The final regular season game report card is in. Let's take a look:
Offense: C +
Carson Palmer finished his first season as Cardinals quarterback in fine fashion, throwing for 407 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He became the first player in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season with three different clubs (Raiders, Bengals). He finished with 4,274 passing yards this season and came on strong in the second half of the campaign.
Larry Fitzgerald completed another fine season with six catches for 113 yards while second-year WR Michael Floyd added six receptions for 91 yards. Tight end Rob Housler had his most productive game of 2013 with five catches for 78 yards while Andre Roberts chipped in with a 34-yard touchdown catch from Palmer.
The offensive line allowed only one sack but the rushing attack was disappointing as Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington combined for just 77 yards on the ground.
The Cardinals dug themselves into an early 17-0 hole but climbed out of it only to fall in the end. Calais Campbell and Dan Williams recorded sacks while Yeremiah Bell had a team-high eight tackles.
The Red Birds allowed just 83 rushing yards (Frank Gore has just 14) proving they are the best run defensive unit in the league. They did allow 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to throw for 310 yards and two scores though and former Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin had a huge game against his former team – the veteran wide out had nine receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown. You know he was pumped up facing many of his former teammates.
Special Teams: C -
This grade would have been higher but Jay Feely missed two critical field goals when every point mattered in this hard-hitting contest. Feely did nail a 43-yarder with 29 seconds left to knot the game up at 20-20. Will Feely be back in 2014? It will be interesting to find out.
Punter Dave Zastudil completed another fine season with a 49.3 average on just three boots while the Red Birds allowed San Francisco's Michael James to average 15 yards on three punt returns – a little too much. Patrick Peterson had just one punt return for two yards and has not returned a punt to paydirt for two seasons now.
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Tags: Andre Ellington, Anquan Boldin, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Carson Palmer, Colin Kaepernick, Football, Jay Feely, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, NFL, Rashard Mendenhall, Rob Housler