Cardinals wide receiver John Brown had a breakout game against the Rams after a slow start to 2016.
John Brown was getting impatient.
His NFL career to this point had been magical, excelling immediately as a rookie, then adding a 1,000-yard receiving season in Year 2.
But a concussion kept the Cardinals wide receiver out for much of training camp and led to a slow start in 2016. Brown broke out in a big way in Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Rams, catching 10 passes for 144 yards.
"I was a little frustrated that I wanted to be back to myself when I wasn't," Brown said.
He had a game-high 16 targets – more than double anyone else on the team – as the carefully-constructed rapport with quarterback Carson Palmer showed up.
Brown said wide receivers coach Darryl Drake told him he could be in line for a big game. The game-breaking speed that helps soften defenses was sorely needed.
"(Drake) came to me, like, 'We're trying to put the ball in your hands,'" Brown said. "'We need you to do this and that.' It just made me push harder to get back where I want to be."
Brown entered the game just fifth on the team in receiving through three games, averaging only 30.7 yards per contest. After his big performance, he is now second on the team in receiving yards with 236 on the year.
"He's had two to three great weeks of practice, and it's finally showing up in games," coach Bruce Arians said.
PALMER ENTERS CONCUSSION PROTOCOL
The Cardinals held a 13-10 fourth quarter lead when Palmer left with a head injury. He was slammed down hard on a third-down sack and his head hit the ground. Palmer will go through the concussion protocol and there is some concern he will miss Thursday night's game against the 49ers.
Drew Stanton would start if Palmer can't go.
"He's beaten this team before, the 49ers," Arians said. "Everybody has a ton of confidence in Drew."
Palmer wasn't the only player banged up.
Running back Chris Johnson went down on a second-half run with a groin injury and didn't return. He looked good during the game, carrying the ball six times for 34 yards.
Safety Tyvon Branch injured his groin twice on the same defensive series in the third quarter, leaving for good after the second one. The Cardinals adjusted by putting safety Tyrann Mathieu into the slot and D.J. Swearinger at safety in nickel situations.
Tight end Darren Fells left in the waning seconds with a stinger. The severities of the injuries are not known.
RUSHING GAME FINDS A GROOVE
The Cardinals' offensive line had trouble with the pass-rush of the Rams, but the running game was clicking.
David Johnson had 17 carries for 83 yards in addition to Chris Johnson's impressive showing. The Cardinals averaged 4.7 yards per carry and totaled 118 yards, although a fumble by Johnson helped keep the Rams within striking distance before their game-winning touchdown.
Johnson carried the ball on second-and-3 from the Los Angeles 42 with 11:11 remaining. He was stopped short of the first down and then had the ball punched out by defensive tackle Dominique Easley.
"It just came out," Johnson said. "I felt like I had it secure. Obviously I didn't. I know I have to secure it a lot better, especially in that situation when we needed to run the clock down."
ROY GREEN INDUCTED INTO RING OF HONOR
Cardinals great Roy Green became the 16th person inducted into the Cardinals' Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. He is one of the best wide receivers in team history, and also played defensive back early in his career.
Green will be the featured guest during this week's "Monday Nights at the Big Red Brew Haus" at University of Phoenix Stadium. Doors open at 5 p.m.