The Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals sit tied at 1-2 in the NFC West through three games. Most analysts and fans expected both teams to be intertwined in the terrible football department and so far that just hasn’t been the case. In fact, the Cardinals have surprised early in 2023 and are coming off a major upset.
In Week 3, Arizona hosted the Dallas Cowboys and literally ran their guests off the field in a 28-16 upset win.
Against Dallas' #1 ranked defense that was surrendering just 193.0 yards/game, Arizona gained 400 total yards and 222 rushing yards on just 30 attempts.— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) September 25, 2023
The Cardinals had runs of 45, 44, 26 & 20 yards vs DAL & has an NFL best 8 runs of 20+ in '23 (they had 9 all of last year). pic.twitter.com/ppyi5RsJ3K
The result was unexpected and pretty freaking hilarious. Nothing like watching Cowboys fans squirm over the fact that their precious team lost to a squad everyone thought was tanking heading into the season. I understand All-Pro Trevon Diggs is lost for the season but that’s no reason to play down to your opponent. Oh my mistake, I forgot that was the Dallas special.
Or were the Cowboys really playing down to their opponent? Are the Cardinals actually (gulp) good? Maybe passable is a better term. They very well could be both at least according to former offensive lineman A.Q. Shipley on “The Pat McAfee Show”.
Quarterback Josh Dobbs, who the Cardinals acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers just 17 days before the opener, has been the key to a surprising start in the desert. Exactly one month after being traded to Arizona, Dobbs earned his first career win in the NFL.
QB Josh Dobbs completed 81% of his passes & had a passer rating of 120.0 in the win vs Dallas.— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) September 25, 2023
His 44-yd first Q run was the longest by an NFL QB in '23. His 69-yard 4th Q completion to Michael Wilson was a career long.
The only other Cardinal with a 60+ yard pass & 40+ yard… pic.twitter.com/lccd679yQq
Dobbs has played remarkably well with Kyler Murray sidelined. The veteran signal caller has completed 72 percent of his passes with two touchdowns, no picks and a 98.1 passer rating. He has also rushed for 93 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Pretty good for a guy who couldn’t even get his own jersey at the Cardinals team store.
It’s not just Dobbs either as the defense has held their own. In the opener against Washington, the Cardinals defense sacked Sam Howell six times and forced three turnovers, returning one for a touchdown. The defense had a meltdown in Week 2 against the Giants as they blew a 20-0 halftime lead. They returned to form the following week despite giving up 416 yards to Dallas. Arizona came up with a clutch interception to send America’s Team home unhappy.
KYZIR WHITE PICKS OFF DAK PRESCOTT IN THE END ZONE pic.twitter.com/SDDLhiomS0— Cardinals Nation (@CardsNationCP) September 24, 2023
The Cardinals will play the 49ers this week in a game that should go as everyone expects. Arizona is a double-digit underdog for the second-straight week as the Niners are 14-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. That doesn’t bide well for a Cardinals team that is clearly more efficient in the first halves of games.
No one is expecting the Redbirds to pull off another upset this weekend. However, the team has proven that they won’t be pushed around by anyone this year. This is the NFL and every team can win any given Sunday (or Monday or Thursday). So don’t be surprised when the Arizona Cardinals shock the world once more this season.