Are the Arizona Cardinals a playoff team?
It was no cakewalk for the Cardinals, but quarterback Carson Palmer overcame a 14-7 first-quarter deficit to play his finest game of the season, throwing for 419 yards and hooking up with Floyd six times for 193 of them. The second-year receiver put the game away with a 91-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter that marked the longest pass play of the NFL season.
The Cardinals have overcome a 3-4 start under coach Bruce Arians, and they own one of football's finest defenses. On Sunday, it was Arizona's offense that picked up the slack and kept the team's postseason hopes afloat.
Here's what else we learned:
1. Palmer came in with at least one interception in nine consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. He put an end to that Sunday and looked sharp spreading the ball to nine different targets. This was a performance Arians probably thought he'd see more of when he brought Palmer to the desert.
2. The Rashard Mendenhall-Andre Ellington debate is on hold. Neither Cardinals back got going against a stingy Jaguars run defense that allowed just 14 yards on the day. Mainly because we don't expect much from Mendy, Ellington was the bigger disappointment, rushing for just three yards on eight attempts. The rookie also went quiet catching the ball in his least impressive outing to date.
3. The Jaguars, slowly but surely, are improving. Jacksonville's offense gave the Cardinals fits early, scoring its first touchdown at home in 239 days, 232 minutes and 33 seconds, per ESPN's Michael DiRocco. The team's second score came just minutes later as Chad Henne drove the Jaguars on a seven-play touchdown drive that saw the offense move the ball with surprising ease. After scoring just 21 points at home all year coming in, we're seeing progress.
4. Jacksonville's existing troubles channel to a distinct lack of playmakers on the roster, but Jordan Todman is a keeper, at least on special teams. He ripped off a 59-yard kick return to jump-start the team's second scoring drive and continues to make strides after a tough start to the season.
5. The Cardinals now turn their focus to Sunday's 49ers-Saints tilt. If New Orleans pulls off a win, both Arizona and San Francisco sit notched at 6-4. They also face each other in the regular-season finale on Dec. 29.The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.