Cards: Wilson and Brady down, Vick next?

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
5:59
PM ET
Ray Horton likes to blitz, but he's not foolish.

The Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator was much more selective against New England's Tom Brady than he was against Seattle rookie Russell Wilson a week earlier.

The Cardinals sent five or more pass-rushers after Brady on 22 percent of dropbacks, down from a league-high 53 percent against Wilson in the season opener, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Both approaches worked largely because Arizona's defensive front dominated both games. Arizona felt more secure sending additional pass-rushers against an inexperienced quarterback such as Wilson. Brady and other top veterans are more apt to exploit defenses when opponents subtract defenders from coverage to supplement the rush.

Defensive end Calais Campbell finished the Cardinals' 20-18 victory at New England with 10 tackles, two sacks and three quarterback hits. The Cardinals sacked Brady four times overall, using four or fewer rushers in every instance. They became the first team since 2009 to hold New England beneath two touchdowns in a game.

The charts show the passing stats for Brady and Wilson against Arizona based on how many rushers Horton sent on each play.

The four sacks against Brady gave the Cardinals eight consecutive regular-season games with at least two sacks. That is the longest current streak in the league (San Francisco is second at seven games).

The Cardinals face Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3. They contained Vick and beat the Eagles in Philadelphia last season without relying on added pressure.

Arizona sent four or fewer rushers 43 times in 47 dropbacks. Vick completed 13 of 31 passes for 122 yards with two picks and one sack on these plays. Vick completed all three attempts for six yards and took one sack on the four plays when Arizona sent five or more rushers.

The Cardinals also injured Vick's ribs during that game.

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