There have been plenty of national headlines about the Arizona Cardinals newest WR DeAndre Hopkins debut. His 14 receptions for 151 yards were a welcomed sight for all fans in the desert expecting big things. More importantly, this team started 1-0 and after a slow start began to show a lot more offensive aptitude as the game went on. As great as Hopkins was, let’s take a look at the other contributors in the passing game on Sunday.
Okay, a quick look at Hopkins…
Hopkins did most of his damage lined up out wide left (away from Richard Sherman), making it a rough start to the season for 49ers CB Emmanuel Moseley who allowed seven of his catches on the day. Nearly half of his total came through his exceptional route running as 83 of his 151 yards were achieved through the air with little YAC. It we look at the routes in detail, you can see he excelled on the quick out routes and comebacks:
Maybe the 49ers will focus on keeping him inside the hash marks next time. Enough focus on Hopkins performance though, he’s great. Let’s take a look at how the rest of the pass catchers fared.
The running backs
The first score of the game actually came on a Chase Edmonds short pass that went for 10 yards right after a blocked punt.
Edmonds got more work than most fans expected, tied for second on the team with five total targets to go along with six rushing attempts. Another interesting note is that Edmonds lined up in the slot for nine snaps. Kingsbury is finding ways to have him on the field so expect to see him have about 10 touches/game moving forward.
Regardless, Kenyan Drake played over double the snaps of Edmonds and also chipped in with two short catches from the middle of the field. Per PFF Kenyan rated very highly as a runner and pass blocker and it was evident the team was finding its groove with him in the game as time went on.
The other WR’s
Looking at these charts, it’s clear this was the DeAndre Hopkins show. It’s also clear the Cardinals avoided the section of the field Sherman was patrolling, as they had very little success looking that way, evidenced by the 13 targets against the 49ers CB2 Moseley. Christian Kirk had an especially rough day, only bringing in one of four targets in the game. Offseason darling Dan Arnold also got on the stat sheet with two 10+ yard catches on the day.
Fans were all hoping for a bigger sophomore year from Andy Isabella. Disappointingly, he was only in on 10 passing snaps all day with no targets. On top of that, Cardinals fans were expecting to see him featured in a return role, but that didn’t materialize on Sunday, with Kirk handling the punt return duties and Edmonds on kickoffs.
This was a great start for the Cardinals and Hopkins looks like he will be a centerpiece of the Cardinals offense this year. This was also a performance where the “no preseason rust” clearly showed for the first half of the game.
The offensive hype of this past offseason isn’t going away any time soon and it looks like the Cardinals offense will be dangerous moving forward.