The FOX crew did a great job capturing a game-within-the-game moment on Sunday during the Cowboys-Redskins affair.
Initially, an Ezekiel Elliott carry looked generic, but upon slow motion replay, the cameras showed Washington cornerback Josh Norman punching down hard on the football in hopes of jarring it loose.
Norman has become the new Peanut Tillman of the NFL, always trying to force fumbles when given the opportunity. Elliott saw the punch coming and wrapped the ball tightly to avoid the prospect of a turnover.
Fumbles are hard to predict, but there's no doubt ball security has greatly increased through the years. From 1935 – when fumble statistics began being kept – through 2011, only twice did a team recover fewer than four opponent fumbles in a season, according to NFL record books. The Rams set the dubious mark with three in 1974, and the Packers matched it in 1995.
But in the past six years, a whopping nine teams have recovered three or fewer opponent fumbles in a season, and the Jets set the new record by only securing two in 2013.
Which brings us to the Cardinals.
In 2015, the Cardinals recovered 14 opponent fumbles, which was third in the NFL. Last season, they also recovered 14, which was second in the NFL.
Through seven games of 2017, they don't have any. That is tied with Broncos and Bengals for the worst in the league, as all three teams threaten to set an NFL record in fumble recovery futility.
The Cardinals have forced three fumbles this season -- one apiece by Tyvon Branch, Chandler Jones and Josh Bynes – but have been unable to secure any of them.
If this team has any chance to turn its season around, the defense must lead the way. Seven interceptions in seven games is solid, but the Cardinals must force and recover more fumbles.
Cardinals Fumble Recovery Numbers
|* *||Fumbles Recovered||Fumbles Lost||Margin|
|2017 (Seven games)||0||3||-3|