Monday, December 16, 2013
Titans handled Cardinals' blitzes
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Arizona Cardinals came to Nashville with an impressively effective blitzing defense.
The Tennessee Titans played well against the blitz. But despite washing away a prominent feature of an opponent, they lost 37-34 in overtime at LP Field on Sunday.
ESPN Statistics & Info broke down what the Cardinals did with blitzes in their first 13 games and what they did Sunday.
In its first 13 games, Arizona blitzed on 50 percent of opponent drop backs, allowing opponents to complete 57.6 percent of their passes for 7 yards an attempt, with 15 touchdowns, nine interceptions and 25 sacks.
In Nashville, Arizona blitzed on 36 percent of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s drop backs, allowing him to complete 71.4 percent of his passes for 8.8 yards an attempt, with three touchdowns, one interception and no sacks.
The interception came in overtime and set the Cardinals up for the game-winning field goal.
Fitzpatrick was hit as he threw to Michael Preston, and Antoine Cason was there to pull in the underthrown pass for his second pick of the day.
“That last one was my fault in setting the protection,” Fitzpatrick said. "They brought a blitz, (the offensive line) couldn’t pick up, react to, and they ended up hitting me as I was throwing it. It affected the throw.”
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was complimentary of Fitzpatrick and the way the Titans handled blitzes, and critical of the officiating.
“I think (defensive coordinator) Todd Bowles probably called everything on his sheet trying to find a way to get there,” Arians said. “They did a good job protecting him and he wasn't holding the ball very long. Of course every time we touched him, it was a penalty.”
The Cardinals were flagged for nine penalties for 69 yards and six Titans' first downs, all in the second half.