SF-ARI Grades: Cardinals keep rolling in NFC West

The top takeaways from Sunday’s San Francisco-Arizona game, including the highest-graded players for each team.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

SF-ARI Grades: Cardinals keep rolling in NFC West

Here are the top takeaways from Sunday’s San Francisco-Arizona game, including the highest-graded players for each team:

Arizona Cardinals:

– QB Carson Palmer’s (+6.2) hot start continued this week, as he pierced the 49ers’ defense with no less than nine standout throws, three of which, unfortunately for his stat line, were dropped. Near-perfect when challenging the middle of the field (13-of-14, 199 yards and a TD), Palmer had no problem solving the SF secondary and has boosted himself into the race for the top spot among the league’s passers.

– Palmer’s go-to target, WR Larry Fitzgerald (+4.1 receiving, +4.4 overall), hauled in nine of the 11 balls his way for 134 yards and two scores, and did so seemingly against the entire 49er defense. With catches into the coverage of seven different defenders and room to work all day, San Francisco simply didn’t have the answer on the field.

– Slot-slash-safety Tyrann Mathieu (+3.3 coverage) was thrown at three times and gave up two yards on the one completion he allowed. The other two? He picked them both and returned one for a score. On track to easily surpass the outstanding form of his rookie year, Mathieu’s +7.3 overall grade for the season stands among the league’s best.

Top Performers:

QB Carson Palmer (+6.2)

WR Larry Fitzgerald (+4.4)

S Tyrann Mathieu (+4.2)

DE Frostee Rucker (+2.5)

C Lyle Sendlein (+2.5)


San Francisco 49ers:

– QB Colin Kaepernick’s (-7.9) experience this week can be found at the far end of the spectrum from Palmer’s, as he balanced the accuracy of his Arizona counterpart with his own series of poor decisions. A pair of early pick-sixes set the stage, and when all was done, the 49er had a streak of red grades marking the right side of his passing map. On six attempts outside the right numbers, Kaepernick completed two and threw four interceptions.

– Rookie DE Arik Armstead (+1.7) picked up his first positively-graded game and added three total pressures to the two he gathered last week. His snap count gradually increasing (up to 18 plays this week); he also logged the first three defensive stops of his young career.

– The interior trio on San Francisco’s O-line collectively had a day to forget. While there wasn’t much damage done in pass protection (a sack, two hits and a hurry was the group’s total allowed), they each graded negatively as run blockers—C Marcus Martin at -4.2, LG Alex Boone at -2.2, and RG Jordan Devey at -1.7—regularly overwhelmed by the Arizona front.

Top Performers:

DE Arik Armstead (+1.7)

DE Quinton Dial (+1.0)

LT Joe Staley (+1.0)

TE Garrett Celek (+0.9)

CB Dontae Johnson (+0.9)


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  • crosseyedlemon

    I know PFF doesn’t grade the coaches but I’d have to think the Cardinals coaching staff would be near the top right now as they have done an excellent job of recognizing weaknesses in their opponents that they can exploit.

  • Steve

    I’m still waiting for the Cards to lose 10 games in a row. Right now, some experts and prognosticators should be brushing up on their resume skills.

    • Sam Doohan

      You’ll be waiting a long time. Even without Palmer they didn’t go on that kind of a slump. I’m certainly reserving judgement on the Cards playoff chances until they play against some truly quality opponents, but they are going to be on a tear the next few weeks.

      There’s a solid chance they go 8-0 into the bye; their scedule is the perennially lackluster Ram, the Lions, my Ben-less Steelers, a Ravens team that’s in freefall and the Brownies. 8-0 isn’t even a stretch. That seems likely. Even if they drop both games against the Hawks (1-1 is more likely) and against Green Bay that puts them at 13-3 which is a dominant record.

      I agree that the Cards haven’t yet proved themselves against high-caliber teams but it seems totally reasonable that they make the playoffs again.

      • Steve

        From your lips(or keyboard) to God’s ears.

        I meant it in jest, just because there were some prognosticators that said the Cards were going to win their first 2 games and then go on a 10 game losing streak, as they didn’t believe in the team because of their numbers they had on the team. It must have been a geek at a computer that had no idea anything real about the team.

  • Jack Wambaugh

    how is pp21 doing?? he’s seemed to play well this season, he gave up only 40 yards to cooks, got a pick on the bears, and was targeted once from the 49ers. thanks

  • Ridgeback

    I think ARZ or DEN pushing for top defense in the league right now. Denver is a little short on run D and ARZ a little short on pass rush but they are really stout overall.