Bruce Arians: Earl Watford played 'OK' after replacing Mike Iupati

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Like all of the Arizona Cardinals backups Sunday night, Earl Watford was ready to go at a moment's notice.

So, when left guard Mike Iupati went down late in the second quarter with a neck injury, all Watford had to do was stretch and get warm. He finished the game, turning in a mostly-clean showing. But coming in for Iupati wasn't as easy as Watford made it look.

"He was OK," Arians said. "He's been practicing so much tackle that his sets were off a little bit. He needs to get his hands on them a little bit quicker.

"We'll get him a bunch of reps at guard this week."

At the time, Watford didn't know how severe Iupati's injury was but he knew he had to stay focused on playing.

"It's tough but it's my job," Watford said. "Always got to be ready. We preach it heavy here -- staying in-game ready, next man up. I was able to get in there and not F it up pretty much, fed off all other guys. Made sure I knew what I was doing and just played as best as I could."

The Cardinals scored a touchdown to finish the drive on which Iupati got hurt. That was "huge" for Watford's confidence, Arians said.

Aside from being part of an offensive line that allowed Palmer to get strip-sacked twice in the fourth quarter -- both of which led to touchdowns, one directly and one indirectly -- neither was charged to Watford. He was responsible for six quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus.

The one play that still bothers Watford was a false-start penalty late in the third quarter that moved the Cardinals from third-and-1 to third-and-6. Arizona punted two plays later.

"I did some good thing, did some things I can do a lot better on," Watford said. "Just the false start really kind of pissed me off but it's my own fault. At a critical time that it was, can't have those mistakes."