The San Francisco 49ers weren't the only NFC West team playing a must-win game in Week 14.
Like the 49ers, the Cardinals took care of business, blowing out the St. Louis Rams 30-10 to move to 8-5 on the season.
That win keeps the Cardinals in the thick of the wild-card hunt in the NFC, and NFC West Lead Writer Tyson Langland says the team has its defense to thank:
After a disheartening loss to the Eagles in Week 13, the Cardinals knew they would need finish the season with four consecutive wins to garner a playoff spot in the NFC. So, what did they do? They broke out their red-on-red uniform combination against the Rams.
For the eighth time in a row, the Cardinals secured a “W” in the win column when they wore their red jerseys and red pants in front of their home crowd.
All jokes aside, Arizona traveled back to the desert, reestablished the ground game (thanks to Andre Ellington), converted on third down and shut down St. Louis’ passing game. The Cardinals' sound plan of attack on both sides of the ball allowed them to keep their playoff hopes alive.
However, the unsung hero in Week 14 was inside linebacker Karlos Dansby. Dansby’s terrorizing play accounted for eight total tackles, one quarterback sack, one quarterback hit, two tackles for loss, an interception and a touchdown.
For those who haven’t followed Arizona closely this season, that type of stat line has become a normal occurrence for the 32-year-old out of Auburn. Even though Daryl Washington is the younger, more athletic inside linebacker of the two, Dansby is quietly making a case for Defensive Player of the Year.
Will he win the award? Probably not, but there’s a good chance pundits from around the league will start to take notice if the Cardinals keep winning from here on out. With three games left to play, Dansby is on pace to finish the season with 123 total tackles, 7.5 quarterback sacks, three interceptions and two touchdowns.
A tip of the hat to head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim for recognizing Dansby’s talent level, despite his age. Without a doubt, the 10-year veteran has to shoulder some of the success if the wins keep piling up and the Cardinals make some noise come playoff time.