be T Branch, Bethea, Mathieu and Baker. If there is still any remaining backup spot, look to Carter, Shelton, Ford or H Miller to fill it.

The Lede
"Cards Take Care of Business in Atlanta: 24 - 14"


The Bottom Line:
Although the offense started off slowly, the defense kept the Cards in the contest and allowed the Big Red to quietly pile up a 17 - 3 halftime lead. Smoke Brown returned to the scene in dramatic fashion with 2 nifty TD catches (one an acrobatic highlight-reel special.

Answering some of the questions we had going into last night's contest:

All three QB's deserve to be on the final roster...Chris Johnson (sluggish start/2 fumbles), Ellingtonn or Penny did much to win a final roster spot. But keep an eye on backup RB James Summers....Offensive line play was far from being consistently dominant...Other than Smoke's welcomed return and possibly Golden's continued solid production,, the WR situation remains pretty much unresolved.

Golden and C Jones are close to mid-season form. K-Mart is making a serious run as backup edge guy. You can see why Dansby is so valuable inside. But the inside backer positions aren't quite lights-out yet. Bethel, B Williams and T Williams are changing #2 CB from a shaky position to money-in-the bank. With Dawson kicking FG's, my finger nails remain safe.

With a final "meaningless" preseason game left to play this summer, the tendency would be to take a deep breath and assume we look stable, solved all our problems and can assume we're shoe-ins to make the playoffs. Aside from the obvious reasons, the Cards will still have to face pitfalls - some known/some yet-to-be-known. (For example: I guarantee you that at least one position will be shredded by bizarre injuries. But aside from that - I think BA's biggest challenge will be to maintain conistently high levels of intensity, focus and effort. Do that and I think "we gotta shot" at the big ring.

Game Log
Source: NFL.com Website

1st Quarter
  • Cards at 15:00

    Momah returned KO to Ari 19...Palmer picked up one 1st down on short passes to Ja Brown and D Johnson Chris Johnson fumbled on his first carry of the day (recovered by Boehm). Boehm flagged for false start. Wile's punt was muffed but recovered by Atlanta. Ball downed (net Atlanta penalty) at Atlanta 19l

    Falcons at 12:50

    On first play of possession Ryan's pass for Tollolo was batted by Dansby and intercepted by Mathieu (no return yardage).

    Cards at at 12:41

    Palmer moved the ball to the Falcon 13 only to have Chris Johnson fumble (again!). Atlanta recovered at its 5.

    Falcons at 11:03

    Atlanta ball at their own 5. Ryan moved his team to near midfieldwith the combination of short passes and runs by T Coleman. Key plays: Runs by T Coleman for +14 and +10 yds. But drive stalled and Bosher punted from the Cardinal 48. Fair catch at Card 10.

    Cards at 6:20

    Palmer pecked his way to the Atlanta 31 on 11 plays before the quarter ended. Key plays: Pass to Nelson for +13. C Johnson around RE and RT for a a total of +19 yards. Palmer pass to Golden for +13.

    • First Quarter Score: Falcons 0 - Cards 0.
2nd Quarter
  • Cards (continued)

    On the first play of the quarter, Palmer hit Smoke Brown deep-right for a +28 yd TD. Cards 7 - Falcons 0.

    Falcons at 14:54

    TB on KO. Atlanta ball on its own 25. Ryan managed to pick up one 1st down on a 10-yd pss to Sanu and "went for it" on 4th & 3 at their own 48. But Ryan's pass for Ward was incomplete (Reddick and Golden defending).

    Cards at 12:12

    Cards ball at Falcon 49. A 5-play possession where Stanton completed a 15-yarder to Gresham and Stanton (surviving a fumble challenge) was sacked for minus-6.On 4th & 17 at the Atlanta 36, Dawson was good from 54. Cards 10 - Falcons 0.

    Falcons at 9:12

    TB on the KO. On the first play from scrimmage on his own 25, Ryan was sacked by Golden for minus-9 yards. Fumble was recovered by C Jones at the Atlanta 21.

    Cards at 9:00

    On the first play from scrimmage, Stantonhit Smoke Brown who made an acrobatic TD catch near the left corner of the end zone. Cards 17 - Falcons 0.

    Falcons at 8:57

    Atlanta ball on their own 25. An offensive pass interference call helped Atlanta go 3 & out. J Ross returned Bosher's punt 6 yds.

    Cards at 6:29

    Card ball on their own 33. 2 plays after Stanton hit Dobson for +13 and a 1st down, Penny got nailed by McKinley 6-yds deep on a sweep and fumbled. Atlanta recovered.

    Falcons at 8:57

    Atlanta ball on the Card 27. Schaub put together a 9 play drive capped by a 20-yd Bryant FG. (Bynes' interference penalty on a 3rd & 4 incompletion helped sustain the drive). Cards 17 - Falcons 3.

