QB Carson Palmer - Free Agent
|6-5, 230||Born: 12-27-1979||College: Southern California||Drafted: Round 1, pick 2003|
2017 Week 1 vs DET (27 / 48 / 269 / 1 / 3 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
After an offseason built around staying fresh, Palmer simply looked out of sync Sunday afternoon. Whether it was the frequently underthrown digs and outs, or the overthrows into the middle of the field that resulted in interceptions, Palmer simply could not connect. While Palmer deserves-and shouldered- a lion's share of the blame for Sunday's offensive futility, he was far from the only one to struggle. The offensive line's inability to keep an average at best pass rush at bay undoubtedly contributed to Palmer's rushed execution. Whether this was a singular sluggish effort or a harbinger of season-long offensive struggles remains to be seen, but the fact that offseason causes of concern have already materialized in week one is not a good sign.
2017 Week 2 vs IND (19 / 36 / 332 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 6 / 0 rush)
It is hard to find many positives in Palmer's performances through the season's first two weeks. Palmer's best football on Sunday was in the 4th quarter, with his team needing two scoring drives for a comeback. Beyond that anecdote, it was another subpar day for the signal-caller. The team failures that doomed the offense week one, from dropped balls to bad protection, were all evident again on Sunday, but so were Palmer's inadequacies. Struggles with out-routes, red-zone turnovers, and an increase in turnover-worthy throws has Palmer's 2017 off to a very similar start as 2016. He was able to right the ship about halfway through the season, but without the dynamic David Johnson, there is nobody capable of covering Palmer's current flaws. If he cannot address them far sooner than the midpoint of the season, this team will not have a chance to get off the ground.
2017 Week 3 vs DAL (29 / 48 / 325 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 7 / 0 rush)
Palmer had his finest game of the early 2017 season against Dallas. He was sharp with his ball placement as he completed every attempt in the first quarter but one late in the frame. The early-game theme was Arizona's offensive line protected Palmer well, but struggled to open running lanes. In the second half, the theme shifted as Dallas routinely pressured Palmer into throwaways or sacks on key plays. Palmer and Arizona dominated much of the first half, yet hit halftime tied. Palmer's two best throws of the game came on deep targets to Larry Fitzgerald. The second, a corner route in the end zone, tied the game late in the third quarter. More third down pressure in the second half led to Arizona trailing by 11 points with five minutes to play. Palmer had multiple throws into the end zone to extend the game and proceed to an onside kick, but Dallas' defense held once again.
2017 Week 4 vs SF (33 / 51 / 357 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
All season long evaluating Palmer has been a difficult task. His struggles and successes have been obvious at times, but there is also the context of playing behind arguably the worst offensive line in the league with mediocre at best skill position players. The same was true again on Sunday, with Palmer at times looking great, others making baffling turnover-worthy throws, and more often than not having next to no time to even throw. But if the judgment comes down to what you do when it matters most, Palmer's overtime two-minute touchdown drive puts him firmly positive. Palmer's last drive was quick and methodical, smartly understanding the situation as well as what the defense was offering, moving the team downfield 8-10 yards at a time. When opportunities for bigger chunks came, he took them, and capped it off with a gorgeous throw to Fitzgerald in between three defenders.
2017 Week 5 vs PHI (28 / 44 / 291 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer's box score shows a Quarterback playing within a terrible offense and mostly a victim of his circumstances. There is a large degree of truth to that, but it fails to paint the full picture. Three of Palmer's incompletions should have been easy interceptions. Two of those three should have been returned for uncontested touchdowns. Each of those throws had additional circumstances that could distribute blame to other areas of the offense. They were also truly awful throws, brought on mostly by desperation. This is what makes evaluating Palmer's 2017 season so difficult. There clearly are throws, specifically those outside the numbers, that Palmer cannot seem to hit with any consistency and zip this season. But his head coach and play-caller has made no adjustments to this, his skill position players are rarely able to get open, and his offensive line is so porous that no Quarterback has been hit as often as Palmer. Where Palmer's blame ends and that of those around him begins is the biggest question mark of the season, but regardless of distribution, this is a very bad offense with little chance at improvement.
