And Look OK Doing It
Despite The Off-Season Revamping Of The Defense — And Especially The Linebacking Corps — Stopping The San Diego Chargers Was Not A Concern. Also, Mercury Gets Stanton’s Support And Dbacks Relieve Kevin Towers
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
Sept. 9, 2014 — The Cardinals were able to squeak by with an 18-17 win over the Chargers to start the season. The offense struggled early on, but then found a rhythm
For the first few quarters of Monday night’s season opener, it didn’t look good for the Cardinals. Luckily, it didn’t look good for the visiting Chargers either. The two teams combined for just nine first half points and the Cardinals entered the second half with a 6-3 lead.
But, both teams ended up scoring two touchdowns in the second half to end the game, which came down to one point because of two Cardinals failed two-point conversions.
Middle linebacker Larry Foote was without a doubt the player of the game. The savvy veteran had Cardinals fans saying Karlos who? Daryl who? Foote finished the game with eight tackles, two for a loss. But, his biggest hit came on the ball, not another player.
Arizona Cardinals Defensive Stats
On 4th-and-2 and down 18-17 with just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Chargers had to go for it to try and reach field goal range. The Cardinals brought pressure and Philip Rivers tried to dump it off over the middle to Keenan Allen. But, linebacker Larry Foote got his hand up in time and deflected the pass.
The Chargers opened up the second half in a big way, scoring twice on a six-yard Malcolm Floyd reception and a 20-yard run by Ryan Matthews to jump to a 17-6 lead.
The Cardinals answered with a five-yard touchdown pass to running back Stepfan Taylor early in the fourth quarter. But, the team failed on the two point conversion try.
Arizona Cardinals Rushing and Receiving Stats
The Arizona defense then stood tall and returned the ball to offense. Quarterback Carson Palmer then led the team on an 11-play, 91-yard drive to score the go-ahead touchdown. Malcolm Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald both had impressive catches to keep the drive alive. Fitzgerald only caught the one, 22-yard diving catch, but it was enough to keep his streak of 150 straight games with a reception alive.
Rookie receiver Jon Brown then finished the drive, taking a screen pass 12 yards for the score.
The Mercury got off to a good start in the WNBA finals, defeating the Chicago 83-62 in the first game of series on Sunday. Phoenix got off to a quick start, leading 42-20 at halftime. The Sky managed to play pretty even ball the rest of the game, but the damage was already done.
Phoenix’s Candice Dupree led all scorers with 26 points. Diana Taurasi added 19 points, 11 assists and two steals for the Mercury.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is one step closer to winning a very tasty bet with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The two mayors engaged in a friendly wager over who would win the Finals. If Phoenix wins, Emanuel will send Stanton Al's Italian Beef, Vosges' Haut-Chocolat bacon and chocolate bars and a six-pack of Lagunitas IPA beer.
If Chicago wins, Stanton will treat Emanuel to a meal by Barrio Cafe chef Silvana Esparza. It will be made up of a Low-Rider Margarita and the restaurant’s signature meal, "a slow-roasted pork smothered in achiote rojo and sour orange and wrapped in banana leaves," according to a news release.
Arizona began the rebuilding process last week by firing General Manager Kevin Towers. Towers appeared to lose a firm grip on the job midway through this disappointing season when the team brought in Tony LaRussa as Chief Baseball Officer.
The Diamondbacks have not hired a replacement yet, but ESPN has reported the team has talked to former pitcher, pitching coach and assistant GM Dave Stewart and Cardinals farm director Gary LaRocque about the job.
The team has offered Towers the chance to remain with the organization in another capacity, but he is waiting until a new GM is hired to make his decision. As of now, it appears manager Kirk Gibson’s job is safe, but that could all change when a new GM is hired.
Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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