BAL-ARI Grades: Carson Palmer posts yet another solid performance

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Cardinals’ 26-18 win at home against the Ravens.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

BAL-ARI Grades: Carson Palmer posts yet another solid performance

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Cardinals’ 26-18 victory over the Ravens:

Arizona Cardinals

– The Cardinals ascended to 5-2 on the season—and to a two-and-a-half game lead in the NFC West—off the back of another outstanding performance from Carson Palmer (+5.0), who continues to outperform expectations so soon after his latest ACL surgery. While Chris Johnson (+0.7) sparked the offense with two chunk plays on the ground, Palmer once again was pinpoint with his downfield passing going, five-of-eight for 118 yards on his passes aimed 10 or more yards down the field.

– This has already been a season of great defensive performances, but last night, Tyrann Mathieu (+5.9) threw his hat in the ring for Defensive Player of the Year consideration as we approach the midway point of the season. Making an impact in all three phases of the game, Mathieu registered a season-high five stops (including a sack and a tackle for a loss on an end around), while surrendering only 21 yards on eight targets, adding his second pass defense in two weeks early in the second quarter.

– The Cardinals had to wait for his debut, but since getting into the lineup in Week 4 against the Rams, Mike Iupati (+4.1) has been delivering on his free agent contract with some powerful run blocking. Earning a positive grade as a run blocker for the fourth straight game, he barely made a misstep against a powerful Baltimore defensive line, helping to keep Brandon Williams (0.0) quiet for much of the game.

Top performers:

DB Tyrann Mathieu (+5.9)

QB Carson Palmer (+5.0)

OLB Markus Golden (+4.2)

DE Calais Campbell (+4.1)

LG Mike Iupati (+4.1)


Baltimore Ravens

– After a very shaky start to the season, Joe Flacco’s (+1.9) form continued to improve last night, at least until the game-clinching interception for Tony Jefferson (+0.5) when the Cards just brought one more blitz than Flacco and the offense could overcome. Until that point, Flacco had gone 14-of-18 for 139 yards and a score, while being sacked only twice on the Cardinals 20 previous blitzes in the game.

– A season that started so well for Jimmy Smith (-2.3) returning from injury has ebbed away since his impressive Week 1 display in Denver. A missed tackle last night added to a pair of touchdowns allowed, doubling his season total as he earned his sixth straight negative grade in coverage. Before injury last season, Smith was a corner on the rise, but he is struggling to rediscover that pre-injury form in 2015.

– After another solid display, Marshal Yanda’s (+2.4) streak of games with a positive overall grade has risen to 31 games, in spite of surrendering a trio of pressures (one sack, two hurries) in pass protection. Yanda was once again strong as a run blocker, though the rest of the offensive line struggled to cope with the Cardinals’ front, and ultimately Yanda’s efforts alone couldn’t provide the offense with the ground game to make the attack balanced on the night.

Top performers:

ILB C.J. Mosley (+3.5)

WR Steve Smith Sr. (+2.9)

RG Marshal Yanda (+2.4)

QB Joe Flacco (+2.4)

TE Nick Boyle (+1.6)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • phattyboombatty

    Is Joe Flacco’s grade a +1.9 (as mentioned in the analysis) or +2.4 (as listed in the top performers)?

    • rogue

      It’s most likely that the +2.4 is the overall grade (pass, run etc.) and the +1.9 is just the passing grade.

    • Kason Edell

      Yeah, 2.4 is the overall grade.

  • Alexander

    yestaerday was more evident han ever that the problem is lack of playmakers, we limited the cards to 26 points with a poor secondary, Deen is making miracles

    • JudoPrince

      The lack of ‘playmakers’ is not the main issue for the Ravens, sorry to break it to you. I’m assuming you are talking about the receivers, because Forsett is a plus RB. Even though the complementary WR’s are avg at best, they still have one of the best receiving threats in the league in Steve Smith. And when have the Ravens ever had multiple top notch receiving threats? Yet the team has consistently competed for titles.

      Also look at the Carolina Panthers. The worst WR core in the league by far yet they are 6-0. They play great defense, run the ball and find a way to make their passing game work despite having below avg targets, other than Olsen. The Ravens are most flawed on defense; they need to prioritize filling those holes first this off season.

      • alexander

        i meant playmakers in defense, we are minus 6 in the turnover ratio, in the past when we were trailing we could count on the defense to make a big play, yesterday was specials team with a cornerback that was cut in offseason then brought back

        • JudoPrince

          yes…. the inability to create turnovers by the defense is unsightly

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      The Ravens defensive problems started with the league’s emphasis on Pass Interference. Getting rid of some intensity on the D-line didn’t help either.

      The Ravens offensive problems started with Marc Trestman.

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    +5!? Yeah, that gift he threw the Ravens at the end of the game was great too.

    You guys are in love with him. He is playing well in a very structured system. If you really rate difficulty of throws, try looking at lateral footwork in the pocket too. This is what keeps guys from being sacked while those big plays develop and ultimately separates guys like Aaron Rodgers from those who just have good arms and a clean pocket.

    • Cwizz

      Very structured system huh? Please, explain your vast understanding of the system he plays in. We’ll wait….

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        Well, apparently you didn’t catch the short piece about Palmer and Arians yesterday. You really didn’t have to though. They predominantly run the ball and do not take huge risks. As Carson Palmer explained last night- every deep throw is by design and many, if not all, are pre-determined. There are less reads for the QB to go through and they do not wait around for plays to develop or receivers to open up.

        Arians is a mastermind and a control freak. There are not many accidents, good or bad, in his system. The Cards do all they can to avoid putting the defense in a bad spot. This is in stark contrast to what a team like Green Bay does on offense.

  • Malachi

    keeping brandon williams in check is impressive

  • Malachi

    keeping brandon williams in check is impressive