Safety Rashad Johnson helped Arizona shut down star Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez on Sunday.
Fast Teddy in the house: Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made it clear that Teddy Williams wasn’t signed to be a threat at receiver. Arizona has plenty of those. Williams was signed as a gunner to complement Justin Bethel, but Arians likes to take advantage of speed when he has it. Thus, the Cardinals implemented a play for Williams to take the top off Atlanta’s defense. It worked, but almost too well. Williams had to slow down to catch a 51-yard pass, which the Falcons weren’t expecting.
“I don’t know if they knew who he was,” Arians said. “I knew he could run. I didn’t know if he could catch.
“I’m just happy he caught it. I’m really happy he caught it. I was holding my breath. I know he was holding his.”
Containing a tight end: It’s no secret tight ends have been the Cardinals’ lone defensive liability, but they were able to limit Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez to three catches for 26 yards. Arizona did it by rotating defenders on him, that way the Falcons couldn’t adjust their plans according to coverage. Arizona mixed traditional defenses on Gonzalez with gimmick schemes, such as lining up two defenders on him like a punt situation.
“It was a team effort -- team defense, playing with great technique on the back end, defensive line getting pressure,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “We did it together.”
Time off needed for Fitz’s hammy: He might’ve said he’s fine, but Larry Fitzgerald’s hamstring hasn’t been at 100 percent for a while and it showed again Sunday. He had 48 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Arians said Fitzgerald played a solid game. But Fitz can’t wait for the bye.
“I’m glad we’re going into the bye to get some time to really get after it and nip it in the bud and have smooth sailing for the next eight games,” Fitzgerald said. “That would be ideal for me."
Ellington still looks to Mendenhall: Despite staking his claim for the starting running back job, rookie Andre Ellington still sees it as Rashard Mendehall’s. When Mendenhall returns, Ellington said it won’t be hard to accept a lesser role -- if he does.
“Rashard is our bell cow,” Ellington said. “He’s our leader in the room. This guy earned that respect. I’m waiting for him to get healthy and get out there and make plays.”