The Arizona Cardinals surprised some of us last season, finishing 10-6, and narrowly missing out on a wild card berth. Naturally this inspired a certain amount of confidence in the Cardinals, and as we head into the 2014 season, they have plenty to say about it. Patrick Peterson and Darnell Dockett are the latest to have something to say, discussing the NFC West with Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports.
In the interview, Peterson says the Cardinals gave the 49ers both wins last year. Darnell Dockett followed that by saying, "We dogged San Fran (in Week 6). They won the game in the fourth quarter. We turned the ball over and they ran the ball in. They won the game, don't get me wrong. We can't take that from them. But it was never like, 'Oh, they're going to just kill 'em when they come up there.'"
They both also had some comments about the Seahawks, but I figured I'd focus in on Dockett's comments about the 49ers. The Cardinals were definitely competitive in both their games against the 49ers, but I don't know that I'd say the Cardinals gave the 49ers the win. In Week 6, the Cardinals had a pair of fumbles. Late in the third quarter, with the 49ers up 22-20, Larry Fitzgerald fumbled, and the 49ers recovered it at their own 11. They marched down the field and scored to go up 29-20. Midway through the fourth quarter, with the 49ers leading 29-20, Alfonso Smith (new 49er!) fumbled at the Cardinals 31. The 49ers recovered, drove five yards, and kicked a field goal to go up by the eventual final score of 32-20. That's a little more detailed than what Peterson had to say, but what are you going to do.
The second game was in Week 17. The 49ers locked up a playoff spot the week before, and jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead in Glendale. The Cardinals stormed back to tie the game, and then an exchange of field goals resulted in the 49ers winning 23-20.
The Cardinals are a dangerous team. There is no doubting that. I think people are sleeping on Carson Palmer, and while the Cardinals have lost some talent, they should still be dangerous in 2014. At the same time, I probably should not be overly concerned about Darnell Dockett talking some smack about the 49ers. He talks a lot of crap, but he does recognize the quality in the division. As he pointed out further on in the article, any NFC West game is going to be a blood bath. The 49ers and Seahawks are at the top, but the Cardinals and the Rams are both dangerous.
Nonetheless, it's funny to hear the chirping from the Cardinals. They've had their share of talkers, so it is not a surprise. But that doesn't make it any less amusing.