I usually do the weekly “Grind Factor” to point out the turning point in a game but with the recent drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals I couldn’t find one. The defensive showing of Rob Ryan’s wrecking ball crew was so dominant I just picked some highlights to break down. When Christy and I were battling heat stroke following this team in training camp I think it’s safe to say we didn’t see this defense being so good so fast.
How dominant has this group become? After Arizona’s first score they punted eight consecutive times followed by two interceptions to finish the game. The Saints on the other hand scored a touchdown towards the end of the 3rd quarter and another in the beginning of the 4th quarter, that my friends is finishing.
I think it’s worth noting that even though Tyrunn Walker didn’t ring up a sack he was a disrupting force throughout the game, I think we are seeing a budding star in the making. Also worth noting was that the Cardinals seemed to come into this game not wanting Akiem Hicks to wreak havoc on their porous offensive line as he seen a lot of double teams which of course freed up the other players.
There were really too many defensive highlights to list here so I went with the three that sums up the domination of the defensive line plus one by Curtis Lofton that caught my eye.
5:41 left in the first quarter Junior Galette gets the ball rolling.
As you can see to the right Akiem Hicks is triple teamed (#74 does release but #81 does engage Hicks) leaving John Jenkins, Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan one on one. Galette blows by LT Levi Brown with pure speed, the left tackle didn’t have a chance.
You can’t see it here but John Jenkins got away with hands to the face. As you can see with Galette going in for the kill shot, Jordan and Jenkins blew up their linemen, Palmer didn’t stand a chance….This would set the tone for the day.
9:05 left in the second quarter Curtis Lofton shows why he’s one of the best ILB’s in the game.
How do you beat an aggressive defensive line or try to slow them down? You call a Hybrid screen pass. Pre-snap Lofton was about 8 yards back and then ran up to the line a couple of seconds before Palmer hikes the ball. As the ball is snapped he checks out of it and takes RB Andre Ellington coming out of the backfield. Also the right guard releases Tyrunn Walker (as he should on a screen) but Walker is a very fast big man and makes a quick bead to Palmer.
Junior Galette also made a nice play stopping his rush and shifting into Palmer’s throwing lane. Tyrunn Walker hits Palmer as Palmer throws it at the feet of Ellington. Also note the hold on Cam Jordan (upper left)
5:55 left in the second Quarter This is just pure power by Cam Jordan as he collects the first of his two sacks.
Jordan bull rushes RT Eric Winston with an inside move and in the process also takes out Tyrunn Walker’s man, RG Paul Fanaica. Walker Very wisely goes around Winston in route to Palmer.
I almost feel bad for Palmer (not really) Cam hits him with a full head of steam, and if Cam doesn’t get to him Walker would have as he was a fraction of a second behind.
8:27 Left in the third quarter Undrafted rookie Glenn Foster gets in on the fun.
This sack is all on Carson Palmer as he locked on his receiver to the right never looking to his left; if he would have he would have seen a wide open Larry Fitzgerald. Jabari Greer woefully tried to jam Fitzgerald at the line of scrimmage but he went by Greer like he wasn’t even there. The coverage on the right side was just ok but Palmer gets happy feet.
The pressure by Cam Jordan and Tyrunn Walker proved too much for the shell shocked Palmer as he tries to step up and/or tuck the ball and run only to be met by Glenn Foster who made a nice inside move to seal the sack.
These are just a taste of how dominant the defense was Sunday, there were multiple hits, hurries and forced bad throws on Palmer. Of course all rookie Kenny Vacarro and free agent prize Keenan Lewis also got in on the action with a couple of picks respectively. I got to tell you folks, I can’t wait to see how good this defense is going to be going forward. Speaking of, Monday night is going to be one hell of a party….Ryan Tannehill doesn’t stand a chance.