2017 Week 6 vs TB (18 / 22 / 283 / 3 / 1 pass, 5 / -4 / 0 rush)
The debut of Adrian Peterson will rightly dominate the storylines regarding Sunday's game, but the performance of Carson Palmer was just as worthy. Boosted by not only a strong run game but also the improved protection from an upgraded offensive line, Palmer literally could not miss, starting the game an incredible 14/14. Palmer was laser-sharp at all levels of the field, but did the bulk of his damage at the intermediate level, in-between the numbers. This has become Palmer's strength, and his ability to drive the ball outside the numbers remains in question, but Sunday clearly showed Palmer has plenty of gas left in the tank. He needs the support of a strong cast around him, but the team's early season struggles were always much greater than the Quarterback play.
2017 Week 7 vs LAR (10 / 18 / 122 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer broke his left arm late in the second quarter after being hit by Alec Ogletree, blitzing up the middle from his linebacker spot. Palmer is almost certainly out for the season, and retirement questions will undoubtedly swirl once again. Before the injury, Palmer was spotty once again, looking crisp on the opening drive but struggling from that point on. If this is the end for Palmer it is a sad one, leaving with a thud despite being one of the franchise's most prolific passers.
2016 Week 1 vs NE (24 / 37 / 271 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
In his first real game back from last season's disastrous NFC Championship game, Palmer played well, but the offense as a whole never found a rhythm. Credit must be given to the Patriots whose game plan clearly focused on taking away John Brown and the deep ball, forcing everything underneath. Palmer's 7.2 yards per attempt help illustrate this point. Beyond that however, there was no predominant issue. Pressures, drops, penalties, and miscommunications all popped up at times, but were never persistent. Expectations for the Cardinals offense are high coming off a record setting season, and this may simply be the case of playing a quality opponent, but still, something seemed discordant. There were some positives in the effort, to be sure. Palmer displayed his usual ability to spread the ball around, targeting eight different receivers, and his timing with both Fitzgerald and Floyd looked spot on for all 60 minutes. Palmer flirted with a few turnovers, but looked well in command of his accuracy and decision making, a small bit of relief for fans wondering how he would respond to the NFC Championship meltdown. Analysis tends to ask for strong statements, but Sunday night Palmer was just simply OK. That may not be enough to take the Cardinals to the heights they are striving for, but efforts like last night's won't be what costs the Cardinals games going forward this season.
2016 Week 2 vs TB (17 / 30 / 304 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Coming back from the week one hiccup, Palmer and the Cardinals offense looked much more like the one we grew accustom to in the 2015-16 season. The offense moved smoothly up and down the field, the play calling was balanced, and unlike last week, Palmer seemed much more in sync with his skill position players. Arguably, the most illustrative box-score statistic in comparing Palmer's week one and two performance was his yards per attempt. An imperfect measurement to be sure, but Palmer and the Cardinals offense rely on the deep ball and chunk-play more than most, and this week's 9.9 yards per attempt were a significant improvement over the 7.2 yards in week one. There are things that can be nitpicked; Palmer's sub-60 completion percentage or the near-interception in the end zone (albeit due to an incorrectly run route from David Johnson,) but that would be reaching for faults. On Sunday Palmer was making the right reads, throwing darts, and leading his team to a much needed, ship-righting victory on Sunday.
2016 Week 3 vs BUF (26 / 50 / 287 / 0 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
When an offense performs as poorly as Arizona's did on Sunday, it is natural to point the finger at the Quarterback. It is much easier to do when the final four offensive drives all end in interceptions. As much as Palmer deserves to shoulder his share of the blame, Sunday's performance comprised of failures at nearly every level. Between the bad blocking, miscommunication with receivers, and dropped passes, little was done around Palmer that helped. One problem that oddly plagued Palmer all afternoon were underthrown passes. When Palmer's accuracy wanes, it typically manifests itself into overthrows because of sloppy footwork. Today, Palmer consistently underthrew receivers. Some passes downright failed to reach their target, in other instances what should have been easily catchable balls were instead contested. The Cardinals returned an offense with every skill position player from last year's record setting team, and yet through three games do not appear to be on the same page at all. Until these miscues in communication cease, the Cardinals offensive struggles likely will continue.
