When the schedule for the NFL 2012 season was first released, few believed the Cardinals would be heading back home after week 2 with a 2-0 record. But that is exactly where they stand after traveling to Foxoboro and defeating the New England Patriots. Before Sunday's loss, the Patriots were an impeccable 10-0 in home openers under the direction of Tom Brady.
Now, instead of Brady, a different quarterback is making headlines. Kevin Kolb replaced the injured John Skelton this week and under his guidance, the Cardinals were able to pull off their best road win since the 2008 season.
After the game, Kolb's stat line showed that he was 15/27 for 140 yards. He threw one touchdown pass to Andre Roberts and then ran one in himself. Nothing about any of those statistics are eye popping, but it is what he did to manage the game that helped the Cardinals overcome the Patriots.
Credit the defense for the win, but without some key first downs (seven of them were made through the air), the Cardinals would have never been in the position to win that game. Outside of a first half fumble, Kolb protected the ball, made his throws and led drives down the field.
Still, there is much the former Eagle can improve upon. His main target, Larry Fitzgerald, was targeted just five times in the game, registering one catch for a total of four yards. That is the lowest amount of yards for Fitzgerald since his rookie season in 2004. It would behoove Kolb to look his way more often. Even if he is being double teamed, throwing him the ball is a recipe for success.
Kolb was being pressured off the left side by Chandler Jones all day and I thought he did a nice job of stepping up into the pocket and scrambling when he needed to. The pass protection wasn't exactly awful, but when the pressure came, Kolb looked composed.
Lastly, I thought the play calling really benefited him. At this point, Kolb is just a game manager and that is all the team needs him to be. He is not going to step on the field and throw for 500 yards and a few touchdowns like an Eli Manning. He works with what he is given and makes the most of it.
Will this warrant him getting another start should Skelton be healthy by the time the Eagles come to town next Sunday? Possibly. My suspicions are that they keep Skelton sidelined, still trying to nurse his "injury" so that they can get a better look at Kolb.
And why not? With such an upsetting victory, it would be foolish of Arizona not to.
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