The Cardinals Make Others See Red
~ Amy Lignor
Nothing is over until it is over. There were NFL teams yesterday, however, that truly felt as if something was coming for them. It was not the smell of success, either; it was more like a stiff smack delivered from the Grim Reaper. This weekend teams that should not have lost in a million years, did just that. Not a shocker – it is football and no one can call any of these games, no matter how much the ‘experts’ want to say they can. But when Manning and the Broncos lose to the Rams, everyone knows that something is going on in the atmosphere that is terribly wrong.
One type of supernatural thing that seems to be occurring in the NFL is actually for the good. That is the strength of play of the Arizona Cardinals. Teams are struggling their butts off to win games this year with high-priced and extremely well-paid QBs. These QB’s are not doing the job they signed up for. In fact, drafting from pee-wee football seems like it would be far better than standing behind a Cutler who, although he won this weekend, seems to be checked out of every single game. Yet when it comes to the Cardinals, this is a team that has had to go through three QBs in just one season, rallying around three different people standing in the QB slot.
Arizona used to be, and for some still is, that person you take to the prom and then don’t dance with. They were the team that was the businessman you shook hands with, yet when you were speaking to them you always looked over their shoulder to scan the room and find someone of more importance. Well…no longer. It is most definitely Arizona’s time to wear the prom tiara, and to flick their noses at many. Will they? No. This is not only a team that is proving they will remain silent and work hard to become the best of the best, they are also humble when asked if they believe that the Super Bowl could definitely be the Cardinals playing within their own stadium and hosting themselves. Talk about a Cinderella moment.
But the Cardinals are quite far away from being Cinderella. They are working to get their wins and not just hoping for them. They now stand at
9-1, a tally that so many experts and fans thought would belong to teams like the Broncos or the Seahawks by now. What the Cardinals also did yesterday was make sure to brighten the day of the QB of the Packers. Mr. Relax not only trounced his own opponent, but the skies opened up in Green Bay and for a moment that freezing cold air turned nice and warm, allowing the Packers to know that the 4th-quarter luck of the Detroit Lions had officially been erased.
Drew Stanton of Arizona made sure that the come-from-behind movements of the Lions offense just didn’t happen. Holding the Lions to a first-half of a whole lot of nothing, Arizona now officially beat the teams with the best records in the NFC. Coming in, the Lions had won four straight games, but much to their disappointment (and Aaron Rodgers’s glee) they are now in a first-place tie in the NFC North with the Pack who cannot seem to be stopped. And now that winter is upon them and their home stadium will feel nothing like a summer beach resort, teams should drop like stones.
Lions coach, Jim Caldwell blames consistency when it comes to his team but he certainly isn’t ready to hand the blue ribbon to the Packers quite yet. The Lions had 262 yards of offense, their second-lowest total of the season, and even when they were offered up two interceptions, they failed to do anything with them.
Stanton, even though throwing those two interceptions, did do an admirable job with Carson Palmer now out for the season with a torn ACL. He completed 21 of 32 to earn a career-high 306 yards, even though most assumed that once Palmer was out…Cardinals would start falling from the skies. Instead these songbirds are causing the rest of the NFC to see red.