2016 Week 4 vs LA (23 / 36 / 288 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The big news for Palmer was the possible concussion he suffered late in Sunday's game, knocking him out for the team's last two drives and seriously putting into question his ability to be ready for the Cardinals Thursday night game in San Francisco. What will get lost in the news of the injury was Palmer's performance itself, once again failing to match the heights of last year's play. The offensive issues extend well beyond Palmer himself, there seems to be a breakdown of some sort on what feels like every offensive snap, but Palmer is simply not as crisp and precise with his ball placement this year. Nearly every deep or jump ball pass this season has been underthrown. Many of the intermediate level crossing and post patterns, a staple of this offense, have been thrown just behind receivers. Again, blocking breakdowns, untimely penalties, and dropped passes have all taken turns letting down this offense, but simply put Carson Palmer has not played near the level he was expected to.
2016 Week 7 vs SEA (29 / 49 / 342 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Against the stout Seattle defense, Palmer played a strong game, protecting the football and marching the offense up and down the field on seemingly every possession. The offense as a unit consistently failed to score once in Seattle territory, a problem in which Palmer deserves a share of the blame for, but there was plenty to spread. Questionable play calls, quality defense, protection breakdowns, and dropped passes all played their part in the offense Cardinals failing to convert long drives into scores. Palmer moved well in a pocket that was under siege all night, worked his progressions to find open receivers without forcing potential turnovers, and when necessary, threaded the ball into tight, well-covered windows. Whatever solace can be taken from an offense that scored six points in five quarters, Palmer has looked a lot more like the quarterback of 2015 since returning from his concussion two weeks ago than he had for the first four weeks of the season.
2016 Week 8 vs CAR (35 / 46 / 363 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Pressure was the theme of Palmer's day on Sunday, either creating costly turnovers or ending drives that showed signs of promise. When given time, Palmer was steady and accurate, but those opportunities came too infrequently for an offense that put itself into a quick hole. The Cardinals first possession resulted in a sack-fumble, although on replay it did seem as though Palmer flicked the ball forward, setting the tone for the day to come. Eight total sacks and continuous pressure throughout thwarted any comeback attempt, but not for lack of effort from the quarterback. Palmer found J.J Nelson twice and John Brown for scores, but an incredibly athletic play by Kony Ealy intercepting a screen pass at the line ended any comeback bid. Palmer struggled early in the season and the team did too as a result, but he has been sharp the last three weeks since returning from injury despite overall outcomes. Palmer seems to have cleaned up many of his early season mistakes, and it will be up to the rest of the team around him to do so during the bye week, or the Cardinals will quickly find themselves in a hole too big to escape.
2016 Week 10 vs SF (30 / 49 / 376 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 16 / 0 rush)
As has been the case throughout this tumultuous season, there was a lot of good in Carson Palmer's game Sunday afternoon. Yet falling into the same patterns the offense has all season, breakdowns and mistakes at inopportune times prevented the offense from really breaking out in any significant way. Palmer was aggressive Sunday, continuously looking deep for the big passing plays that have eluded this team all season, albeit to mixed results. Palmer is still frequently underthrowing the deep ball, something that can be justified when throwing to a jump-ball receiver like Michael Floyd, but not the small speedsters like Brown and Nelson. Furthermore, Palmer's fumble and second interception both ended promising drives simply on careless play. Despite that, Palmer was great when the team seemingly needed him most. His 2-minute drill play at the end of the first half was nearly flawless and the game-winning drive was equally as good. As Palmer goes so does this offense, and unfortunately despite coming off the bye, Palmer and the offense looked every bit as rocky as before.
2016 Week 11 vs MIN (20 / 38 / 198 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 11 / 0 rush)
As has been a theme throughout the season, it was another tough afternoon for Carson Palmer. His offensive line was abysmal, leading to pressures on 63% of his dropbacks according to Pro Football Focus, and his receivers one again let him down, dropping catchable balls and bailing out on routes. There is a lot of blame to be spread well beyond the quarterback, but Palmer has not been without his own failures either. Most notably has been his penchant to throw into double-coverage, including both of today's interceptions. The quarterback will always bear the biggest brunt of the team's failures, and coming off a career year Palmer absolutely has failed to meet expectations, but largely the offense around Palmer has done little to prop up their QB, and instead only exacerbated the issues.
