- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Ray Horton, upon being hired in 2011 as the Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator, promised to blitz on the team's first play under his watch.
His aggressive mentality revealed itself Sunday in the Cardinals' 20-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Arizona brought five or more defenders against Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson on 50 percent of dropbacks. That was the second-highest figure in the NFL during Week 1, trailing only the 54.3 percentage for Indianapolis' defense.
"They pressured us a majority of the times numbers-wise more so than anybody we've seen them play," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters Monday. "They had a real intent to mix it up and take their chances, and we weren't able to really take advantage of that. Sometimes they’d become vulnerable, but they held on pretty well, they covered well, and made it tough all day long passing wise.”
Arizona faces a much tougher challenge against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Week 2. Brady completed 3-of-5 passes for 21 yards and a touchdown when Tennessee brought five or more rushers Sunday. He completed 20-of-26 passes for 215 yards and a score the rest of the time.
The chart, from ESPN Stats & Information, shows how frequently NFC West teams and their opponents for Weeks 1-2 brought five or more rushers in their openers.
2012 NFL Week 1: Percent Rushing 5+ Defenders