Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd hauls in a 35-yard reception Sunday against the 49ers.
The wide receivers of the Cardinals were having a meeting after the first half of the season ended with a loss to Carolina and the message was clear.
The second half of the season was Michael Floyd's.
"The first half of the season wasn't really what I usually do," Floyd said. "I don't think anyone really sees me drop passes, but like I
said, Carson (Palmer) said this is the second half for me."
That's what Palmer told the world last week, as did coach Bruce Arians. Then Floyd went out and invigorated the Cardinals' passing game with his first 100-yard performance of the season Sunday.
The Cardinals hit on five passes of at least 21 yards Sunday, four of them deep shots. That doesn't include a 38-yard pass interference penalty drawn by J.J. Nelson. The 49ers decided David Johnson wasn't going to beat them running the ball, so there were more avenues open down the field.
"We had seven explosives in the passing game, which we had not been getting," Arians said Monday. "We get teams that want to stop the run, you should be able to beat one-on-one and get your matchups."
But having Floyd – who had 101 yards on five receptions -- hang on to his chances wasn't a coincidence.
"He made those great catches that we've been missing," Arians said.
Of the 79 offensive snaps, Larry Fitzgerald played the most of all the receivers at 69. Floyd wasn't far behind at 59, a dramatic shift
from his playing time prior to the bye when he was at one point passed on the depth chart by John Brown and J.J. Nelson.
Nelson played 49 snaps Sunday, and Brown 30.
All along, Floyd's production figured to play a role in whether the Cardinals can remain in the playoff hunt. Fitzgerald is expected to play this week after his 12-catch day – also his first 100-yard game of the season – but he is admittedly banged up.
The Cardinals will see a mix of zone and man coverage Sunday in Minnesota, Arians said, similar to what the 49ers did. The Vikings have a better secondary, however, increasing the pressure on Floyd and his teammates.
Getting back to more production on the ground will also be a priority. David Johnson had just 55 yards on 19 carries Sunday, and now he'll see a Minnesota front that is 10th in the NFL in rush defense.
Arians insisted he doesn't care if he calls run or pass plays, as long as whatever he is calling is working.
Having Floyd – who only had 19 receptions the first eight games of the season – perform makes that more likely when a pass is called.
"They didn't lose any confidence in me," Floyd said. "Especially my quarterback."
MATHIEU RETURNING SOON
Arians said safety Tyrann Mathieu, who missed the game against the 49ers with a shoulder injury, has a good chance of returning to practice this week. Mathieu could finally discard his knee brace, although he will be playing with a shoulder harness after his recent injury. Overall, Arians said, the Cards should have almost everyone available for the game.
Some of the best images from the Week 10 game against the 49ers