2016 Week 12 vs ATL (25 / 45 / 289 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
It was the same story on Sunday again for Carson Palmer, continuously being let down by the offense around him, while also being unable to elevate the play of the offense as great quarterbacks are expected to do. The failures were familiar; plagued by dropped passes, protection breakdowns, and play-calling that often appeared questionable at best. As Atlanta built their lead, the Cardinals became one-dimensional, exacerbating each of these shortcomings. Palmer was sharp early, leading the team to their first opening possession touchdown of the season on a 1-yard play-action pass to Jermaine Gresham in the back of the end zone, but by the time the Palmer found the end zone again late in the 4th quarter, the game was mostly beyond reach. The team's second half deficit caused Arians to abandon the run game almost entirely, further putting pressure on a makeshift line. ESPN reported that Palmer was escorted out of the locker-room after the game, likely to the X-Ray room, something that will require monitoring throughout the week.
2016 Week 13 vs WAS (30 / 46 / 300 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
With the season on the line, Carson Palmer played his best game of the season. Palmer was accurate and patient, finding his underneath receivers early and often, but still managed to show off his arm strength on two phenomenal second-half touchdown throws. The first came at the end of the third quarter, when Palmer able to find Michael Floyd for a six-yard score that required a rocket of a throw with pinpoint accuracy as two defenders quickly closed in. The second, a gutsy game-winning call, had Palmer heaving a 42-yard bomb to J.J. Nelson with just a few minutes left in the 4th quarter. Despite the Cardinals protecting a lead and a few open underneath routes, Nelson was able to get behind his defender and Palmer lofted up a perfect pass, again threading between two defenders, and sealing up a win in a do-or-die situation for the Cardinals. The path to the playoffs is still a very steep climb, but if Palmer can continue putting in performances reminiscent of his 2015 season, it just may be enough to make that push.
2016 Week 14 vs MIA (18 / 33 / 145 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
Playing behind a third-string offensive line in pouring Miami rain, Palmer played an atrocious game. With more turnovers than touchdowns and a paltry 4.4 yards per attempt, Palmer was not simply ineffective, but more often than not detrimental. There are some caveats to that, of course. The offensive line, which has been ravished by injury, was overwhelmed all afternoon, giving Palmer few opportunities to set his feet, much less go through his progressions. The rain was unrelenting and contributed to an almost comical amount of slips and fumbles from both teams. However, the Cardinals were in "playoff mode" with every game do-or-die for them, and on Sunday, they officially went. So many of the offenses struggles this season were issues beyond Palmer's control, but he also never came close to repeating his 2015 success. Financially the Cardinals are invested in Palmer for at least one more season, and without an obvious heir-apparent it is anyone's guess who they would even move on to, but it is also abundantly clear that any potential Super Bowl run next season would be in spite of Palmer, and not because of him, leaving the team in a tenuous spot as they begin to assess their offseason outlook.
2016 Week 15 vs NO (28 / 40 / 318 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer found his old form on Sunday, playing like his 2015 version, although ironically in a game in which the Cardinals were finally mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt. Palmer's box score was impressive, but in actuality, he played significantly better. Wide receiver drops have been an issue for this team since week one and on Sunday two drops from J.J. Nelson cost the Cardinals quarterback another 80 or so yards as well as a touchdown. Despite a makeshift offensive line, playing third-string options and a few different spots, Palmer moved effectively in the pocket, was quick with his reads and decisive with his decisions, and not only worked the short and intermediate field well, but even found his deep-ball again. Palmer has taken the brunt of the criticism for the offense's season-long struggles, not uncommon for any quarterback, but nevertheless unfair for those who have watched this team week-in, week-out. Palmer regressed from his 2015 form, and cemented the fact that he cannot be the centerpiece of a Super Bowl caliber team, but the list of problems for the 2016 Cardinals is a long one, and despite claims to the contrary, Palmer is not anywhere near the top of that list.
