Monday, December 9, 2013
Upon Further Review: Cardinals Week 14
By Josh Weinfuss
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A review of four hot issues from the Arizona Cardinals' 30-10 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Palmer rested: After not throwing a single pass in practice all week to rest an injured throwing elbow, Carson Palmer registered the second-best completion percentage in Cardinals history Sunday.
He completed 27 of 32 passes, or 84.4 percent, which was the next highest to Kurt Warner’s NFL record 92.3 percent in 2009. It helped that Palmer started 11-for-11.
“I didn’t know that and I didn’t feel that way,” Palmer said. “I really didn’t think about it. I was thinking about the lull we had at the beginning of the second half and being a little frustrated with that.”
Back in a groove: It’s been a while since Larry Fitzgerald had double-digit receptions. Almost two years, to be exact. But as Palmer found a rhythm, so did Fitzgerald, catching all 12 of his targets for 96 yards.
“We just had a good connection,” Fitzgerald said. “Everything worked pretty good. As a whole throwing the ball, I think we were pretty effective and we were able to move the ball up and down the field.”
Fitzgerald’s 12 catches were his most since Week 17 of the 2011 season, and one shy of his career high of 13. He’s hit that mark twice, last in Week 6 of 2009 at Seattle. His 12 catches are tied for the most this season among receivers who caught all their targets, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Fitzgerald knew how close he was to matching his career high.
“I’m very aware all the time of where I'm at,” Fitzgerald said. “But the game was out of reach at that point and I never put myself in front of my team. We did what we needed to do. Hopefully, I can get 13 or 14 next week.”
How the West was won: It took only 15 months, but the Cardinals won an NFC West game, finally. The last time they changed a 0 to a 1 in their division standings was in Week 1 of the 2012 season, in Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s debut. It’s been a long ride since.
“We knew that if we just do what we’re supposed to do, we are a good enough team to win games,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “We just did our part and played the game the way we’re supposed to and limited our mistakes and it shows how good we can be.”
It’s a monkey off their backs, coach Bruce Arians said.
“And you guys can write about something else now,” he added.
Not Cook-ing: There were two focal points for the Cardinals this past week: defensive end Robert Quinn and tight end Jared Cook. Both torched Arizona in Week 1 and both were cooled Sunday, especially Cook.
Cook had 141 yards and two touchdowns in their first meeting but finished with just 49 yards on three receptions.
“I thought our guys did a really good job of matching and mixing and staying with him this time,” Arians said.