Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Asked about the Cardinals on ESPN Radio, I said the team could validate its recent success with an impressive victory over the Panthers.
Any kind of Arizona victory would be impressive at this point.
Carolina has dominated in nearly every aspect while building a shocking 28-7 lead in the first half.
The Cardinals' run defense has imploded. Rookie cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie bit on a pump fake, allowing Steve Smith to get behind him for a 50-yard touchdown reception. The Arizona offensive line has been overpowered a few times, including when immediate pressure up the middle pressured Kurt Warner into throwing quickly to Beanie Wells in the left flat, only to have Julius Peppers pick it off and return the ball 13 yards for a touchdown.
The 49ers' inability to hold on against the Colts is going to cost them. Winning that game could have put some pressure on the Cardinals.