2016 Week 16 vs SEA (16 / 26 / 284 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Despite a makeshift line and without one of his top targets for the 2016 season, Palmer played a spectacular game Saturday up in Seattle. It was a controlled effort from Palmer, only dropping back for 26 attempts, taking fewer shots downfield, and throwing with a pinpoint accuracy that ensured he would not turn the ball over. Palmer's highlight of the day, an 80-yard bomb to J.J. Nelson came nearly immediately after Seattle Safety Kam Chancellor left the game with an injury, displaying the smarts and savviness he played with all afternoon. After a difficult season in which Palmer both clearly regressed and also ultimately was blamed for far more of the team's woes than he was responsible for, he has played some of his best football of the year of late, proving that while the Cardinals need to find their eventual replacement, he is still a viable option going forward.
2016 Week 17 vs LA (20 / 38 / 255 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer took a bit of a step back from his recent hot streak, throwing with a little less accuracy then he displayed against both the Saints and Seahawks. Despite this, Palmer did more than enough, throwing three touchdown passes, connecting on multiple big plays, and guiding the offense on enough scoring drives to break open a game in which his defense absolutely dominated their opponent. Whether a fan, detractor, or anywhere in the middle, there is no arguing Palmer's toughness and grit, both of which were on display Sunday as his makeshift offensive line gave way to many hard hits and knockdowns, despite only being sacked once. Despite the strong finish to a disappointing season, Palmer's future remains very much in doubt. He has spoken often about coming back next season, and yet whispers continue to persist that he will not. With Fitzgerald also contemplating retirement, there are many unknowns for the Cardinals offense moving forward in 2017, but Palmer's resurgence at the end of the season can provide a strong glimmer of hope that the 2016 season was more a speed bump than a downward trend.
2015 Week 1 vs NO (19 / 32 / 307 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 14 / 0 rush)
Ever since acquiring Palmer in the spring of 2013, Cardinals GM Steve Keim has repeated a variation of the same quote several times, saying that if given proper protection, Palmer could still spin the ball as well as anyone in the league. On Sunday, and for much of his Cardinals career, Palmer has proven that statement true. Palmer spread the ball around on Sunday, targeting nine different players throughout the game, accurate with his ball placement in tight windows, and applying continual pressure on the defense by attacking with deep and intermediate throws. Palmer averaged nearly ten-yards per throw on Sunday, and with a completion percentage just a hair-shy of 60, it is clear to see the Cardinals passing game was clicking on nearly every cylinder. His three touchdowns also showed the fantasy potential Palmer has when properly protected. The Saints do not bolster one of the league's better pass rushes, but giving up zero sacks and minimal pressure was an excellent start of the year for Palmer's protectors and a sign of great optimism for the team and fans.
2015 Week 2 vs CHI (17 / 24 / 185 / 4 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Wins are not a quarterback-stat, but Palmer's 14-2 record in his last 16 starts feels significant. It indicates a well-rounded team and undoubtedly some luck along the way, but it hints at a consistency from the position the Cardinals have very rarely had since relocating to the valley of the sun. Moreover, its not as if Palmer's other statistics betray this notion. He is tied with Tom Brady for most passing touchdowns (7) in the NFL through two weeks. On Sunday, he finished the day with a completion percentage just north of 70, a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio, and a QB Rating over 115. Scouting service Pro Football Focus graded him at a +3.7. Palmer's lone mistake of the day, an interception late in the 2nd quarter, required an impressively athletic play from Jared Allen. Additionally, one of Palmer's best attributes as the Cardinals quarterback has been his ability to spread the ball around, but Sunday he both recognized and fed the hot hands of Larry Fitzgerald. With a full command of the offense, a healthy Palmer has the opportunity to take this Cardinals team to heights they have seldom reached.
