Thu, 26 Nov 2020

Isaiah Simmons, Tanner Vallejo Fill In Beautifully

Arizona Cardinals
27 Oct 2020, 18:03 GMT+10

Pro Football Focus observations from the Week 7 win over the Seahawks Kyle Odegard/Deep Dive

Jordan Hicks played every snap a season ago, so there was never a need for someone to step up in his absence.

On Sunday night against the Seahawks, an injury sidelined him for the end of fourth quarter and overtime, but the inside linebacker fill-ins proved to be more than capable.

Tanner Vallejo and Isaiah Simmons only played a combined 23 snaps, but they finished as the top-graded defenders on the Cardinals, according to Pro Football Focus.

Simmons, of course, had the overtime interception that helped set up the game-winning field goal. He earned a 92.6 grade in his five snaps.

Vallejo was credited with a pair of tackles, including the crucial third-and-2 stop to force a punt with one minute left. Vallejo was given an 85.8 overall grade on his 18 snaps.

"Tanner is a guy who doesn't get a lot of reps in practice," Kingsbury said. "We give the starters a ton of reps. Week in and week out, he knows it like he's a starter. He prepares like he is a starter. You see that third-and-2, if they get that, they win the game."

The Cardinals' inside linebacker corps may have been the thinnest group on the team a year ago, and now it may be the deepest.

Other Pro Football Focus Observations following the thrilling Week 7 win over the Seahawks:

Left tackle D.J. Humphries continued to excel with a grade of 75.4, which was fourth-best on the offense. Humphries earned an elite 89.0 pass-blocking grade, which was the third-best in the NFL in Week 7, pending "Monday Night Football." Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil had the best pass-blocking grade of the week at 90.3, and Cardinals guard Justin Murray was second at 89.1. Humphries has been the highest-graded offensive lineman in the NFL over the past three weeks with a mark of 92.5. Tight end Dan Arnold earned the highest grade on offense at 90.4. After being held without a catch the past two games, he hauled in a pair of passes for 57 yards, including a 41-yarder that set up a Christian Kirk touchdown. Defensive tackle Corey Peters had to play 61 snaps because of injuries on the line, and graded out well with a 73.8 overall mark. Peters is known as a great run defender, but it was an 87.5 pass-rush grade that stood out. Quarterback Kyler Murray earned an impressive 81.0 overall grade. He was given a 76.5 passing grade and a 74.5 rushing mark to finish as one of the higher-graded quarterbacks in the NFL on Sunday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick struggled in coverage, getting a 29.7 grade there. He was on Tyler Lockett for much of the night. PFF said Kirkpatrick allowed 13-of-16 passes to be completed for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Chase Edmonds earned a stellar 88.8 grade, getting high marks for his rushing and his receiving. Edmonds' season grade of 75.1 is the fourth-best on the Cardinals' offense.

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