Man Crush Monday: Arizona Cardinals Defense
There were some interesting games yesterday and a few players that did well, but as they say no one man is bigger than the team. On Sunday afternoon in Glendale, AZ, this was evident. This week’s Man Crush Monday goes to the entire Arizona Cardinals defense.
Hosting Green Bay, the Cardinals came out with an aggressive pass rush against a Packers offensive line that was banged up. An ankle injury to right tackle Brian Bulaga weakened an already injured offensive line that was also without left tackle David Bakhtiari. The Cardinals took full advantage of this by sacking Aaron Rodgers eight times, and causing two fumbles that were both returned for touchdowns. Corey Redding picked one up and ran 36 yards for the score, while Jerraud Powers had a 5 yard recovery for the other TD. The defense held Aaron Rodgers to 151 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Scott Tolzien later came in for Rodgers when the game was out of reach, and was also sacked once.
Losing Tyrann Mathieu for the season last week with a torn ACL, the team was also without its other starting safety Rashad Johnson who was still nursing an ankle injury. The Cardinals didn’t waste any time feeling sorry for themselves. They rallied around Justin Bethel, who had an interception in the end zone, and second year stand out Deone Bucannon. Veteran Dwight Freeney had 3 of the teams 9 sacks and Calais Campbell had 2.5. Knowing that they could clinch a first round bye, Arizona came to play and never let up defensively.
As a team they came in with the number one ranked offense, and with the Packers also hurting on defense you wouldn’t have thought the Cardinals defense needed to make plays in order to win the game. This just reflects the culture of Bruce Arians, and that this team doesn’t take any games off on either side of the ball. With a possibility of stealing the number 1 seed next week, you can bet they will not be looking past the visiting Seattle Seahawks.
Kevin McQuade covers the NFL for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @kmcquade9.