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Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wrap-up: Cardinals 24, Giants 17

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals claimed a watershed victory to reaffirm their status as the team to beat in the NFC West, in case there were still doubters.

Known for their glitzy passing game, the Cardinals showed grit in persevering despite severe injury problems in the secondary.

Closing out the Giants on the road would have been impressive even if strong safety Adrian Wilson and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had been available. Getting the job done with both players sidelined in crunch time stands as a tremendous achievement, no matter the Giants' deficiencies at wideout.

The Cardinals are 3-0 on the road for the first time since 1982. They are 4-2 overall and likely to reach 5-2 after facing the Panthers at University of Phoenix Stadium in Week 8.

Arizona still has tremendous potential for improvement as rookie running back Beanie Wells becomes more comfortable in the offense. Wells ran hard and ran well against the Giants. The Cardinals showed versatility on offense, a key to their postseason surge last season.

The heart Arizona showed on defense was the difference. Antrel Rolle's game-clinching interception provided a fitting end given all the injury problems in the secondary. The Cardinals were trusting Ralph Brown and Michael Adams in coverage late, and they still beat a good team on the road.

The defensive staff deserves credit, too. Secondary coach Teryl Austin had to be sweating out the final minutes given the obvious personnel deficiency. Coordinator Bill Davis kept the blitzes coming and his players executed them effectively.

This is the sort of victory that brings a team together.