The now 3-2 Arizona Cardinals traveled to New York to play the now 0-5 Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday in Week 5. The Cardinals dominated the Jets, 30-10, winning their first game by 20 points since Christmas Eve in 2017.
All aspects of this team needed to step up in this game coming into the week on a two-game losing streak, playing against a winless team and with a difficult schedule ahead.
The issues the Cardinals faced in previous weeks were errors made by quarterback Kyler Murray, no rhythm or big plays on offense, injuries suffered by defensive players, and bad play calls by head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Most of these areas were noticeably improved in the game against a weak Jets team.
Murray finished the game completing 27 of his 37 pass attempts, throwing for 380 yards and rushing for 31 yards⎯ one of his rushes resulting in a touchdown. The three TDs were scored by three different players on the Cardinals, highlighting the options this team has on offense. Murray did have one interception on the day, which resulted in the Jets getting their first 3 points on the board.
The offense had a lot more rhythm with running backs Chase Edmonds and Kenyan Drake getting the ball and making plays, helping the offense drive down the field. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had an impressive 45-yard sideline catch and on the same drive, completed a one-handed catch in double coverage for 37 yards, which resulted in a TD.
Hopkins is the fourth-youngest player to reach 9,000 receiving yards right behind teammate and veteran Cardinal, Larry Fitzgerald.
Something the Cardinals struggle with on offense is rhythm and the run game outside of Murray. The running backs the Cardinals have were not being utilized as well as Fitzgerald and Hopkins not getting enough targets.
This is the NFL, not college. No running back in the league is fast enough to make yardage on an outside handoff, defenses are too quick. Drake needs to put his head down, go up the middle, find the holes and drive upfield. We saw glimpses of his success from last season in this game and he finished with one catch for two yards and rushed for 60 yards and a TD.
Linebacker and huge contributor to the Cardinals defensive core, Chandler Jones, suffered a bicep injury in the game and was ruled out for the remainder of the day. Linebacker Dennis Gardeck, who came into the game with no sacks, stepped up and finished the game with two sacks, stopping New York’s momentum and making plays when the team needed it.
Kingsbury is newer to this team as well as a lot of players in this organization. Losing two weeks in a row is exactly what this team needed after all of the hype a 2-0 record brought. This is because there are still many holes and many aspects this team is still missing. Today is the first time the tight end position was really targeted.
Even though the Cardinals are so strong in the wide receiver area, every successful team in the NFL has a powerful TE, the Chiefs, Ravens, Raiders, etc.
The Cardinals are trying to win a Super Bowl.
With the tools to do it, efficient, well-played games and with smart play-calling, it can be possible.