Colt McCoy did an excellent job running the offense Sunday, but maybe he had a little hand in the defense – at least when it came to Chandler Jones.
"He's a leader," Jones said. "I'll tell a small story. He saw me working on some moves and he was like, 'Hey Chandler, I'm kind of hesitating on telling you this, but I see you thinking. Stop thinking.'
"He said to me, 'Just go. Just be yourself.' For someone to step out and have those words of encouragement to someone you know but you really don't know them, it means a lot and it goes to show what type of person he is."
Then Jones got two sacks in the big road win at Seattle.
Now, McCoy isn't taking credit for Jones' two sacks – he actually looked a little uncomfortable Jones told the story – but it isn't so much how McCoy directly impacted yet another nice day for Jones in Seattle but how he has impacted this team.
"Chandler is, he's usually the best player on the field, right?" McCoy said. "He works at his craft constantly. On the field, in the locker room, he's practicing moves. What I told him this week – I'm surprised he talked about it – was just, I just appreciate how hard he works. I just told him, he's a closer. Go get your sacks. Turn your brain off and go."
Yet another tangible example of the mix of the roster this team has, which is why they've gotten to a 9-2 record, best in the NFL. I don't think I would've predicted that, and I know I wouldn't have predicted that had someone said Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins would miss a month.
-- How do you win with a backup QB? Grind out long drives, don't turn it over. Cardinals had more than 40 minutes of possession time – check. No turnovers – check.
-- J.J. Watt, with the nice postgame tweet. "maybe …" He didn’t have to say anything more. IYKYK.
-- The defense probably should get more love and the McCoy-Murray story was always going to overshadow it, but from the first possession, when the Cards had back-to-back sacks by Jones and Isaiah Simmons, it was a good day. There were some hiccups – Simmons looked like he got lost a couple times – but they were few and far between. Linebacker Jordan Hicks called it the best game of complementary football the Cards have played this season, and while that can become a cliché, it made sense.
-- The 266 yards the Cards surrendered to the Seahawks was their second-best defensive effort of the season, after the 248 allowed to the Titans in the opener.
-- When Matt Prater walked off the field, he was stone-faced compared to all his smiling teammates. He wasn't happy after missing three kicks and missing out on seven potential points. But coach Kliff Kingsbury didn't seem fazed in the least.
"He's one of the best," Kingsbury said. "It happens."
-- Sometimes, you have to be lucky. Officially, the Cardinals had four fumbles Sunday, losing none. They have 22 fumbles in 11 games – and lost only three. That's statistically crazy, and they will lose some at some point. But it matters to be lucky too.
-- Something to think about as you look around the league – not only did the Packers lose, but Aaron Rodgers has a toe injury, one he said is actually worse that turf toe. He's going to play through it but how that impacts a key competitor is something to watch.
-- A.J. Green only had four catches, but it was for 78 yards, and he drew a key pass interference on the first TD drive too. When he is one-on-one, he's a smart target.
-- Yes, I remember Green Bay. Green talked after the game for the first time since that play, and reiterated the miscommunication on that final interception. "I'm glad it happened to me because I know how to handle it," Green said.
-- With his 10th sack, Markus Golden earned a $500,000 incentive, his second such $500,000 incentive he's earned this year.. If he gets another three sacks in the final six games, according to ESPN's Field Yates, he'll earn another $1 million. Well worth it.
-- The Cardinals benefitted from the overturned interception call nursing a 10-point lead in the third quarter. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was upset about it after. But when you're good, you make breaks like that count.
-- Marco Wilson has had his dips, but he made multiple nice plays on the ball against DK Metcalf.
-- I'm going to credit Ron Wolfley, sitting behind me on the plane here, but he said this could've been the Steve Keim game and he's right – big days from McCoy, Zach Ertz, James Conner, A.J. Green.
-- Ertz was really good. He won't get credit in the stats for that last PI he drew, but that was as big as a catch, getting a first down on the 1 to set up the clinching score.
-- I was standing in the tunnel as the clock drained down and the players jogged, smiling into the locker room, as all the Cardinals fans in that area started chanting "9-and-2! 9-and-2!" For fans who made the trip to an opposing stadium – especially that one – it had to be satisfying.
The Cardinals certainly are, going into the bye. For them, a good flight home.