Cards are 3-0! 5 observations from rout of 49ers

Posted at 9:36 PM, Sep 27, 2015

Five big takeaways from the Arizona Cardinals' 47-7 rout of the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers on Sunday to move the Cards to 3-0 on the season:

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1. An homage to Adrian Wilson.

There’s no better way to show respect to the man who was inducted into the Cardinals Ring of Honor Sunday than for the secondary to shine. Before former Cards safety Adrian Wilson was inducted at halftime, the Cardinals’ defensive backfield picked off 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick three times, returning two for touchdowns early in the first quarter. They added another pick in the third quarter.

Fellow safety Tyrann Mathieu picked off two Kaepernick passes, and he returned the first one for a score. Cornerback Justin Bethel returned his first-quarter INT for a touchdown for the first score of the game and set the tone for the entire game.

2. Old Man Johnson’s still got it.

Turning 30 years old is supposed to be the kiss of death for NFL running backs. It’s at that age that productivity often begins to go downhill. But this doesn’t appear to be the case for Cards running back Chris Johnson, who turned 30 on Wednesday.  Filling in for injured Andre Ellington for the second straight game, Johnson reeled off 110 rushing yards and a pair of second-quarter touchdowns Sunday

Johnson has 222 total yards on 43 touches in his last two games, including a 40-yard reception to set up the Cardinals’ first touchdown of the second half Sunday. Yep, the old man’s still got something left in the tank.

3. Mixed bag for O-line.

The Cardinals added suspended tackle Bobby Massie back to the offensive line Sunday, and while the O-line was efficient enough, there are certainly some issues to discuss. Palmer was under a good deal of pressure and hit several times Sunday, tackle Jared Veldheer was flagged three times, and the unit allowed its first sack of the season.

With that said, the offensive line is still performing head and shoulders above the way it did during preseason play. It did a great job of run blocking for Chris Johnson, and the imminent return of three-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati should make the unit even stronger. Credit also goes to backup center A.Q. Shipley, who did an excellent job blocking on a second-quarter Chris Johnson touchdown run.

4. Fitzgerald keeps rolling.

Speaking of old men: Cards receiver Larry Fitzgerald reminded the NFL last week that he’s still pretty good, as he recorded his first-ever regular-season three-touchdown game. Fitz followed that up by hauling in nine catches for 134 yards and a two TDs Sunday. His 90 receiving yards in the first quarter were a personal best.

5. Best all-around defensive effort.

With the offense humming right along, the Cardinals’ defense turned in good-enough performances in victories over the Saints and Bears. But they had easily their best game of the young season Sunday. Along with the four interceptions, the defense recorded a pair of sacks and a third-quarter safety. It also limited Carlos Hyde, the NFL’s leading rusher heading into Week 3, to just 51 yards on 15 carries.