Much to like about Cardinals

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

A few quick observations on the Cardinals as I watch their game against the Dolphins on the DVR this morning:

  • Speed on defense: The Dolphins' Ronnie Brown took an early handoff and ran wide to the right. I counted nine Arizona defenders outside the yard-line numbers on that side of the field. Brown reversed course and ran back to the left sideline. The Cardinals still had the speed to track him down for a loss.

  • Veteran smarts: Kurt Warner's 79-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin looked easy, but the Dolphins had a pass rusher in his face immediately. Warner began his throwing motion before Boldin was 6 yards downfield. The quarterback's quick reaction turned a potential sack into a huge play. The Dolphins made this an easy read by leaving the deep middle uncovered.

  • Target practice: Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald make life much easier for Warner. They catch contested balls consistently and gain yardage after the ball is in their hands. The combination is tough to beat when Warner is making the right decisions under pressure. Through two games, Warner has not suffered an interception or lost a fumble. He suffered 17 interceptions and six lost fumbles in 14 games last season.

  • Nobody's perfect: Neil Rackers sent the opening kickoff out of bounds. Penalties forced the Cardinals into a first-and-20 on their opening drive. Also, rookie running back Tim Hightower fumbled in the red zone. The Cardinals recovered, but rookies must be extra diligent in protecting the football. Pro players know how to knock it loose.

  • Mismatch inside: Injury forced Ike Ndukwe into the lineup at right guard for the Dolphins. The Cardinals' Darnell Dockett camped out over Ndukwe from the beginning, a mismatch the Cardinals used to their advantage early.

This game was over pretty quickly. The Cardinals led 14-0 in the first quarter. The Dolphins never threatened. The 31-10 victory establishes Arizona as the best team in the NFC West through the first two games.