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A Sacktastic Day In The Rain, And Giants Aftermath

This time, the rain seemed to help. I mean, the last time the Cardinals played in such crappy rain conditions (there was snow in Green Bay in 2018), they were in Miami in 2017 and Bruce Arians complained they were turning the rain on when the Cards had the ball and off when the Dolphins had it. It didn’t go well.

There’s no question the rain hurt the Cards offensively. Kyler Murray never found his footing as a passer – Fitz had only one catch – but when the running game is working like that, why pass? (It’s rhetorical. Don’t light me up in the comments because yes, there were a few times I thought they could’ve tried a little more down the field.) I get it. Edmonds was running well. The Giants weren’t doing a ton offensively most of the game.

And as good as Edmonds was, that was playing to the strength of the game, especially when they got the lead. Stop Saquon Barkley – and they mostly did – and make rookie QB Daniel Jones beat you – and he couldn’t. There was another win. On the road in a 10 a.m. Arizona start. Not bad at all.

-- Chandler Jones was spectacular. He didn’t say much after the game, because he’s usually loathe to talk himself up. But he looked like he smelled blood from the outset. Four sacks? And there was one sequence where he was basically tackled to the ground on a play Daniel Jones scrambled for the first down and couldn’t get the holding call. He raised his hands in complaint – really, it was the only way the Giants were able to stop him all day.

-- Yes, Patrick Peterson makes a difference. (He was sure to note that no passes were thrown at him when the Cardinals ran man-to-man coverage, completing one on three targets otherwise.) He was proud of his blitz strip-sack, immediately recalling the last time he blitzed was in Green Bay last year. He had fresh legs. You can tell. It was a good start, but Michael Thomas is up next.

-- Back to Edmonds and, perhaps more importantly, the offensive line. It was noted that Justin Pugh, former Giants lineman before they let him come to Arizona as a free agent, was part of the left side of the line that create the hole that Edmonds ran through on all three touchdown runs. But the offensive line as a whole needs props. Left tackle D.J. Humphries battled former teammate Markus Golden all day, and they did enough as a group. Murray was sacked only twice, and one was his fault – the 15-yard loss right before the blocked punt, on which Murray acknowledged he should’ve just thrown away. Right tackle Justin Murray has quietly fit in so as to be a non-story anymore, and both center A.Q. Shipley and right guard J.R. Sweezy have that nasty in them.

“For us to jump out hot, and them battle back and for us to be able to stay focused, I think that shows growth in our team, top to bottom,” Humphries said. “We stuck to our game plan.”

-- Edmonds became the first player in franchise history to have three rushing touchdowns of at least 20 yards in a game. The last player to do it in the NFL was Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin in 2012.

-- Edmonds had 126 yards rushing – and his last seven carries when the Giants knew he was coming gained in reverse order minus-1, 1, minus-6, 2, 7, minus-7, minus-1, minus-4. That’s a total of minus-9. Otherwise his numbers would’ve really popped.

-- Yes, that’s being picky. Edmonds (and his blocking) were great.

-- The Cardinals did give up a touchdown to a tight end, but it wasn’t Evan Engram, and in fact, Engram – a tight end and the Giants’ top pass-catcher – had only one catch, for six yards.

-- Hey, so that’s what an interception looks like. (Nice play by Jordan Hicks though.)

-- There were still some ill-timed penalties. Rookie Joshua Miles got duped into a false start when the Giants field-goal block team abruptly shifted pre-snap on a 51-yard try, pushing the Cards out of field-goal range.

-- Linebacker Dennis Gardeck got another partial block of a punt, his third in the last eight games. Alas, none count as punt blocks because the ball still went past the line of scrimmage.

-- Andy Isabella finally was targeted on a pass. The first play of the game went to him, gaining three yards.

-- Passing was at a premium though. Murray’s first completion of the second half was huge – a third-down conversion to tight end Maxx Williams – but it didn’t come until 6:50 left in the fourth quarter.

-- Kliff Kingsbury took the blame for not reminding Murray to stay in-bounds before that ill-advised scramble out of bounds (which counted as a sack) right before the two-minute warning. Murray took the blame himself. "That was terrible," Murray said. I know Murray is a rookie, and I get what Kingsbury is doing, but yes, the player should know.

It’s a long flight home from New York. But it’s always better after a win.

Arizona Cardinals' Chandler Jones, bottom, brings down New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

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