Losing Carson Palmer for the rest of the season to a torn ACL may not be the end of the world. Yes, Palmer was playing his best football in years, but Stanton was a viable replacement earlier in the year. Filling in for 3 games earlier this season, Stanton led the Cardinals to a 2-1 record with the lone loss coming against the Broncos. Although not as effective as Palmer, Stanton compares quite well in certain measures:
Surprisingly, Stanton actually has a higher QBR (67.7) this season than Palmer (64.8). However, it’ll be difficult for him to keep that level of play up for the rest of the season. He plays Detroit and Kansas City, currently the top two defenses in the league, and at Seattle all in the next four weeks. Stanton has also led the Cardinals on offensive possessions that on average only result in 2.9 yards less per drive than the oft-injured starter did. On the chart below, you’ll see that Arizona even averages slightly more points per possession with Stanton as QB.
The yards/att stat suggests that Bruce Arians has reeled in the offense with Stanton at the helm. He won’t win you many shootouts, but if he continues to avoid turnovers (0 on the season), and the Cards keep playing outstanding defense, (18.9 points allowed per game, 4th fewest) they still have a good chance at winning the division. Stanton entered Sunday’s game against the Rams trailing 14-10 with 9:45 left in the game. He led them on a 4-play, 89-yard drive in 2:05 for the go-ahead score. If he can keep delivering bombs like that one, Arizona will continue to be one of the NFC’s best teams.