The Arizona Cardinals wasted no time sending a message that they fully intend to compete this year. They blitzed the Carolina Panthers on their first drive and recorded a sack on Cam Newton. After getting the ball back in good field position, Kevin Kolb engineered a well-balanced drive to put the first points on the board for the 2011 NFL season.
The Cardinals drive started with a nine-yard rush for Beanies Wells and ended with a seven-yard touchdown run from Wells. The offensive line, specifically Levi Brown, gave up a sack that put Kolb in a second and 21 situation, but a nice through to Early Doucet converted the third down.
The first scoring drive of the season went for six plays, 54 yards and took 3:42 off the clock. Kolb was 2-2 for 36 yards and Wells went for 16 yards on two carries.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, their pressure defense backfired on the Panther's second possession. Facing a third and seven, Arizona blitzed but Newton was able to hang on long enough to find a wide open Steve Smith for a 77-yard touchdown.
The game was tied 7-7 in the first quarter.