A dynamic running back and a stifling defense have the Arizona Cardinals back to .500.
Offensive problems galore have the New York Jets in a freefall.
David Johnson ran 58 yards for a touchdown the second time he touched the ball, the first of his three scores in the Cardinals 28-3 victory over the Jets on Monday night.
“An unbelievable job up front,” Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer said. “I had a really good view of it. We were man-to-man. We had everybody blocked. He did a great job of setting up his second level blocks, and then he showed that explosion and that speed down the sideline.”
Johnson rushed for 111 yards and scored three touchdowns. Arizona (3-3) outgained the Jets on the ground 171-33. New York entered the game second in the NFL in run defense at 68 yards per game.
The Cardinals have won two in a row with a Sunday night home game against Seattle coming up.
New York (1-5) managed only a 39-yard field goal by Nick Folk.
“Holding them to three points was unbelievable,” Palmer said. “We were flying around on defense. We were hitting the quarterback. We were stopping the run game, contesting some of the passes in there.”
Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall said his team’s performance was “just not good enough.”
“All over the place, across the board, just wasn’t good enough,” he said.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched after New York’s best drive of the night ended in an interception in the end zone. Geno Smith came on, and his lone series ended in Tyrann Mathieu’s first interception of the season .
“You never want to be pulled out of a game in that situation,” Fitzpatrick said. “But it’s not something I can sit and hang my head. I have to keep a positive outlook, but not in a situation you want to be in.”
Smith would like to have his shot at the job, of course, when the Jets play at home against Baltimore on Sunday.
“Every guy who isn’t out there wants to be out there,” he said. “That is just the nature of the business.”
Here are some things to consider from the Cardinals’ dominant win over New York.
SHORT GAINS: The Jets took the long passes away that have been Arians’ trademark, so the Cardinals were content to go with shorter stuff.
“They made us get rid of the ball quick,” Palmer said. “They did a number of things to put us in situations where the ball had to come out quick. I feel like we normally have big chunk plays. They forced us to get rid of it quick and we did a good job capitalizing in those situations.”
The Cardinals had a touchdown drive of 11 plays and two more of 14 plays.
RUNNING WILD: A week after he rushed for 157 yards at San Francisco, Johnson was at it again.
After rushing for 111 and catching three passes for 27 yards, Johnson leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 833. His eight rushing touchdowns also are most in the league.
PALMER’S HAMSTRING: Palmer, who had missed the previous contest with a concussion, left the game with a strained hamstring after his nine-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd in the fourth quarter.
Arians said he didn’t think it was anything serious, and Palmer brushed it off.
“Just cramping,” he said. “A number of long, long-play drives, just a little dehydration, a little cramp.”
OFFENSIVE WOES: Coach Todd Bowles said there is much more to the Jets’ offensive woes than the quarterback play.
“We’re not scoring. We’re not moving the ball,” he said. “A whole bunch of things wrong, obviously. The coaches, the players. We’re not making plays. We’re not putting them in the right position to make plays, obviously by the results. As coaches, we’ve got to do a better job. As players, we’ve got to do a better job.”
Bowles said the offensive problems Monday night stemmed from a lack of time for Fitzpatrick in the pocket.
“It definitely wasn’t Fitz’s fault,” Bowles said. “I mean, he barely had time to throw. So, anybody we’d have put back there would have had a problem I think.”
REPLACEMENT GUARDS: The Cardinals got good performances from Earl Watford and John Wetzel in their first start at guard after injuries sidelined Evan Mathis and Mike Iupati.
Arians was especially pleased with Watford’s downfield blocking on Johnson’s long TD run.
“Our job is to run the ball and protect,” Watford said. “That is what we did today.”