2015 Week 3 vs SF (20 / 32 / 311 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Much like many of the players who claim to be in the best shape of their lives, it was fair to wonder if Palmer's offseason talk about improved mechanics and better arm strength would translate into results or simply unfulfilled hype. Through the admittedly small sample-size of the first three games, the results seem to speak for themselves. Palmer was stellar once again on Sunday, completing over 60% of this passes, racking up over 300 yards along with two touchdowns to his new favorite target, some guy named Larry Fitzgerald. Credit for the Cardinals offensive explosion can be passed around to many; the line's improved protection, the revamped running game, a fantastic wide receiver corps led by Fitzgerald and John Brown, and of course the mad-scientist Bruce Arians' play-calling. However, it is Palmer mastery of the offense that coalesces this into a unit capable of dominance. Palmer exploited the middle of the field with ease on Sunday and was exceptional on play-action, continually finding receivers who seemed to have 5-yards of separation on nearly every play. The schedule will eventually get harder and the gaudy numbers may come down a bit, but Palmer and the passing game are playing at an elite level right now, and barring injury, that seems unlikely to change anytime soon.
2015 Week 4 vs LA (29 / 46 / 352 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Despite playing his worst game of the season on Sunday, averaging his lowest yards per attempt and an unfortunate 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio, Palmer still moved the ball effectively against the Rams and played well overall in the loss. While others' more costly errors ultimately lost the game on Sunday, Palmer's mistakes were noteworthy in that they came at crucial points in the game. Arguably, Palmer's two worst throws of the day came on the Cardinals last possession as they tried to convert 3rd, then 4th-2. In both instances, Palmer had a relatively clean pocket and an open receiver, Jaron Brown and David Johnson respectively, and overthrew both. Additionally, Palmer's second-quarter interception on an underthrown deep post to John Brown led directly to a Rams field goal while costing the Cardinals a scoring opportunity after they had easily moved the ball to midfield.
2015 Week 5 vs DET (11 / 14 / 161 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
To borrow a cliché, Palmer's day was the definition of efficient on Sunday against the Lions. Taking advantage of short fields afforded from a turnover-happy defense, and a dominant run game, Palmer needed only 14 passes on Sunday to make his mark. With as many incompletions (3) as touchdown throws, Palmer made the most of nearly every attempt. Arguably, the truest mark of Palmer's impressive performance on Sunday was his 11.5 yards per attempt. To play so efficiently in an offense designed for short, quick throws is deserving of praise, but to do so in an offense that is pushing the ball downfield more than any other team in the NFL is simply remarkable, and unsurprisingly it was Palmer's longest throw of the day that was his most impressive. Facing 2nd-10 from his own 1-yard line, Palmer confidently dropped back into his own end zone, and tossed a beautifully thrown ball to John Brown running a simple go-route down the right sideline. The ball floated perfectly over the defender's outstretched arms and right into Brown's hands, traveling 40-some yards in the air. Four plays later the Cardinals founds the end zone for an impressive 5-play, 99-yard touchdown drive.
2015 Week 6 vs PIT (29 / 45 / 421 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer's day Sunday was a bit of a mixed bag both statistically and when watching the film. That made it even more surprising to see Pro Football Focus grade him as their #1 Quarterback for week six. What likely resulted in this apparent discrepancy was that many of Palmer's best throws were nullified by penalties (or in the case of a missed defensive pass interference call, the lack thereof,) or errors from his teammates. Easily the most impressive aspect of Palmer's play on Sunday was his downfield throwing, with his first throw of the game a 45-yard bomb to John Brown down the sideline. Ultimately, however, Palmer's success when throwing deep on Sunday led to a few of his more costly errors, including the late red-zone interception that all but ended the game. On the play, trailing by five from the Steeler's 20, Palmer lost sight of the free safety, and instead of finding Fitzgerald open underneath for an easy gain, Palmer forced the ball to a double-covered John Brown in the end zone for an interception. The play was a microcosm of the team all-day, falling just short due to a self-inflicted error.
