Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams can't hang on to an interception but still breaks up a third-down pass during the Cardinals' 24-23 preseason loss Saturday.
Brandon Williams wasn’t going to give himself props, not after dropping an interception.
“I set the bar so high for myself, when I don’t make a play like that, it messes up the whole game,” the cornerback said following the Cardinals’ 24-23 preseason loss to the Bears Saturday night. “In my eyes, the game wasn’t that good. Next week, it’ll be better. I promise you that.”
An interception would have been nice, but Williams still was good, with five tackles, two official pass
breakups and drawing an offensive pass interference with perfect coverage on one Bears bomb.
It’s unlikely Williams still has a chance to start, with Justin Bethel looking like he has put a lock on the starting job opposite Patrick Peterson. But the way Williams has been playing, he seems to have moved ahead of veteran free agent Tramon Williams – who also happened to drop an interception early in the game.
“I wish he got that pick again, because that would’ve really boosted his confidence,” coach Bruce Arians said. “But he played really well.”
From the start of camp, Brandon Williams has had no interest in discussing the competition to start across from Peterson. The second-year pro – still learning his position after moving from running back to cornerback his senior year of college – chooses a narrow focus for his perspective.
“Very ambitious, very hungry to get better,” he said. “That’s all I care about. I don’t care about media, I don’t care about the (No. 2) cornerback battle. I don’t care about none of it. I’m just here to get better every day and then show what I got on game day.”
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert played the entire second half, completing 14-of-25 passes for 174 yards, a
touchdown that normally would’ve tied the game and an interception that was not his fault. He also ran for a score, and missed an open Jeremy Ross for what would have been a game-winning two-point conversion.
“Ups and downs,” Gabbert said of his performance. “There’s definitely a lot of good film to watch. There’s a lot of good learning that’s going to take place (Sunday.) “
“We had fun out there, but like I said, it left a sour taste in the mouth after that one,” he added.
Drew Stanton only got in a couple of series, unable to be as effective as he had been the previous week. Stanton completed only 2-of-6 passes for 17 yards, although he did move the Cardinals from their own 25-yard line into field goal range in 36 seconds at the end of the first half.
A LONG FIELD GOAL AND A RESULTING KICK-SIX
The Cardinals let veteran kicker Phil Dawson try a 63-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Dawson has made such kicks in practice, and it was a nice drive by quarterback Drew Stanton to set up an attempt in the first place.
But Dawson pushed it wide and left it a bit short, allowing Deonte Thompson to grab it in the back of the end zone and race down the field for a 109-yard touchdown return.
“I was thrilled to get the opportunity,” Dawson said. “Every week I’ll get a range for a normal field goal attempt and end of game, end of half, you can always stretch that. There is a little subjectivity there.
“After realizing I didn’t make the kick, believe it or not, we all have coverage responsibilities. From what I could tell, our guys knew what to do. The Bears knew what to do too, and let’s be honest, when you have a kicker, a punter and a bunch of offensive linemen running down there (to tackle), that’s kind of a mismatch.”
WIDE RECEIVERS ANSWER
Early in the week, Arians had strong words for his wide receiver corps. For the most part, they answered Arians’ request to improve their play.
Ross had four catches for 32 yards and an impressive three-yard touchdown catch in traffic for the Cardinals’ final touchdown. Chris Hubert had four catches for 44 yards, although Arians was disappointed Hubert couldn’t hold on to one ball that was taken away from him for an interception by the Bears’ B.W. Webb.
“Regardless of what is being said about us, we have the same focus, which is getting better every day,” Ross said. “That’s what we do. Every day, forget the day before, try and get better and focus on ourselves individually and as a group.”
John Brown (quad) did not play, and Arians said it was never considered.
Images from the Cardinals' third preseason game on Saturday night