A weekly examination of the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback play:
Rewind: Even though the numbers weren’t there, Sunday was Carson Palmer’s best outing since Week 1. And in some ways, it was his best game of the season. Thanks to the run game improving, Palmer was given more time. And with that simple change, he was able to make smarter decisions -- for the most part, even though he still had one interception. Palmer even took off for a 9-yard run. His passes were crisp and the timing seemed to be improved overall.
Maybe I went too far out on a limb with my prediction. Still, I did hit on a couple things. I said everyone -- offensive line, the running backs and the receivers -- would step up, and they did. However, Palmer didn’t throw for 315 yards (he had 172) nor did he toss three touchdowns (two), but he did have one pick.
Fast-forward: In two weeks, Palmer will face the best pass defense in the league (Houston), but he can only hope the Cardinals’ running game shows up like it did Sunday. If Arizona can spread the Texans’ defense by running the ball effectively, the Cards can work the passing game to a variety of receivers effectively. Add in the possibility of taking the top off again with the likes of Teddy Williams and Brittan Golden, and Palmer could look like he's 25 again.
Returning stronger: What’s a game without a Palmer interception? On Sunday, he threw only one and Cardinals coach Bruce Arians didn’t bother to say anything about it. He knew Palmer understood what he did wrong. Palmer came back and completed 11 of his last 14 passes for 149 yards, including two touchdowns.
Prediction: We’ve seen it all this season, so it’s tough to predict what Palmer will do. Let’s say, after two weeks off, he’ll go for 289 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.