At times Sunday night, the Arizona Cardinals' first-team offense was reminiscent of that of the post-Kurt Warner years under former head coach Ken Whisenhunt. The defense did its part, holding the Cincinnati Bengals to just two field goals in the first half. But quarterback Carson Palmer was erratic throughout despite solid protection from his offensive line.
He threw a pick-six in the first quarter on an option route to Larry Fitzgerald in which Palmer expected Fitz would break off his route instead of going deep.
The offense as a whole was sloppy most of the night. The most success came from backup quarterback Drew Stanton and the second-string offense. Stanton was sharp, completing 10 of 13 passes for 117 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions for a 126.4 passer rating.
Arizona's third-string offense, led by rookie Logan Thomas, did next to nothing in the fourth quarter. Thomas was 2-of-6 passing for 21 yards and was sacked on his first dropback.
Only three running backs carried the ball Sunday night. Between them, Andre Ellington, Jonathan Dwyer and Stepfan Taylor carried 16 times for 63 yards (3.9 yards per carry). Ellington led the way with nine totes for 46 yards (5.1 YPC), including a nifty 24-yard burst in the first half.
Again, the defense showed well against the Bengals. Four field goals is all Todd Bowles' units allowed, which is impressive considering the amount of time they spent on the field—Cincy had possession for over 32 minutes.
The strongest part of Sunday's effort was the starters' run defense. Bengals running back carried 10 times for just 17 yards (1.7 YPC) with a long of seven yards.
Arizona's kicking battle may have been settled in the first quarter, when 14-year veteran Jay Feely shanked a 48-yard field goal. He connected early in the second quarter on a 24-yarder, but his fate may already have been sealed.
Rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro connected on his only field-goal attempt, a 23-yard boot, and he boomed both his kickoffs deep into the end zone.
Carson Palmer: 7-of-19, 92 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 31.0 passer rating
Larry Fitzgerald: 3 receptions, 71 yards (23.7 yards per catch)
John Brown: 4 receptions, 56 yards (14.0 YPC), 1 TD
Andre Ellington: 9 carries, 46 yards (5.1 YPC)