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:
– 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.
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)
– 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.
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)