The Cardinals didn't have Byron Murphy, and you know that's not something Antonio Hamilton wanted to be the reason why he found his way back into the starting lineup. Then again, it was injury -- Hamilton's burned feet -- that cost him a starting job at the end of the preseason. It was about taking advantage of the added snaps on Sunday in Los Angeles, and Hamilton did just that.
Hamilton had a career-high 11 tackles, broke up two passes (although one was a dropped interception that almost certainly would've been a pick-6) and played a season-high 54 snaps. It earned him the Cardinals' highest Pro Football Focus grade of the week at 90.1 during an excellent defensive performance.
Fellow cornerback Marco WIlson ended up joining linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins and safety Jalen Thompson in playing all 60 defensive snaps. Budda Baker, who normally plays every snap, dialed back to 48 with his badly sprained ankle that he somehow played through.
Trayvon Mullen became the third cornerback, playing 25 snaps. J.J. Watt played the most snaps of a defensive lineman by himself for the first time this season, his 44 two more than Zach Allen. Linebacker Myjai Sanders' best game of the season came on only 21 snaps, while Dennis Gardeck returned to the field after an ankle injury for six snaps. New defensive lineman Trystan Hill played 15 snaps in his first game action.
Sanders also had an excellent PFF grade of 87.8, as did Collins at 81.2. Other top PFF grades came from SImmons (75.6), Baker (70.3), Mullen (69.5), safety Chris Banjo (62.8), and defensive linemen Leki Fotu (62.7) and Jonathan Ledbetter (62.6).
On offense, you won't find a position group who have less good things to say about PFF grades than the linemen, but the group's nice day Sunday was reflected by PFF. Right tackle Kelvin Beachum (80.2), left tackle Josh Jones (67.0), center Billy Price (65.8) and guard Rashaad Coward (61.7) all did well.
Other top offensive grades went to receiver Rondale Moore (75.0), quarterback Colt McCoy (73.7), wide receiver A.J. Green (73.1), and running back James Conner (62.8).
There were some interesting snap counts on the offensive side of the ball. Conner played all but one of the 66 total snaps at running back, with Eno Benjamin getting just one. Coward had 48 of the right guard snaps compared to Cody Ford's 20, as Ford was coming back from Covid.
With Zach Ertz hurting his knee on the game's first possession, rookie Trey McBride played a ton (62) with Stephen Anderson (25) getting in a chunk of work. And most notably, Green played 30 snaps while Robbie Anderson played just eight at receiver.