GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals' fire burned brightly Sunday.
There was no shortage of fuel, of course.
No team in the NFC West and perhaps none in the NFL attracted as much skepticism in recent months. There was almost no way the Cardinals could be as bad as advertised. Coach Ken Whisenhunt thought it was overkill and said so during training camp. He was right based on what happened Sunday. The Cardinals did not win pretty, but they won their season opener against Seattle and have now won eight of 10 dating to last season.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic runs through the ups and downs for Arizona. Somers: "There were plenty of positives on Sunday. Kevin Kolb stayed engaged in the season even after losing the starting job. The no-huddle offense seems to jump start him. And it does the same for receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals can't run it all the time because there are a limited number of plays that can be used and if they don't gain first downs, then the defense is on the field for too long. But it's worth using two or three times a game. Coordinator Mike Miller and the offensive staff helped out the offensive line by often keeping fullback Anthony Sherman in to block."
Also from Somers: Fitzgerald's thoughts on why the no-huddle offense worked. Fitzgerald: ""You see the defense, the guys get tired. They're trying to make personnel adjustments, and it really messes up the defense's flow. Kevin does a really good job of the up-tempo offense. He has a good understanding of coverages and where his 'hots' and 'sights' are. The slant I caught today was a 'go' we were trying to run, but Earl Thomas hit us on a blitz. Kevin saw it, he didn't throw it in the first window because the linebacker was there, and he actually hit me in the second window. He had a really good feel for what was going on and he made some really nice throws in that drive."
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says thing went well for Kolb against the odds. Arizona was actually trying to call timeout on the play resulting in Kolb's go-ahead touchdown pass. Teammates seemed to rally around Kolb after the game. Bickley: "Adrian Wilson brushed off a question about the late defensive stand, preferring to highlight Kolb's performance. Darnell Dockett did the same thing. And while John Skelton's injury status is uncertain, Fitzgerald sounded pretty convinced that the Cardinals have a new starting quarterback." Noted: Fitzgerald did says "Kevin's our guy" but that might have been before the team realized Skelton might miss only a short time. X-rays were negative. Skelton might have a high-ankle sprain, however.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers postgame thoughts, including one regarding a play that might have been overlooked. Urban: "Calais Campbell with yet another blocked field goal, after three last year. Huge Sunday, since without the block, the Seahawks are down just one late and easily kick a field goal to win (unless, of course, Campbell would have blocked that one -– which is always possible.)" Noted: Campbell's height (6-8) makes him a natural to block field-goal tries. Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka has also been vulnerable to blocks.
Josh Weinfuss of azcardinals.com says Kolb completed five consecutive passes from the no-huddle attack.