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Despite 40, Bruce Arians Wants More

Posted Sep 19, 2016

Cardinals dominate in first win of season, but coach -- and players -- see many missed chances

Despite 40 points and 416 yards of offense, coach Bruce Arians was disappointed how many more points and yards were left available Sunday.

The Cardinals won by 33 points Sunday, and Bruce Arians wasn’t particularly happy.

“We should have had 50, you know?” Arians said the day after the Cardinals posted a 40-7 win over Tampa Bay. “We left at least 100, 120 yards and two touchdowns out there.”

It was a harsh way to look at a game in which the Cardinals piled up 416 yards of offense and 33 points (the Cards got a defensive touchdown from cornerback Marcus Cooper.) It was the third time in the team’s last 16 regular-season games the team had gotten 40 points, five touchdowns and 400 yards – after having just five such games in the 29 years before 2015.

Arians was having none of it.

“We can get a hell of a lot better,” Arians said.

His players weren’t in disagreement, either.

“There was definitely a lot of self-inflicted things preventing us from having more success, and we’re going to need to fix those things to have success down the road,” tackle Jared Veldheer said. “Every game is not going to be a 40-7 game, so you have to make those plays for when those games become tight and you rely on every play to have a chance.”

Most of Arians’ specific ire went toward running back David Johnson, who statistically shined. Johnson had 45 yards rushing and added another 98 on three receptions and was spectacular on a few of those plays.

Yet Arians saw Johnson mess up a pair of routes that Johnson himself called “boneheaded,” one of which not only likely cost the Cardinals a touchdown but nearly cost quarterback Carson Palmer his first interception of the year before Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes dropped the ball in the end zone.

“It’s definitely going to eat at me, especially after watching film,” Johnson said. “There was stuff I can’t really explain. Just MEs (mental errors.)”

Johnson’s other errant route resulted in Palmer getting sacked.

Palmer actually had a nice day, completing 18-of-31 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions.

Still, “we had a lot of MEs and missed assignments,” running back Chris Johnson said. “We did a little better, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

“We played OK, but we left a lot of yards out there, a lot of points out there,” he added.

Arians didn’t exclude the other two facets of the game. He was disappointed cornerback Patrick Peterson dropped an interception, although the two game balls went to Cooper and safety Tony Jefferson, who is off to a blazing start this season.

Arians also said kicker Chandler Catanzaro just missed on the team’s errant extra point, although he allowed that rookie long snapper Kam Canaday was “a little bit erratic again.” There are no plans to look at another long snapper, Arians said.

The win was good news. But Arians wasn’t going to let it overshadow what has to change heading to Buffalo next weekend.

“It’s good that he keeps us grounded,” David Johnson said.

CARDINALS SUFFER NO SIGINFICANT INJURIES

Health is good – Arians said no one should miss any time on the bumps and bruises suffered Sunday – although the coach later said on his “Bickley and Marotta” radio appearance both linebacker Kareem Martin (knee) and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (knee) will remain sidelined for the Buffalo game.

Arians said guard Evan Mathis suffered a slight turf toe in the game, but played well. “He’s a tough old bird,” Arians said. 

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