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The Turnover Ratio

Posted Oct 21, 2011

Notebook: Cards hope Steelers' drought continues; Peterson's family ties

The end zone interception of safety Adrian Wilson was an important play when the Cardinals knocked off the Steelers in 2007.

After the Cardinals lost in Minnesota following a spat of early turnovers – and could-have-been-turnovers from the Vikings that weren’t – the Cards come into Sunday’s game against the Steelers knowing Pittsburgh has had equal issues in that part of the game.

The difference is that the Steelers have managed to forge a 4-2 record despite being a stunning minus-10 in turnover ratio this season. The big reason is that the Pittsburgh defense, even with a No. 1 ranking because of yards allowed, has forced just two turnovers this season.

“We’ve had our moments,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ve lacked the signature plays, the splash plays that define our team. … We’re doing enough to win. I’d like to see more signature-like plays, the type of plays we’ve had around here in the past.”

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald said the Steelers aren’t playing any different.

“Turnovers just happen,” Fitzgerald said. “There will be games where you turn the ball over three or four times and you move up the rankings.  They will get there. We just don’t want it to be this week.”

The Cardinals aren’t exactly dominant in creating turnovers either. They have four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in five games, and could use some game-changing plays of their own to reverse their slide.

But more importantly they need to continue the Steelers’ drought. The Cardinals have mostly done a good job of avoiding being hurt by their own turnovers, at least before the last game in Minnesota. In the first four games of the year, the Cards surrendered zero points on their seven turnovers.

Against the Vikings, four Arizona turnovers turned into 17 Minnesota points. That’s what the Cards can’t have against the Steelers.

“Statistically they are a good (defense),” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “The thing that is impressive is they have done it with different guys. I don’t notice anything different.”

PETERSON AND HIS COUSIN

Rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson is cousins with former Cards cornerback – and current Steeler – Bryant McFadden. Peterson actually was at University of Phoenix Stadium for a Cardinals’ game before becoming a Card, attending what turned out to be McFadden’s final home game as a Cardinal when they beat the Packers, 51-45, in the wild card playoff game following the 2009 season.

Peterson said he has gotten advice from his NFL bloodline.

“Seventy percent of the game is mental,” Peterson said. “You want to study your craft so you can be the best you can be. That’s what I need to do, be a student of the game, and that’s what he told me.”

McFadden struggled in his lone season in Arizona. After signing as a free agent and leaving Pittsburgh after the 2008 season, the Cards traded him back after the 2009 season as part of the deal that allowed them to draft quarterback John Skelton.

ATTACKING THE LINE

The Cardinals want to get after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been sacked 18 times this season already and continues to have offensive line problems – center Maurkice Pouncey is expected to play but he is nursing a bad elbow, while guard Doug Legursky (toe) is out.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, whose unit has 11 sacks so far but only two in the past two games, shrugged off Pittsburgh’s injury woes on the line.

“You know something, (the Steelers’ offensive line) has been banged up for the last 10 years, really,” Horton said. “They just do what they do.”

For the Cardinals, tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) didn’t practice for a third straight day but was listed as questionable, as was fellow tight end Jim Dray (pectoral). Safety Kerry Rhodes is out after foot surgery.

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