Everyone seems to have an opinion on Derek Anderson but so far, reports on the former Cleveland Browns quarterback have held true. Inaccurate, streaky both fit the bill following Sunday's 17-13 come from behind win against the St. Louis Rams. However, Anderson showed up when it mattered most going 6 of 7 for 101 yards (yes, 101 yards due to penalties) on the eventual game-winning drive.
There are several concerns that can be taken away from this game – particularly the lack of cohesiveness between Anderson and WR Larry Fitzgerald – but that's to be understood at this point and will only get better. Both players were out of sync throughout the afternoon, showing their frustrations on several occasions. But they stuck with it and Anderson hit Fitzgerald in the corner of the end zone for the game winner during late fourth-quarter action.
Another knock on Anderson has been is inefficiencies on shorter routes but he proved solid in that area against the Rams. Initially, Anderson was a little shaky but starting to hit a grove with wideout Steve Breaston, mainly on shorter crossing routes. Breaston was tremendous running after the catch and wound up with seven grabs for 132 yards – leading the team in both categories.
Anderson settled into a nice rhythm late in the game and his final stat line of 22 of 41 for 297 yards and a touchdown is respectable. Furthermore, he maintained a QB rating of 85.1 and didn't throw an interception.
While Anderson didn't throw an interception, he did make some questionable decisions – something that has plagued him from the start of training camp and through the preseason. But again this will get better. He's learning more and more about the offense while on the job. More concerning at this point is his ball security in the pocket. Anderson coughed it up twice, turning the ball over on just one occasion but that must be tightened up starting next week.
The key to take away from this game is Anderson's toughness and his refusal to quit. After the Rams went ahead 13-10, there were some subpar moments but he stuck with it and that paid off. This was undoubtedly an ugly win for the Cardinals but a win that brings teams together and certainly will allow them to rally behind a quarterback they believe in.
It's hard to trust that Matt Leinart could have responded to the adversity brought in the regular season opener, confirming coach Ken Whisenhunt's decision to go with Anderson, at least up to this point in time.
Instant Analysis: Derek Anderson
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