Silver linings: Cardinals vs. Panthers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The facts: The Cardinals fell to 4-3 after a 34-21 home defeat to the Panthers in Week 8.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.

  • Rookie running back LaRod Stephens-Howling scored a touchdown on offense and averaged 31.5 yards per kickoff return.

  • The Cardinals maintained their first-place lead in the NFC West.

  • Arizona ran the ball effectively, rushing 17 times for 94 yards, a 5.5-yard average.

  • The Cardinals scored touchdowns on all three red-zone possessions.

  • Arizona immediately answered the Panthers' opening drive to a touchdown with a touchdown drive of their own. Beanie Wells carried three times for 21 yards on the drive.

  • Anquan Boldin overtook Larry Centers to become the Cardinals' all-time leader in receptions.

  • The Cardinals trimmed a 21-point deficit to 10 points with a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the second half.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals face the Bears on the road in Week 9.