The Arizona Cardinals are 3-0, one of only three undefeated teams in this young 2014 NFL season. Raise your hand if you’re not an Arizona fan and you predicted this.
I saw firsthand last season just how good this team was/is when they walked into Seattle in Week 16 and unrepentantly became the first team to beat the Seahawks at the CLink in the last 14 games. I still had some doubts. I wondered how they’d adapt after losing All Pro linebacker Karlos Dansby to free agency, Daryl Washington to suspension, Darnell Dockett to injury and would be short one Honey Badger for the early part of the season. After Week 1, I kind of wondered what their offense would look like after starter Carson Palmer went down with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. I didn’t know if their defense could afford to lose yet another major contributor in John Abraham to concussion issues.
Here’s the real reason why it worked. Scroll back up the shot before the snap and notice where Peyton is lined up. Now look at where he ends up before he throws the ball. How did this happen? The Seahawks suddenly thought it would be a GREAT idea to use one of their defensive tackles to spy instead of rushing Manning, which is what had been working all day.
On this play, the right defensive end decided to go way inside to try to account for the defensive tackle that dropped out. That allowed Peyton to drive damn near to the numbers away from pressure to deliver the ball down field.
I talked about timing before. The problem for the offense on this play is that for it to work well, it takes a looooooonnnnnnng time for those routes to cross down field. Way more time than the Seahawks pass rush would normally allow.