ReFo: Cardinals at Giants, Week 2
Arizona flew cross-country to take on the Giants after an impressive fourth-quarter comeback against the Chargers on Monday night. New York, meanwhile, returned home from Detroit after a disappointing effort against Megatron & Co.. Things looked to be favoring the Giants in their home opener when quarterback Carson Palmer was deactivated just two hours before kickoff for the Cardinals, leaving Drew Stanton to play in his first NFL regular season game since 2010.
After Arizona got off to a quick 10-0 start, Eli Manning and the Giants took control of the game, and even took the lead in the fourth quarter. But four turnovers cost them dearly, as did a Ted Ginn 71-yard punt return touchdown, and Arizona was ultimately able to come away with the 25-14 victory.
Arizona Cardinals – Performances of Note
Drew Stanton, QB: -2.6
Breakdown: Having been stuck behind the likes of Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck and now Palmer in his career, Stanton got just his fifth-ever start Sunday, and his first game action in four years. He made enough plays to help the Cardinals to victory, and most importantly did not turn the ball over. Stanton struggled with his accuracy throughout the game, though, and Arizona will need Palmer back sooner than later if they want to continue their winning ways against stronger opponents.
Signature Stat: Stanton’s Accuracy Percentage of 60.7% is 28th out of 30 quarterbacks so far in Week 2.
Antonio Cromartie, CB: +1.6
Breakdown: While Patrick Peterson gets most of the attention at cornerback for the Cardinals, Cromartie has quietly had a very good start to the season. After coming over from the Jets in the spring, he has allowed just three receptions on seven targets for 20 total yards so far this year, including two passes defensed.
Signature Play: Q4, 2:48 remaining. Cromartie makes a nice breakup of a deep ball intended for Rueben Randle.
Bobbie Massie, RT: -1.4
Breakdown: Massie took over as the starter for Eric Winston this offseason, as the Cardinals hoped the third-year tackle would finally come into his own after showing flashes of ability in the past, particularly in the second half of his 2012 rookie campaign. Although he only gave up one official pressure in this game, he actually had three more wiped out because of penalty, and had trouble handling outside speed rushes all game.
Signature Play: Q4, 14:24 remaining. DE Robert Ayers goes right around Massie to get in on a sack of Stanton, but a defensive holding call bails him out.
New York Giants – Performances of Note
Eli Manning, QB: +0.9
Breakdown: Although he gets his share (and more) of the blame when things aren’t going well, Manning showed that when given time, he is still one of the better quarterbacks around. He struggled when under pressure, completing just three of 10 passes for 22 yards and an interception, but otherwise he was 23-of-29 for 255 yards, a solid 8.8 yards per attempt. Against Arizona the offensive line kept him pretty clean, allowing pressure on just 12 of 42 drop-backs, despite the Cardinals blitzing exactly half of the time.
Signature Stat: Manning’s average Time to Throw so far this year has been just 2.41 seconds, one of the lowest in the league. In addition, he has had seven passes dropped, second most overall.
Larry Donnell, TE: +4.0
Breakdown: Donnell continued his terrific start to the season with an even better performance than his opening act in Detroit. He hauled in seven more passes on nine targets for 81 yards, including a pair of acrobatic catches in tight coverage.
Signature Play: Q4, 7:51 remaining. Donnell shows excellent body control, snagging a throw from Manning as Cardinals safety Deone Bucannon can only watch.
Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, CB: +2.2
Breakdown: Rodgers-Cromartie was solid in coverage all game, allowing just three catches for 18 yards on eight total targets, after allowing 126 last week. He also demonstrated some unusual physicality while keeping Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald in check for most of the afternoon, totaling five tackles.
Signature Play: Q2, 8:37 remaining. Playing off-coverage on a little hitch route, Rodgers-Cromartie hammers Floyd, separating him from the ball and preventing an Arizona first down.
After signing a big free agent deal in the offseason with the Cardinals to help bolster the return game, Ted Ginn delivered in a big way, earning our game ball.
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