Cardinals 22, Panthers 6
For the second consecutive week, the Arizona Cardinals used outstanding defense to derail an opponent in the second half.
Arizona's offense was once again stagnant all afternoon, led by quarterback Carson Palmer's three interceptions. He finished completing 19-of-28 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown (a late game-sealer to tight end Jim Dray), and his 57.0 passer rating—though very low and quite unacceptable—was enough for the win.
The run game improved this week for the Cardinals (3-2), as rookie Andre Ellington led them with 57 yards on seven carries (7.4 yards per carry). Rashard Mendenhall chipped in 43 yards on 17 carries (2.5 YPC) and a go-ahead touchdown on the opening drive of the second half.
Wideout Michael Floyd led the way with five receptions for 61 yards (12.2 yards per catch), and Larry Fitzgerald, though used sparingly, converted three first downs for Arizona on his three receptions (43 yards, 14.3 YPC).
Coordinator Todd Bowles' defense came to play today, and inside linebacker Daryl Washington—playing in his first game coming off a four-game suspension—was brilliant in willing his team to victory. Washington recorded a team-high nine tackles, had three for a loss, two sacks, two quarterback hits, an interception and a pass defended in his return.
Other notable performers on defense were ILB Karlos Dansby (8 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception) and defensive end Calais Campbell (4 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 QB hits).
The Panthers drop to 1-3 on the season after an ugly showing on offense. Quarterback Cam Newton was sacked seven times and threw two second-half interceptions after a solid start to the game. He was forced to deal with dropped passes all afternoon, as star wideout Steve Smith dropped two alone in the first quarter, including a sure touchdown on the team's opening drive.
For the game, Newton completed 21-of-39 passes for 308 yards and three interceptions for a 47.8 passer rating.
The rushing attack was stifled as well. Running back DeAngelo Williams, who came in ranked third in the NFL at 97.0 rush yards per game, carried 12 times for only 39 yards (3.3 YPC). He was held out of the end zone for the fourth straight game to start the season.
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