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The Positives To Take Away From the Cardinals Loss to the Commanders

In the first game of the NFL season. The Arizona Cardinals fell short against the Washington Commanders as they lost the game, 20-16. There are no moral victories in the NFL but the Cardinals did show some good traits that may help them win games going forward.

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Getting After the Quarterback

The Cardinals made Commanders quarter Sam Howell uncomfortable throughout the entire game. Howell was sacked six times. Arizona also had six quarterback hits. One of those sacks resulted in a fumble by Howell that was recovered by Cardinal edge rusher Cameron Thomas and returned for a touchdown.

Its one game so it is not clear if the Cardinals’ pass rush is this good? It may be that the Commanders’ offensive line is that bad. Sam Howell holding on to the ball too long could of also been the issue. It is usually a combination of bad offensive line play and the quarterback not getting rid of the ball in time.

The Cardinals deserve credit for taking advantage of the errors made by the Commanders offensive line and/or Sam Howell. It is still “to be determined” on how good the defensive line can be.

Shutting Down the Pass

The secondary needs a good pass rush to help them look good. So the consistent pressure provided by the defensive line was definitely a factor in the secondary’s success. With that being said, the secondary still has to make plays and they did a great job of that is this game. The Cardinals had seven passes deflected and an interception during the game.

The Cardinals held the Commanders to 202 passing yards. The Commanders have a good wide receiving core that includes the three time thousand yard receiver, Terry McLaurin. McLaurin was held to 31 yards receiving on only two receptions. The player who had the most receiving yards for Washington was veteran wide receiver Curtis Samuel. Samuel had 54 yards receiving on five catches.

If the pass defense can continue to be this stingy, the Cardinals will always have a chance to win.

Stuffing the Run

The Cardinals’ defensive front was not only getting after the quarterback. They were also plugging any holes the Commanders’ offensive line tried to create for their running backs. The Commanders’ running backs only ran for 75 yards on 25 carries. That is three yards per carry. The Cardinals did an incredible job of shutting down the Commanders’ run game. Which made Washington one dimensional on offense.

Running The Rock

Arizona was able to run the ball very well in this game. Despite the trouble they had in the passing game. Usually if a team has trouble passing the ball, the run game is affected in a negative way. The Cardinals did a great job of creating holes for the running backs. They were also creative in their run play calls.

Starting running back James Conner had 62 yards rushing on 14 carries. That is 4.4 yards per carry. Which is much better than the three yards per carry for Washington’s running backs. The wide receivers were involved in the run game. Marquise Brown had a 29 yard carry and Rondale Moore also had 12 yards rushing on two carries.

Changing The Narrative

The Cardinals are expected to be very bad this season. They may not have won their first game but they did show that they may be a tough team to beat going forward. Arizona may not be the laughing stock of the NFL this season. It’s a low bar but it is one that the Cardinals can get over.


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