Although not perfect, QB Derek Anderson's first game as a Cardinal was a success. Reports of Anderson's streaky play were accurate as he complete his first six passes, en route to a 10 for 13 start. Anderson then misfired on his next seven attempts only to finish strong on the eventual game-winning drive, hitting on 6 of 7 passes for 101 yards (due to penalties).
Anderson finished the game 22 of 41 for 297 yards and a touchdown. More impressive was the toughness he displayed hanging in the pocket against a relentless Rams pass rush. Anderson was hit nine times and sacked twice on the afternoon.
WR Larry Fitzgerald is still less than 100 percent but managed to reel in the game-winning score from QB Derek Anderson midway through the fourth quarter against the Rams. Fitzgerald was targeted 15 times only to catch 3 passes for 43 yards. As he returns to full strength and his timing with Anderson improves, expect his numbers to increase in the coming weeks.
Whisenhunt quote on Anderson and Fitzgerald: "Some of it was Larry was in the wrong spot on how to run the route, some of it was Derek getting a feel for Larry. That's normal first-game stuff. We've been spoiled the last two, three years because Kurt (Warner) and Larry got I don't know how many reps together."
WR Early Doucet has struggled with injuries since arriving in Arizona and this year is shaping up to be no different. Doucet is now dealing with a lingering groin injury that could keep him out of action for a week or two. Doucet will be re-evaluated on Wednesday but expect rookies Stephen Williams and Max Komar to help fill the void for the time being.
Reminiscent of departed Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin, Doucet made a couple tough catches over the middle early on in St. Louis. If he can stay healthy, Doucet has a chance to develop into an exceptional all-around receiver but must be on the field to do so.
There were questions surrounding whether Steve Breaston could emerge as the team's second wideout but he passed his first test with flying colors. With Fitzgerald still battling a knee injury, Breaston picked up the slack, hauling in seven passes for 132 yards. His breakout performance should free up room for Fitzgerald as the season progresses.
Breaston also made the play of the game against the Rams, stripping Clifton Ryan inside the five-yard line following a Derek Anderson fumble. The play resulted in a touchback and prevented St. Louis from taking a 20-10 lead.
Whisenhunt quote on the play: "The play that is indicative of our team is the one where Steve Breaston ran the defensive player down and got the ball out. That never give up, never quit attitude -- which I see in a lot of our players -- I think is the reason we were able to win the game today."
RB Beanie Wells is also dealing with injuries and missed the regular-season opener in St. Louis with a bruised knee. Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling filled in admirably but Hightower's two fumbles are a reason for concern. Expect Wells back in the lineup this Sunday as his role gradually increases starting Week 2 in Atlanta.
The Cardinals' running game racked up 112 yards on the ground while averaging over five yards per carry against the Rams.
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