Palmer: Cardinals' win 'best called game' I've played in


Despite the wandering Cleveland Browns holding a 20-7 lead over Arizona on Sunday, Bruce Arians didn't panic.

The Cardinals coach gave his team a mouthful at halftime before calmly guiding Arizona's weapons-rich offense back into the light with 27 unanswered points en route to a 34-20 win on the road.

Instead of abandoning the game plan, Arians peppered the Browns with 38 runs and 38 strikes through the air, a balanced approach that created opportunities for quarterback Carson Palmer.

Every game, all season

"That was the best called game I've ever been a part of," Palmer said of Arians, per the team's official website. "That was the best called game since junior Pop Warner Pee Wee football when I was playing for the Mission Viejo Cowboys and I was getting Cover One. He was on fire."

The Cardinals overcame four costly turnovers, triggering a comeback that taught us a lesson about this year's NFC West leader: Arizona can play from behind and overcome their own mistakes.

Palmer struggled early with a pair of costly deep overthrows to wide open targets, but no matter. This offense piles up yardage and points effortlessly once the machine gets rolling.

General manager Steve Keim deserves credit for building an attack that seems to house an endless procession of young skill position talent. With lightning-quick John Brown sidelined against the Browns, rookie J.J. Nelson shook off a quiet start to the season to tally 70 yards off three grabs. In the backfield, Chris Johnson again topped 100 yards on the ground while first-year back David Johnson punctured Cleveland's defense with a pair of key catches out of the backfield, darting his way up field for an offense that converted an outrageous 13 of 16 first downs.

It all goes back to Arians, whose technical brilliance in the second half came after a fiery halftime speech that shook up the room.

"I think we had a two-minute briefing about what we were doing wrong on the football field, and then he lit into us for another two minutes," said defensive tackle Frostee Rucker. "We got the point."

Said Chris Johnson of the fireside chat at halftime: "You didn't want to be in there."

Maybe not, but good luck finding a Cardinals player that doesn't want to be on this team -- a surging club with no ceiling as we enter the second half of the season.