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Both teams were coming off opening week wins. Washington on the crest of an inspirational locker room speech by its young QB that flipped the game momentum from a 17 - 0 deficit just before halftime to shut out Philly in the 2H and win going away 27 -17.
(At halftime - as his team entered the locker room trailing 17-7 - Washington head coach, Ron Rivera was not there to give the team a halftime speech. Rivera, who was diagnosed with cancer last month, was receiving an IV before coaching the final two quarters against the Eagles. It was up to their young QB Haskins to assume the leadership mantle, and the kid apparently did so with flying colors - with an inso=irational halftime speech that helped flip the game).
Meanwhile,in SF, the Cards started slowly vs. the Niners - trailing 10 - 0 for most of the 1Q - but hung around long enough to catch up early in the 4th quarter to pull off a 24 - 20 win.
Cards make it look easy, early in 25 - 15 win over Washington.
The Bottom Line:
From a Washington standpoint, it was Deja Vu all over again, with the Cards starting fast to build a 20 - 0 halftime lead. Could we hold onto it? Or would Washington pull a re-peat of last week and erase that margin in the blink of an eye The Cardinal on-air anncrs were driving us crazy with the kudos (i.e. "boy do we look good"..." best Cardinal offense in years"). Then Wash kicked a 24 yd FG early in the 3Q, and Wolf & Co. calmed down a little). I dreaded the thought of Washington pulling another comeback and gaining the reputation of this year's "inspirational Comeback Kids." A 21-yd Murray broken field TD run ended most visions of a Washington comeback, but I must admit to being a little bit nervous until Gonzo's final 28-yd FG with under a minute to play to ice the win.
To sum up - the Cards owned Washington for the first halft of the contest, only to have the young Arizona squad do what young teams are prone to do after building up a lead: They take their foot off the pedal, let dreams of playoffs enter their little heads and...let the other team get back into the football game. You could see the Cardinals begin to do that; but fortunately, they had just enough talent to hold Washington at bay in the 2H.
Ari 5:51 DeAndre Hopkins 4 pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick) - Wash 0 Cards 7
Ari 15:00 Kyler Murray 14 run (Zane Gonzalez Kick) - Wash 0 - Cards 14
Ari 3:31 FG Zane Gonzalez 49 - Wash 0 - Cards 17
Ari 13:11 FG Zane Gonzalez 33 - Wash 0 - Cards 20
Was 11:46 FG Dustin Hopkins 24 - Wash 3 - Cards 20
Ari 0:43 Kyler Murray 21 run (Zane Gonzalez Kick) - Wash 3 - Cards 27
Wash 2:40 Terry McLaurin 24 pass from Dwayne Haskins (Run Failed) - Wash 9 - Cards 27
Wash 8:22 Antonio Gibson 11 run (Pass Failed) - Wash 15 - Cards 27
Ari 14:34 FG Zane Gonzalez 28 - Wash 15 - Cards 30
Notable Game Stats.
- First Downs Cards 22 - Wash 19
- Passing: Murray 26 for 38, 286 Yds 1 TD, 1 Int 88.3
................Haskins 19 for 133, 223 yds, 1 TDs 0 Int 88.3
Sacked By: Cards 3 - Wash 4
Rushing: Murray 8 for 67...Drake 20 for 86, Edmonds 3 for 4
................Gibson 13 for 55, McKissic 8 for 53
Receiving: McLauren 7 of 10 for 125...Thomas 4 of 9 for 26...Sims 3 of 5 for 53
Hopkins 8 of 9 for 68...Fitzgerald 7 of 7 for 50...Edmonds3 of 4 for 9...
Tackles - Pierre-Louis 15...Bostic 7...Moreland 6
................Hicks 10...Campbell 10...Banjo 9
Interceptions By - Cards - 0... Wash - 1 (L Collins)
Fumbles Lost - Cards 1 of 5 ...-Wash 2 of 3
Penalties - Cards 11 for 97 - Wash 6 for 42
Time of Possession: Cards 33:45 - Wash 26:15
The "Bright Side"
We're 2 & 0
Our 1H offense looked unstoppable.
Isabella displayed hands that can be trusted
Gonzalez (3 FGs in 3 attempts) was solid
Drake did what he had to do (draining the clock) l in the 4Q
Kingsbury really knows his way around a playbook
We kept the lid on any hope of a Washington comeback.
Few if any glaring miscues on either side of the ball
Defense looked reliable and consistent
Campbell, Hicks and Banjo had big outings.
There's still plenty of room for this team to grow
The Dark Side
- We eased off the pedal to start the 2H.
- We outplayed Washington most of the game, but it won't be so easy when we play more talented opponents.
On paper, this looked like a winnable game, and (especially in the first half) there was little to dispell that notion. But (as young teams are prone to do) the team got a little sloppy - tackles were missed, assignments were blown, incompletions turned into completions. Fortunately, the Cards were talented enough to slack off and still win, but that's not gonna happen when we play better teams.
What excites me is the vision of how good this Cardinal football team can be if it stays healthy, continues to improve and grinds when tempted to let-up.
No doubt, most of the media attention will be focused toward Murray (as it should be when a QB scores 14 and 21 yard TDs with his feet. But what really excites me is the way Campbell, Hicks & Co. are containing the run and Kirkpatrick is holding down the CB2 position opposite PP21.
There are too many variables a team can't control (like injuries, other teams or funny bounces) to justify collective whispers of "championship)! But I will go out on a limb to proclaim that "anything is possible...or maybe even more. Ciao.