It’s been all red for the Arizona Cardinals as they literally clobber their opponents and make a strong statement early in the season, sending a message to their division rivals and to the rest of the NFL: We’re in it to win it.
Following a blowout of 47-7 this past weekend over the 49ers, in a game that was entirely one-sided from the start, the rest of the nation is starting to agree with Arizona, this team is hot; red hot.
A look at their points tally through the first three games is telling. At 126 points scored, they’ve already set a new franchise record, and lead the NFL for most points scored. The defense has helped put 20 of those points on the board, but the offense has done plenty of work. This ties the NFL record for fourth-most points scored during the first three games of the NFL season.
AZ has tacked on 17 touchdowns this season thus far, tying for third-most in NFL history. They also have two games where they’ve scored 40 or more points, which has not happened since 1969. A look at last game, where they picked off the 49ers for two defensive touchdowns in the first half and four picks overall, is telling.
Head coach Bruce Arians says that the team is still learning, though. ''We still had too many penalties, turned the ball over, missed a couple of hots (reads),'' he said. ''We still haven't scratched it offensively in my mind, how good we can be.''
It’s all about taking it one day at a time.
''I think the best thing our players do right now is they go day to day,'' Arians said. ''They let everybody talk about all that other crap, December and January and all the stats, but we just go to work each day. And if we can stay that way, we'll be all right.''
Chris Johnson has really shined, notching 219 yards so far, something nobody expected.
''We're better up front. We're much better at tight end and our receivers are blocking extremely well,'' Arians said.
Guard Jonathan Cooper reiterated that the team has been strongly focused on the run game so they can open up the play-action pass for Palmer.
''It's just a versatility,'' Cooper said. ''We can run the ball, we can pass it deep, we've got a screen game and all that kind of thing. We provide a lot of offensive weapons that the defense has to focus on, which really opens it up for opportunities to score.''
This weekend the Cards host the Rams – and if the last three games weren’t telling enough, look for another strong showing.