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Arizona Cardinals’ Report Card Vs. Tennessee Titans

December 16th, 2013 at 3:50 PM
By Steve Smith

'' photo (c) 2008, Seth Page - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals barely escaped with a 37-34 overtime victory over the Tennessee Titans yesterday in Nashville. Their report card is in. Let's take a look:

OFFENSE: B

The Cardinals got an excellent effort from rookie running back Andre Ellington, who had 158 combined yards from scrimmage. He looks like a real special player. Rashard Mendenhall had a pair of rushing touchdowns and quarterback Carson Palmer (20-30, 231 yards, 1 TD) was efficient if not spectacular. Larry Fitzgerald was held to six catches for 49 yards and suffered a concussion during the game. Michael Floyd had just two receptions for 33 yards. He's been battling shoulder and ankle injuries and doesn't look like himself. Rob Housler missed the game but tight end Jake Ballard caught a six-yard TD pass from Palmer to give the Red Birds a 20-17 lead late in the third quarter. Palmer is now dealing with a low ankle sprain.

DEFENSE: D

What happened to Arizona's defense? They were out to lunch in blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead. They allowed journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for 402 yards and 4 touchdowns – not good. Kendall Wright had a huge game with 12 receptions for 150 yards. Arizona did have two interceptions though (both by Antoine Cason).Cason's INT in overtime helped set up Jay Feely's game-winning field goal. The Cards did record three sacks, including a half sack by John Abraham, giving him a team-leading 11 1/2 this season. However, even on the road, coughing up a huge fourth quarter lead like that is not too inspiring.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -

This grade would have been higher but the Cardinals allowed the Titans to recover an onside kick very late in the fourth quarter to set up their tying touchdown in regulation. What a crazy ending. Otherwise, Jay Feely connected on all three of his field goal attempts, including the 41-yarder to win it. Javier Arenas averaged 24 yards on three kickoff returns and punter Dave Zastudil was solid as usual, averaging 53 yards on four boots. He continues to be very underrated.

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Tags: Andre Ellington, Antoine Cason, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Carson Palmer, Football, Jake Ballard, Jay Feely, Kendall Wright, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, NFL, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Fitzpatrick

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