Revenge is a dish best served cold, and who better to serve it than Mr. Matty Ice? 225 yards, 66% of his passes completed, and three whopping touchdowns; and all of that only counts for a nudge over half of the point scored yesterday. They may have knocked us out of the 2008 playoffs with a close victory, but we had the last laugh two years later. Doesn't it feel good?
- Pass protection: Admittedly, the Cardinal's defensive front is nowhere near the caliber of the Steelers' but it was nice to see Ryan have enough time to eat a sandwich, read a book, and then toss a touchdown pass on just about every blitz drawn up by Arizona.
- No Happy Feet: This is probably due to the improved pass protection, but Ryan was calm, settled, and throwing missles out there.
- The ball was spread like jam: All three of Ryan's TDs were caught by different receivers. Most of his receivers had a comparable amount of yards and receptions, the average around 3. Of course, Roddy was a popular target, but considering White's ability, that's to be expected. This also helped keep our pass-targeting unpredictable, which likely led to Ryan's nice completion rate.
- Brian Finneran: I don't care where you thought he'd be after this offseason, I'm sure glad Finn was in the endzone and can jump almost as high as Grimes. How old is he again?!
- Jason Snelling: How many third string RB's can perform like Snelling? None. He can catch, he can run, he can block. He had two touchdowns. What more can be said?
- Defense: For the second straight week, the defense has been swarming, opportunistic, and downright nasty. I love it.
- William Moore: For all the injury hooplah and dashed expectations, Moore is coming into his own. An INT and some of the nastiest hits this side of Ray Lewis. This is the kind of player this defense thrives on.
- Chris Owens: Yeah, he's injured, but he was playing like dynamite before, especially with that INT.
- Dominique Franks: Sure, it was an INT on a second string QB, but still, it got us back to the AZ seven yard line, leading 41-7, with only two and a half minutes left. Nail in the coffin INTs are just as important as regular INTs.
- Sean Weatherspoon: He led the team in tackles and had a sack, so I'm gonna say job well done.
- Sam Baker: For the second straight week, Sam had a major meltdown, being penalized three times in three snaps. Something is definitely up with Mr. Baker. Here's hoping it gets ironed out.
- Rush Defense: I know, I know. It was just one play; an eighty yard lazy jog by Hightower for a TD. It reeked of Mendenhall's 50 yard game winning TD run last week against our otherwise flawless defense just without you the ten or so holds the refs in Pittsburgh decided to miss. If it happens once, it's a fluke; twice, a coincidence; thrice, a problem. It almost happened again later in the game. Thankfully, Grimes was there to stop Hightower after twenty yards. There are times that extreme aggression can get you in those types of situations. VanGorder might want to dial down the aggression of his blitzes.
- Penalties: Sixteen of them total, 184 yards lost in all. The Falcons were the cleaner bunch, having only six accepted. The Cardinals... well let's just say that their quarterbacking wasn't the only facet of their game off track yesterday.
And now, a word from yours truly: Our ultimate test, some would say, is staring us in the face. We face the Saints, in Louisiana, six days from now. Arizona and, in some respects, the Steelers, were a warmup to the black and gold warriors. Between the defensive battle loss against the Steelers, and the boot-grinding, teeth smashing victory against the Cardinals hides the formula for success against the reigning Super Bowl champs. Let us hope our coaches can discover it.