    Cards at 0:17

    Gabbert took a knee after the KO was returned to the Card 23.

    Halftme Score: Cards 17 - Falcons 3

3rd Quarter
  • Atlanta at 15:00
  • KO returned to the Atl 20. A 15-yard drive enegineered by M Simms was stopped at the Cardinal 10 (by a 5-yard sack by Capi) & capped by a 28-yd FG. Cards 17 - Falcons 6
  • Cardinals at 7:21
  • KO returned to the Card 29. Cards went 3 & out. Punt downed at the Atlanta 11.
  • Falcons at 6:14
  • Atlanta held to 3 & out. Punt (net holding penalty on Capi) downed at Card 28.
  • Cardinals at 5:05, Atlanta at 3:30
  • KO returned to the Card 28. Cards and Falcons exchanged 3 & outs. Atlanta punt downed at the Card 33.
  • Cardinals at 2:30
  • Card ball at their own 33. On the third play from scrimmage, C Williams caught a 9-yd pass only to fumble after a huge hit by Goodwin. Atlanta recovered at the Card 45.
  • Falcons at 1:06
  • Atlanta ball at their own 45. Ward picked up a few yards on two carries to end the quarter. h
    • Third Quarrter Score: Cards 17 - Atlanta 6.

.

4th Quarter
  • Falcons (continued)
  • After Sims was sacked by Capi and X Williams for minus-4 yds, Atlanta's punt was fair caught at the Card 9.

Cardinals at 14:13

  • Card ball at their own 9. On the first play of the series, Gabbert hit Agudosi for 26-yds. Summers saw a lot of action on short running plays. Gabber mixed things up; hitting Momah for +16; scrambling for +10 and handing the rock to Summers on several short running plays. The 12-play drive ended with a 5-yard Summers TD run around left end. Cards 24 - Atlanta 6.

Falcons at 6:58

TB on KO. Atlanta couldn't move past its own 35 and punted. Punt was returned to the Card 14.

Cardinals at 4:31

Cards ball at their own 14. 3 & out. Punt returned to the Atlanta 43.

Atlanta at 3:35

On the first play from scrimmage, Magee took a deep toss right, juked the Cardinal defender out of his jock deep in the backfield and motored for a 57-yd TD. (I didn't get the number of the Card defender who whiffed, but "see ya on the street, Bro). Arizona 24 - Atlanta 14.

Cardinals at 3:23

Heavy doses of Summers and Penny until T Knight came in and took 3 knees. (Nice 11-yd run by Penn

Final Score: Arizona 24 - Atlanta 14.

Notable Game Stats.

  • Palmer was 8 for 13 (86 yards, 1 TD and 0 picks). Stanton was 4 for 6 (53 yards, 1 TD and 0 picks). Gabbert was 6 for 9 (84 yds, 0 TD's, 0 picks).

  • Summers gained 40 yds on 10 carries, C Johnson (after a horrible start) wound up with 31 yds on 6 carries.
  • Golden led all receivers with 3 grabs. The rest of the catches were spread around.

  • Cardinal Run/Pass Ratio: . (Runs: 31/Pass: 30).

  • Dawson was 1 for 1 in FG's.

    Net punting average: 45.0. Atl punter netted 44.5)

  • Capi 7, Gunter (5) and K-Mart (4) led Card tacklers.

    Capi had 1.5 Card sacks. Golden and Bazzi had one each. X Williams had 0.5.

    Card QB's were sacked twice.

    The Badger had the only Card pick.

    Third Down Efficiency. Cards were 5 for 12 (41%) Atlanta was 5 for 14 (35%) in 3rd down efficiency.

    Red Zone Efficiency: Cards 1 for 2 (50%). Atli 0 for 2 (0%)

    Penalties: Cards were penalized 6 times/Atl 4

    Time of Possession: Cards 29:58 - Atl.33:01

  • Card defense gave up an average of 2.8 yds per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 2.7)

Bright Spots

  • The defense held the legendary Atl offense to no TD's in first 3 quarters

  • The offense didn't do anything dumb and generally kept Atlanta's big play defense from doing very much damage.

    Our three QB's did a better than average job of managing/winning te game.

  • John Brown looked like the "Old Smoke."

  • Big play defensive production from the edge-guys and #32.

    The Badger looking like the Badger of old.

    All three top #2 corners had a solid outing

    Summers looked better than KW, CJ, Penny or AE. (good size/quicker 1st step). Could be a surprise keeper.

The Dark Side

  • I don't know what to make of it, but it seemed as if the ball changed hands more because of turnovers than via punts.

    Ball insecurity - notably by C Johnson, Penny and C Williams

  • Boehm (I recall at least one penalty and missed running assignment)

    It took several carries for C Johnson ot regain some of his mojo

Last Word:
Solid outting vs. a solid explosive team known for making its opponents pay. If we can maintain our consistency, we will be a team to be reckoned with.

 
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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012