5 things to know after Cardinals rip Colts 40-11
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)
The Cardinals left Sunday's 40-11 rout of the Colts on a four-game winning streak, Indianapolis left looking far different than the Colts team that beat Denver, Seattle and San Francisco earlier this year.
''I think it's the same team,'' Indianapolis' Andrew Luck said. ''We go out and work. ... At the end of the day we didn't bring it and they did, which stinks because we know what we're capable of.''
Arizona (7-4) is in the thick of the NFC wild-card race. Indianapolis (7-4) remains atop the AFC South as the division's lone team with a winning record.
The game matched Cardinals first-year coach Bruce Arians against the Colts team he coached on an interim basis a year ago while Chuck Pagano was fighting leukemia. The Colts went 9-3 under Arians, earning him coach of the year honors and a head coaching job - without the interim tag - in Arizona.
He has the Cardinals in a position they haven't been this late in a season since Kurt Warner retired four years ago.
''It feels great, it feels wonderful to put that behind us,'' Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald said. ''We still have five games. We still have a lot of football to go against some good football teams down the stretch. So it's too early to start looking at where we were in the past, we've got to do it now. We've got a great opportunity ahead of us.''
Here are five things to know from the Cardinals' thrashing of the Colts.
PALMER'S PROGRESS: For the second week in a row, Arizona got a strong game from Carson Palmer, who finally is looking comfortable in Arians' offense.
''It took us longer than we wanted,'' Palmer said, ''but we're starting to really get that trust and that confidence in each other.''
Palmer, coming off a 419-yard game at Jacksonville, completed 26 of 37 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns - both to Fitzgerald. For the second week in a row, he did not throw an interception.
''I thought Carson was lights out. He has been for a month now,'' Arians said. ''You can obviously see the chemistry now.''
Palmer completed passes to 10 different receivers. Michael Floyd had his second straight 100-yard receiving game with seven catches for 104 yards. Fitzgerald caught five for 52 yards.
COLTS SLOW TO START: Once again, the Colts got off to a bad start. Sometimes, they are able to rally and get back in it. This time they didn't even come close.
In its last four games, Indianapolis has been outscored in the first half by a combined 93-12.
Against Arizona, the Colts trailed 27-3 at the half and 34-3 after three quarters.
''It's embarrassing,'' Luck said. ''I don't know if I can put my thumb on it, but I think a lack of execution. They executed. We didn't. Credit to them. They beat our butts fair and square.''
FITZGERALD'S LANDMARK: Fitzgerald became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 yards in career receiving.
He did it at 30 years, 85 days. The previous youngest was Randy Moss at 30 years, 222 days.
As usual, Fitzgerald downplayed the achievement.
''I really don't pay all that much attention to it in the now,'' he said. ''I'm happy. It's a great accomplishment, but Jerry Rice had 21,000 yards receiving. That's the benchmark.''
Fitzgerald's eight TD catches this year are double the amount he had all of last season.
PRESSURE ON PAGANO: While Arians is basking in the glow of winning, his good friend Pagano is feeling the heat, despite the team's position atop the division.
After beating Seattle and San Francisco, the Colts have lost to the other two NFC West teams - St. Louis and Arizona - by a combined score of 78-19.
Pagano said he can't fault his players' effort.
''We have to figure out a way, because something's missing, and it certainly isn't our players and their effort and the way they practice and the way that they prepare and the time they put in,'' he said. ''I know it doesn't look that way, but they are doing and putting the time in. We have to figure out a formula awful quick to get this rectified.''
Luck said football ''is the ultimate team game.''
`It's so easy to watch it and throw a person under the bus and say it was his fault,'' Luck said, ''but we know in the locker room that is so far from the truth. If anything, a slow start is on the quarterback. I know I missed some throws and didn't get us going. It's unfair to single a coach out for that.''
Luck threw for 163 yards, the second fewest of his two NFL seasons.
ARIZONA ON THE RUN: After rushing for 13 yards a week earlier at Jacksonville, the Cardinals gained 120 against Indianapolis. Rashard Mendenhall gained 54 yards in 13 carries, including a 5-yard touchdown run. Andre Ellington carried 10 times for 50 yards.
'' I think we are finding balance on offense from our base offense,'' Mendenhall said. ''I think we have a good mix of things going, and it's starting to show.''
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