Cardinals 40, Colts 11
It's official: The Arizona Cardinals are a legitimate playoff contender. Arizona took it to the Indianapolis Colts at home on Sunday, displaying prolific offense and stifling defense at all the right times.
Behind another interception-free game from Carson Palmer and stout early rushing from Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington, the Cardinals (7-4) led at halftime by three scores—plenty to put the game on ice with 30 minutes to play. Palmer completed 26 of 37 passes (70.3 percent) on the day for 314 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 114.0 passer rating.
His connection with second-year receiver Michael Floyd is unmistakable. Floyd followed up his 193-yard performance last week with seven receptions for 104 yards (14.9 yards per catch). It's the first time in his career he has had back-to-back 100-yard games.
Then there's the legend, Larry Fitzgerald. He is becoming almost an afterthought until Palmer leads the team into scoring range. He now has eight touchdowns on the season after catching five passes for 52 yards (10.4 yards per carry) and both Palmer scores.
Arizona's defense was as good Sunday as it has been in the past three seasons. Andrew Luck completed 20 of 39 passes (51.3 percent) for 163 yards, a touchdown and a pick-six for a 60.1 rating. The Cardinals held Luck to his fourth-lowest passer rating of his career.
The Colts (7-4) still should win the AFC South, but their inability to score early along with their defense's inability to stop offenses is becoming a real problem. Over the past four first halves, Indy has been outscored 93-12. The only team with a winning record over that time is the Cardinals, whose 27-3 lead at the break was more than insurmountable.
Unlike Arizona, Indy's receiving corps is tattered with injury, and it was painfully obvious throughout this matchup. Luck has no one other than T.Y. Hilton he can trust to make big receptions when the team needs one.
With five games remaining for both teams, there still is a lot of football left to be played, but these two teams are trending in opposite directions.