The Arizona Cardinals played by far their most complete game of the season on Sunday, dominating the Seahawks from beginning to end, 27-3. This was an important road win for a couple of reasons. First, it helps the Cardinals re-establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC West as they rise into a first place tie with San Francisco. The 49ers still hold the tie-break by virtue of their season opening win at Arizona, though, so there is still work to do there. The second reason it is such an important victory is that it comes one week before a trip to the Meadowlands for a meeting with the Giants. The Cardinals will be facing a very ticked off Giants defense, as they were humiliated by the Saints offense in a 48-27 blowout loss. Dropping this game to the Seahawks could have had the defending NFC champs looking hard at a 2-4 start.
It was nice to see the Cards play such a complete game in a tough road venue, but there are still many areas of improvement with this team. Despite their best efforts and talk of committing to the run, the running game remains non-existent. Arizona ranks 31st in the league at only 57.6 rushing ypg, and 31st in the league at a pathetic 2.9 yards per carry. After a so-so start to the season, the passing game is starting to click on all cylinders again. How much better and more dangerous would Kurt and company be if opposing defenses had to worry about any kind of threat from a running game? With the Cardinal passing offense, the running game doesn't need to be stellar......just competent.
Stupid and untimely penalties still plague this team as well. The Cards have had more penalty yards than their opponent in 4 of 5 games, continuing their tendency from 2008. The problem isn't so much the number of penalties as it is the team's penchant for undisciplined and horribly timed penalties.
Finally, Whisenhunt has to have this team ready to play week to week. The Cards are by far the most talented team in the NFC West........when they come to play. The lack of passion was particularly noticeable in home losses to San Fran and Indianapolis, as the Cards were flat in both. Given the remaining schedule, the Cards should easily finish with their first 10 win season since 1976......IF they come to play every week. To me, that is Whisenhunt's biggest challenge the rest of the season, to be tougher on his team and have them ready to go every single week. It starts in NY this Sunday. The Saints clearly gave Whiz a blueprint for how a good passing team can beat the Giant secondary, so it will be interesting to see how and if the Cards can take advantage.