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3 things we learned about the Cardinals

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PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers third-string quarterback Landry Jones had never played in an NFL game before Sunday. He never dressed for a game during his first two seasons in the league and the only reason he was dressed against the Arizona Cardinals was because starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed his third consecutive game with a knee injury.

When backup quarterback Mike Vick exited Sunday’s game early in the third quarter with a hamstring injury, the Steelers turned to the former Oklahoma Sooner, and Jones delivered four second-half scoring drives to lead the Steelers to a 25-13 victory at Heinz Field.

After Vick completed only 3 of 8 passes for 6 yards, he was replaced by Jones, who was 8-for-12 for 168 yards and two touchdowns, including an 88-yard pass to Martavis Bryant with 1:58 remaining that put the contest out of reach.

“It’s a whirlwind,” Jones said afterward. “I still can’t believe I got in the game and got to play. I’m still kind of reeling from it.”

Jones threw an 8-yard touchdown to Bryant on only his second NFL pass attempt. That touchdown came after Steelers linebacker James Harrison forced a fumble by wide receiver John Brown at the Arizona 32-yard line.

Jones’ second drive ended in more points when Chris Boswell booted a 51-yard field goal. Boswell’s third field goal of the game gave the Steelers a 15-10 lead with 2:32 left in the third quarter.

After Arizona cut the lead to 15-13 with a Chandler Catanzaro 39-yard field goal, Jones led a 13-play, 68-yard drive that ended with Boswell’s 28-yard field goal.

“He’s totally different (from Vick),” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “They went back to some things. They threw the ball downfield to some guys. He played very well. My hat is off to him. He won the football game.”

Bryant had six receptions for 137 yards and two scores in his first game of the season. He served a four-game suspension to begin the season and sat out last week with a knee injury.

What we learned about the Cardinals

1. It’s time to question the Cardinals’ red-zone potency. They entered the game with the top red-zone offense in the NFL, but they could only score one touchdown against the Steelers’ young defense. They had 469 total yards and moved the ball up and down the field, but three turnovers doomed them on a day their defense did not get them the ball back.

2. The Cardinals didn’t adjust well once Landry Jones entered the game. The blitzed and routinely played with eight players near the line of scrimmage in the first half against Vick. That didn’t work against Jones, who let it rip against their secondary. They allowed Jones, who had never attempted a pass in an NFL game, to throw for two touchdowns and 168 yards on only 12 passing attempts.

3. The Cardinals need a better pass rush. They signed Dwight Freeney this week to bolster their sack total, but he didn’t help against the Steelers. The Cardinals only managed one sack from Calais Campbell. They have just eight sacks in the first six games.

Etc.

–WR John Brown set career highs for receptions (10) and receiving yards (196). His previous best for receiving yards was 119 against Philadelphia last season and his previous best for catches was seven, set earlier this season St. Louis.

–RB Chris Johnson entered the game second in the league in rushing with 405 yards through the first five games, but he could only get 40 on 14 attempts against the Steelers. Johnson’s longest run of the game was for 11 yards.

–QB Carson Palmer’s resurgent season continued with 421 passing yards. He completed three passes of 30 yards or more on Sunday, including a 45-yarder to John Brown and a 44-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald.


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