Adrian Peterson looked bad with the Saints. Awful, even. He was averaging just three yards a carry, his longest run was 11 yards, and it came on first and 20. He had carried the ball just 27 times.
When he was traded to the Cardinals last week, it seemed like a desperation move—so much so that one writer ran a “Report: Adrian Peterson Will Now Average Three Yards A Carry For The Cardinals” headline on his story about the trade. They’d tried Chris Johnson, and that didn’t work, so how about another former 2,000-yard rusher?
That writer is eating crow this morning. Peterson was electric in his debut with the Cardinals. He carried the ball 26 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns, helping Arizona to a 38-33 win over the Buccaneers.
He got the ball on the first play from scrimmage and ran for eight yards. Two plays later, he ran for another eight yards. The next play: 11 more yards. He ended his first drive as a member of the Cardinals with a 27-yard touchdown run. Arizona would never trail in the game. He had more yards in the first half (85) than he had in four games with the Saints (81).
“This is the opportunity that I’ve been waiting for,” Peterson told reporters postgame. “Once I got that call on Tuesday, I was rejuvenated. My wife even was like, ‘It feels like a boulder was just lifted off your back.’… you hear so much from outside sources—and I do a great job of blocking it, but I’m human and when you hear those things they kind of hit you a little bit—but for me, I never lost focus.”
Suddenly the Cardinals are rejuvenated alongside Peterson. An Arizona Republic columnist, Dan Bickley, wrote that Peterson may have saved the Cardinals season. Peterson said “the sky’s the limit.” This is a team that lost to the Eagles, 34-7, in its previous game.
But they’re a game back in the NFC West and play the division-leading Rams next week. They really could be back in the hunt! And it’s in part due to an old running back they traded a conditional draft pick for.