CARDINALS 40, COLTS 11
Player of the Game
Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals
The veteran passer continued his recent hot streak by going 26-of-37 for 314 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He connected on two first-half scores with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, helping Arizona move out to an insurmountable 27-3 lead at intermission. Palmer's big day further exposed an Indianapolis defense that has been reeling since outdueling Peyton Manning in late October.
The seemingly constant double-digit deficits don't help, but 15 first downs and 239 total yards aren't going to cut it under the best of circumstances. Third down continues to be a train wreck — the Colts were 5-for-13 on Sunday — and Indianapolis is still waiting for somebody to step up and become a reliable threat in the clutch. The running game continued to falter, with backup Boom Herron leading the team with 33 rushing yards on four garbage-time carries. Andrew Luck was not immune to the struggles, finishing 20-of-39 for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception that was returned for an Arizona score.
The Cardinals' first four drives ended with two touchdowns, a field goal and a blocked field goal. Arizona only was forced to punt twice and racked up 410 total yards. The Cardinals moved the ball in any way imaginable, gaining 120 yards on the ground while Palmer completed passes to 10 different receivers. Former Notre Dame star Michael Floyd was the top target, catching seven passes for 104 yards. Rashard Mendenhall (13 carries, 54 yards, one TD) and rookie Andre Ellington (10 carries, 50 yards) split the rushing yards evenly.
Special teams: B
This game wasn't lost on fourth down. Sergio Brown blocked a first-quarter field goal attempt, and much-maligned return man David Reed averaged 28 yards on four kickoff returns. Pat McAfee was good enough with a 40-yard average on five punts and a long of 54, and the Colts kept dangerous return man Patrick Peterson in check. Adam Vinatieri also continued his scoring streak with a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter.