The Arizona Cardinals looked hungrier than ever to get one step closer toward their first playoff berth since 2009. The team was firing on all cylinders as it hosted the Indianapolis Colts Sunday afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Not only was Arizona's defense in top form -- highlighted by Karlos Dansby's 22-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter -- but the team got big contributions from players at the skill positions: Carson Palmer broke 300 yards passing; Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington combined for more than 100 yards rushing; Michael Floyd went over 100 yards receiving; and Larry Fitzgerald caught two first-half touchdowns.
In total, it was a near-perfect day for the Cardinals, as they torched Indianapolis for a 40-11 win.
Kicker Jay Feely also got in on the fun, booting four field goals (including two from 48 yards or farther). However, Feely's first field goal try of the game was blocked, marking his first miss since Week 1.
The Cardinals amassed more than 400 yards on offense, while holding Indianapolis to 239. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had a QB rating of just 60.1 on the day, completing 20-of-39 passes for 163 yards, one touchdown and one pick-six.
The Colts did not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, when Luck went over the middle to tight end Coby Fleener for 17 yards. That score (and the following two-point converstion) brought Indianapolis within 23, but Feeley added two field goals in the fourth to mark the final score.
Arizona improved to 7-4 on the season and is currently in second in the NFC West. It is the team's best start since 2009 -- which was the last time it made the playoffs. The Colts fell to 7-4, although they still maintain a comfortable lead in the AFC South.
The Cardinals converted seven out of 14 first downs.
The defense got to Luck often, racking up eight QB hits.
Mendenhall had a big first quarter, and he capped off his productive day with a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The six-year veteran had his both his longest run (15 yards) and his longest catch (24) of the season.
Tight end Rob Housler was also active in the Cardinals offense. He had two long first-quarter grabs, and he finished with four catches for 51 yards.
Palmer completed 26 out of 37 passes and had two touchdowns and a QB rating of 114.
Not much to complain about here, but the Cardinals did have nine penalties for 84 yards. A holding call on tight end Jim Dray in the fourth quarter took away what would have been Mendenhall's second rushing touchdown of the day.
The offensive line had a better showing than it usually does, but the linemen still allowed three sacks on Palmer and six QB hits.
The offense tried running a couple plays for Patrick Peterson, but he wasn't too effective. Peterson had one catch for -4 yards and one run for 2 yards.
- With five catches for 52 yards, Fitzgerald became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 yards receiving.
- Floyd had his second-straight game of more than 100 yards receiving -- the first time in his two-year career he's had consecutive games of breaking that mark.
- Palmer's 314 passing yards marked the 30th time in his career he's topped the 300-yard mark, including his second occasion for the Cardinals.
- The Cardinals 7-4 record ties their best mark since moving to Arizona. The only other years they've done it were 1988 and 2009.
- It was the Cardinals' first time topping 30 points all season, and their first 40-point game since beating the Denver Broncos 43-13 in 2010. That game also marked the last time they've won by such a large margin.
Arizona travels to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles, who are currently tied for lead in the NFC East. Kickoff is at 11:00 a.m. MST. Watch the game on Fox 10 or tune in to KTAR 92.3 FM or Arizona Sports 620 AM.