When the Arizona Cardinals signed veteran Carson Palmer in the offseason, it was a clear move towards improving their depleted offense. The 2012 Cardinals showcased three different quarterbacks throughout the season. After having one of the worst offenses in the league, it was clear some change was needed.
Through two games now, Palmer has proven to be the previously missing offensive piece for the Cardinals as they are 1-1 and fresh off a win against the Detroit Lions. Against the Lions, Palmer threw for nearly 250 yards and spread the ball out to 10 different receivers. Larry Fitzgerald didn’t have as big of an impact against the Lions as he did in Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams, but Palmer was still successful despite only completing two passes to his standout wide receiver.
The run game for the Cardinals, which is also improved from last season, failed to gain over 100 yards but feature back Rashard Mendenhall made the most of his 15 carries gaining a total of 66 yards on the ground, giving him a 4.4 yards per carry average against a tough Lions defensive line.
The Cardinals were in danger of entering into a shootout with the high-powered Lions offense that scored two touchdowns early, but it was the defense that stepped up in the second half allowing just seven points that gave the Cardinals’ offense the opportunity to come back and get the win. Tyrann Mathieu was a big part of the defense again in his limited role as he compiled six tackles and broke up one pass on the day.
The biggest drive of the day for the Cardinals offense started with just four and a half minutes left in the game when Palmer, with the help of a pass interference call, moved the ball 61-yards in two and a half minutes for a touchdown. Mendenhall got the eventual score running up the gut for a one-yard touchdown with just two minutes remaining in the game.
Through two games now, the Cardinals stand at an even 1-1, and the improved offensive play is the clear reason why. The defense for the Cardinals has been spotty through two games, but if they can reach the level they played at last season this Cardinals team could become a surprise contender in the NFC West.