NFC West: 2013 Week 12 IND at ARI Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Indianapolis Colts

November, 24, 2013

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' 40-11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:

What it means: The Colts were never in it. They were embarrassed for the second time in three games. They entered the game knowing they had to put pressure on Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. That didn’t happen until the game was already determined. Palmer picked apart the Colts defense by going 26-of-37 for 314 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts sacked Palmer three times. Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall bounced around for 54 yards on 13 carries. The Colts didn’t get their lone touchdown until the fourth quarter, when they were already down by 23 points.

No rushing attack: The 137 yards rushing against the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 14 turned out to be just a one-game thing for the Colts. They ran the ball only 15 times for 80 yards. Don’t get excited by the 5.3 average. It’s rarely a good thing when your quarterback is one of the leading rushers. Andrew Luck ran for 31 yards, while Trent Richardson and Donald Brown combined for 16 yards on nine carries. Daniel Herron led the Colts with 33 yards.

Another slow start, shocking: The Colts went into the half trailing 27-3 to bring their halftime deficit to 93-12 in the past four games. The Cardinals reached Indianapolis territory on all five of their drives in the first half. They scored on four of them. The only time they failed was when Sergio Brown blocked Jay Feely's 28-yard field goal attempt on Arizona’s second offensive series of the game. The Cardinals got some help in the scoring department from their defense. Linebacker Karlos Dansby intercepted Luck’s pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter.

Injury loss: The Colts were already without starting cornerback Greg Toler (groin), and then they lost their other starting cornerback, Vontae Davis, with a groin injury in the fourth quarter. The defense hasn’t been the same -- giving up big plays against Houston, St. Louis and Arizona -- since Toler went out of the lineup prior to the Titans game on Nov. 3.

What’s next: The Colts return to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on the Titans on Dec. 1. The Colts beat the Titans 30-27 on Nov. 14.

Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals

November, 24, 2013

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 40-11 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

What it means: Not only are the Cardinals winning games this season, but they're winning games they're supposed to win. That hasn't happened in Arizona in a while. The worst-kept secret in the NFL is how the Colts struggle in the first half. After Arizona scored on its first possession Sunday, it just kept piling on, but it wasn't just the offense that carved apart the Colts. The Cards' defense kept Indy under 100 yards for three quarters, and the Colts' first touchdown was on a broken play with a great catch. But Arizona isn't playing like a team waiting to lose like it was last season. This is a legitimate contender this season, and if it wasn't for a new offense that took almost half the season to get going, we would've been talking about the Cardinals for weeks now.

Stock watch: Rashard Mendenhall might not have ran for the most yards of the season, but there was something different about him Sunday. He had an extra pep in his step, or a set of afterburners on his heels. The veteran running back bounced outside throughout the first half instead of his typical inside-the-tackles bulldozing. He burned some rubber on his few plays, including a 13-yard run in the first half on which he hit the corner and shot up the sideline. Mendenhall looked more like rookie running back Andre Ellington than his usual self, but if Mendenhall can produce burst plays, Arizona's options at running back just got deeper.

Hitting their goals: The Cardinals hit most of their offensive goals Sunday. Their 40 points exceeded their time of possession (36:49) and Arizona converted 50 percent of their third downs, another area of focus for the Cards.

Floyd keeps it up: Michael Floyd set a career high last weekend with 193 yards, but he didn't let up Sunday. His 104 yards were his second-highest total of the season and the first time he went over the 100-yard mark in back-to-back games in his career. But it wasn't just the quantity of yards, it was the quality. Normally facing single coverage, Floyd's catches were mostly highlight-worthy and made against the sideline. He's able to benefit from the attention Larry Fitzgerald gets, but he's still making great catches.

What's next: The Cardinals face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.