Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings: 10 Things We Learned
This was a real heartbreaker.
Let's all take a deep breath shall we?
Let's face it. There are some games that make you want to stop rooting for your team.
This was one of them.
But let's hold on a second. Before you burn all your Cardinals gear, let's see if there is something to be salvaged from this game after all...
1. Brett Favre Still Has It
Before we go into anything related to the Cards, let's step back for a moment and salute an NFL great.
Regardless of whether or not the Cardinals gave the game away, Favre did what he had to, despite all that he and Minnesota has gone through last week.
I don't care what you think of the man.
What he did yesterday is why he'll go down among the greats.
2. Derek Anderson Won and Lost the Game
It's hard to be too mad at Anderson.
But at the same time I'm furious at him.
His holding onto the ball at the end of the game may have cost the Cardinals a huge victory.
But his solid play through the first three and a half quarters put the Cardinals in a position to win.
In what was in my opinion his best game of the year, Anderson had a chance to seal it with one first down at the end of the game.
But he didn't get it done.
Still, it's not his fault entirely. He had one errant throw. But other than that, he did well.
He may have earned himself a start next week, but can we put Max Hall in for the last five minutes?
3. The Running Game Faltered...Again
In what was one of the best games for the offensive line all year, the run game did Anderson no favors.
I have to think if Arizona could run the ball consistently, they would win this game, hands down.
As I said before, all they needed was a first down, and they may have won the game.
But the run game, when it was needed the most, didn't step up.
I'm not sure who to blame anymore really. The offensive line has looked better, so I can't put as much blame on them.
I'm starting to think it's the backfield, despite the fact that there is so much talent.
In a game where the Cardinals finally got the "Hyphen" LaRod Stephens-Howling involved more, he did nothing.
It may be the Vikes run defense, which has always been solid, but the problem for the Cardinals is that it has been a problem against other defenses.
That cannot continue.
4. Greg Toler Got Schooled...by Bernard Berrian
If you read my live blog on the game, I can't remember the number of times I said out lout, "It's Bernard Berrian!!!"
Thanks Greg Toler.
Toler, who has improved mightily this season, got schooled by Berrian, who many thought was older and slower.
Either way, Berrian hasn't made an impact at all this season, until he met the Cardinals.
The good news is we won't play him again this season.
5. The Offensive Line Has Improved
See? Not everything is bad from this game.
Through most of the game, Anderson was barely touched, having adequate time to throw, which lead to a good game from the vet.
The late sacks I blame more on the fatigue of the offensive line...and the fact that you could've counted to 20 Mississippi and still sacked Anderson.
But still, against a legitimate pass rush, the line held up very well.
If the O-Line can continue to protect whoever the QB is for Arizona, all the better.
6. Andre Roberts Will Be Worth That Third Round Pick
Many, including myself, have doubted whether Roberts was worth that third round pick, considering that he was outplayed in the preseason by a couple of undrafted rookies.
But on Sunday, in one play, he showed why the Cardinals drafted him.
His nifty catch and run to give the Cardinals the lead at the end of the half was highlight reel worthy.
Now, if he can do that on punt returns, the Cardinals will be in business on special teams.
In fact, if you've paid attention, Roberts has solidified himself as the Cardinals fourth receiver as well.
It may be too early to tell, but the Cardinals may have gotten a steal.
7. The Pass Rush Was Effective Most of the Day
The Cards defensive struggles had nothing really to do with the pass rush.
In fact, I think someone has lit a fire under Joey Porter, who had yet another sack Sunday, and caused an interception with a hit on Favre.
So even though Favre threw for a career high, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the pass rush, as they hit Favre a number of times.
8. The Defensive Secondary...Well...Stunk
There's not much to say here.
Brett Favre picked our secondary apart.
And frankly, other than Kerry Rhodes, the secondary has been disappointing this season.
DRC hasn't stepped up. Other than against the Rams, Adrian Wilson hasn't stepped up.
And Greg Toler, as we saw, got owned by Bernard Berrian.
9. The Run Defense Was Better
You take away that big run in overtime (which I had a feeling was coming), and the run defense did do fairly well against arguably the best back in the league, Adrian Peterson.
Granted, it also helped that Favre threw a lot more than he usually does, but overall I'd say that the run defense was good.
It may be Gerald Hayes, but Paris Lenon also looked good Sunday.
They'll have to play that well this Sunday against Marshawn Lynch for them to win.
10. The West Is Still Up for Grabs
As crazy as it is, the division is no where close to being sealed up.
In fact, with the Seahawks getting pasted by the Giants on Sunday, things just got more muddled.
If the Cardinals had won, they may have been the favorites.
They still have a good chance, as they host those 'Hawks this Sunday and they have a fairly easy schedule from here on out.
But so do the 49ers.
So, honestly, at this point, any of the teams could win it.
It's gonna be a fun last half of the season.