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Cardinals were 2 & 2 coming off a loss to the Panthers. Jets were winless, banged up and forced to replace starting QB Sam Darnold with former Raven Pro Bowler, Joe Flacco. It could be said that, thus far, the Cardinals have had trouble defining who they are as a football team.
The Jets - as with most winless football teams - their entire coaching and management people have been under steady attack throughout the season.
Common thread among most Cardinal fans is whether their team would "play down" to the level of their competition (&, even worse, lose a very winnable game). Meanwhile, Jet fans have been left to "walk the earth" zombie-syle to deal with Covid-19 and not-winningl.
"Cards Gain "W" /Lose C. Jones."
The Bottom Line:
The Cardinals trotted onto the MetLife field in East Rutherford to face what many considered the worst team in football. (At the back of each Cardinal fan's mind was whether or not their team would turn the contest into a "trap game" embarrass themselves.
Not to worry. The Cards performed up to their talent- level and the winless Jets were as equally predictable. Cards scored the opening TD and never looked back. They hung onto a 7 - 0 first quarter lmargin, expanded it to 17 - 3 at halftime, 24 - 10 (after three quarters) and the (final 30 - 10 margin. You didn'r have to be an open-heart surgeon to diagnose how it happened - the Jets - due to the combination of lack of talent, injuries, attrition etc. simply lacked the juice needed to compete on equal footing with the Big Red. The win was "bitter sweet" (Cards lost top NFL pass rusher, Chandler Jones for the rest of the season season due to bicept injury)
Cards did what they needed to do to win - against a marginal opponent on the road. With the exception of a brief period whn they closed their margin to one TD in the third quarter, the Cards had little to get nervous about:
7:33 - Cards - TD - Edmonds 29 yd run off RG for 29 yds (Gonzalez kick) - 7:33 - Cards 7 - Jets 0
7:01 - Jets - FG - Ficken 26 Yds - Cards 7 - Jets 3
2:41 - Arizona - Murray 2 yd run ORT (Gonzalez Kick) - Cards 14 - Jets 3
0:08 - Arizona - Gonzalez - 47 Yd FG -Cards 17 - Jets 3
5:51 - Jets - Crowder- 11 yd pass fr Flacco (Ficken kick) - Cards 17 - Jets 10
0:15 - Arizona - Drake (1 yd run over LG) - (Gonzalez Kick) - Cards 24 - Jets 10
8:35 - Arizona - Hopkins - 37 Yd Pass (deep left) from Murray (2 pointer failed) - Cards 30 - Jets 10
Final Score - Cards 30 - Jets 10
Notable Game Stats.
- First Downs Cards 28 - Jets 21
- Passing: Murray 27 for 37, 380 Yds 1 TD, 1 Int
................Flacco 18 for 33, 195 Yds 1TD , 0 Int
Sacked By: Cards 3 - Jets 1
Rushing: Cards - Drake 18 for 60, 1 TD...Murray 9 for 31, 1 TD, Edmonds 3 for 36, 1 TD
.................Jets - Bell 13 for 60 ..Gore 9 for 30... Flacco 4 for 20
Receiving: Cards - Hopkins - 6 for 7 ...Kirk 5 for 7...Edmond 5 for 6...Fitz 4 for 7
Crowder 8 for 10...J Smith 3 for 11..
Tackles - Cards - Baker 10...Campbell9...Hicks 9
................Jets - Desir 11 ...Hewitt 10....Williamson 8
Interceptions By - Cards - 0... Jets 0
Fumbles Lost - Cards 0 - Jets 0
Penalties - Cards 10 for 59 - Jets 6 for 30
Time of Possession: Cards 32:15- Panthers 27:45
The "Bright Side"
Defense held Flacco and Jet offense to 10 points
Defense stonewalled Jet short-yardage offense in two crucial situations
Presence of Bubba Baker made a huge difference
Fitz more involved in passing game
- Edmonds a capable RB backup who is a smaller, quicker compliment to Drake
- Defense did what it was counted on to do (i.e. stop the run, short-yardage etc).Our DBs got tightened up some loose ends, but it's unclear whether it was due to better play by our secondary or poor execution by their WRs.
- What makes Hopkins so incredible is that he's so good (and reliable) at so many different aspects of playing WR. As such, he provides Murray with a "security blanket" that most QBs simply don't have.
- The team, as a whole seemed more energetic and "into the game." (And btw, can we finally throw away those "East Coast Time Zone" excuses.
The Dark Side
- Interception on batted pass a chronic weakness?
- Drake doesn't finish with much power after contact
- Pass blocking by OL equally non-existant.
Defense made scrambling Flacco look like Red Grange.
While Isabella catches more than he drops, he;s still not 100% "money."
we were supposed to win this game...and we did. Still, a win's a win and we needed this to regain our pre- 2 & 2 momentum. Next up are the Cowboys on Mon. night. Dak Prescott is done for the season, so we face the same challenges we faced playing the Jets (& before that, Garoppolo with the Niners).
That said, this isn't our first rodeo, and one gamedoes not a Super Bowl champion make. Cards still haven't yet proved that they're consistent and reliable. That will be a key challenge for the coaching staff to get their arms around.
This is the point in the regular season where the team is supposed to throw away its press cllippings, keep its head down, keep grinding and focusing on what they have to do to improve their game, fix their weaknesses and become a better football team.