NFL Wire News

3 things we learned about the Cardinals

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CHICAGO — What began as perhaps Jay Cutler’s best day for the Chicago Bears ended in the worst possible way for him and the team Sunday.

After completing his first eight passes, Cutler threw an interception that the Arizona Cardinals’ Tony Jefferson returned for a touchdown late in the second quarter. Cutler made a vain attempt to tackle Jefferson and suffered what the team said was a hamstring injury that put him out for the day — and perhaps longer.

Jefferson’s touchdown opened the floodgates to what ended as a 48-23 victory for the Cardinals, who had been locked in a 14-14 tie before scoring two touchdowns in 52 seconds late in the half.

The Bears said nothing about how long Cutler might be out of action, but backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who finished the game, gave a hint by saying, “Guys have to step up when guys go down. That’s the situation we’re in right now.”

Coach John Fox said simply called Cutler’s injury a “pulled hamstring,” and gave no indication of the severity.

Chicago’s only scoring the rest of the game came on three field goals by Robbie Gould.

Arizona, meanwhile, is off to a 2-0 start behind quarterback Carson Palmer, who has won 15 of his last 17 starts. Palmer completed 17 of 24 passes for 185 yards, including four touchdowns, three of them to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald caught a game-high eight passes for 112 yards.

The Cardinals jumped on top when David Johnson returned the opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. Johnson, whose kickoff return was his first touchdown in the NFL, scored his second later in the game on a 13-yard run.

What we learned about the Cardinals:

1. Their offense is not only dangerous, but deep. Rookie running back David Johnson scored his first two NFL touchdowns against Chicago, and wide receivers John Brown and Jaron Brown were nice complements to veteran Larry Fitzgerald.

2. Quarterback Carson Palmer has a chance to live up to the hype that accompanied his entry to the NFL more than a decade ago. He was never as effective in Cincinnati or Oakland as he has been in Arizona, and he seems to have come back nicely from last year’s injury. In two starts this year, he has seven touchdown passes, and he has not been sacked.

3. Arizona has a still-developing secondary that shows a lot of promise. Tony Jefferson bounced back very nicely with his pick-six after allowing an earlier completion down the middle.

Etc.:

–QB Carson Palmer’s passer rating is at 124.4 after two games, with a completion percentage of 64.3, seven touchdowns and one interception.

–WR Larry Fitzgerald, at age 32, is as reliable as ever. In two games, he has caught 14 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns (all against the Bears). He caught only two touchdown passes all last season.

–RB David Johnson’s NFL career is off to a nice start with three touchdowns in two games. He scored on a 55-yard pass play last week before Sunday’s breakout with the 108-yard kickoff return and nifty 13-yard run.


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