2015 Week 7 vs BAL (20 / 29 / 275 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
While Monday night's game lacked in the many deep pass attempts that Palmer has been so successful with this season, an efficient effort was all that was necessary to continuously lead the Cardinals down the field and into scoring opportunities. Most impressively, on the few instances Palmer did throw deep, all but one connected. Completing nearly 70% of his throws and once again excelling in the intermediate range, Palmer was able to exploit the sub-par Ravens secondary with relative ease all night. Palmer's distribution of targets reflected the lack of downfield attempts Monday night, with tight end Jermaine Gresham co-leading the team in both targets and receptions, while running backs Andre Ellington and David Johnson were also featured regularly in the passing game. The lone complaint unfortunately again for Palmer and the offense was its red-zone efficiency. While this was mostly due to a stagnant red-zone run game, twice the team kicked field goals on drives that ended within the opponents 5-yard line, something that simply cannot continue to happen as the team gets ready for its significantly harder 2nd-half schedule.
2015 Week 8 vs CLE (23 / 38 / 374 / 4 / 1 pass, 3 / 6 / 0 rush)
The trends that Palmer has established through the first seven weeks of the season were on display again on Sunday- pushing the ball downfield, throwing with accuracy, minimizing mistakes, and converting on third-downs. Despite swirling winds and a sidelined John Brown, Palmer still threw for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns, keeping him tied with Tom Brady for the most touchdowns in the league. Earlier in the week, Palmer mentioned to media members that red-zone and third-down conversions were the only two passing stats he was concerned with, and his 60% red-zone and 80% third-down conversions would certainly classify as a success. Palmer's one major miscue, a 3rd quarter interception, was a questionable decision at best, simply throwing it up to covered Larry Fitzgerald but also involved a questionable no-call for what appeared to be a defensive hold. Overall, it was another excellent game from Palmer, who also credited Coach Arians for having orchestrated what Palmer called "the best play-called game of [his] career." Heading into their bye-week Palmer has guided his team to a two-game lead in their division and himself into MVP consideration.
2015 Week 10 vs SEA (29 / 48 / 363 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Palmer continued his MVP campaign with another spectacular effort Sunday night in Seattle's hostile environment against one of the league's best defenses. Palmer was in part responsible for all three of the team's turnovers (blocking breakdowns bear much of the responsibility for both strip-sacks, but the red-zone interception was all on Palmer,) he overcame those negative plays with three touchdown passes and several more sensational throws. While nowhere near the crafty scrambler that his counterpart on the evening is, one of the most impressive attributes of Palmer's game on Sunday, and truthfully throughout the season, has been his ability to move around in the pocket, keeping plays alive for important conversions. Palmer was consistently moved off his spot Sunday night by an impressive pass rush, but still managed to complete over 70% of his passes against pressure. Palmer once again completed over 60% of this throws, and while his 7.6 yard per pass was over a full-yard shy of his season long average, he still managed to push the ball downfield including touchdowns of 27 and 35 yards. With the three unbeaten teams, all featuring excellent quarterback play this season, the narrative might not be on Palmer's side for an eventual MVP trophy, but nobody in the NFL is playing as well as Carson Palmer right now, a statement not many imagined at the start of the season.
2015 Week 11 vs CIN (20 / 31 / 317 / 4 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
After settling down from an admittedly overzealous start, which resulted in interceptions on two of the Cardinals first three offensive possessions of the game, Palmer snapped back into MVP form, picking apart an injured secondary for four touchdown passes, including three in the 3rd quarter. In typical Palmer fashion, all four touchdowns were caught by different receivers, letting the coverage dictate his targets, despite the absence of Michael Floyd. A week after picking apart the vaunted Legion of Boom in Seattle, Palmer followed up by hanging 31 points on a defense who had not given up more than 24 points all season. The Cardinals can and will score on anyone so long as they protect Palmer and he limits his mistakes; both issues the Cardinals have been able to impressively overcome as of late and still win games, but a certain recipe for failure come playoff time. With two tremendous quarterbacks currently leading their teams to undefeated seasons, MVP accolades may not be in Palmer's future, but presently, nobody is playing the position better than Carson.
2015 Week 12 vs SF (24 / 40 / 271 / 0 / 0 pass, 3 / 6 / 1 rush)
Nobody was immune to the offensive struggles on Sunday, with the league's statistically best quarterback failing to out-gain his counterpart, Blaine Gabbert. With pressure in his face all afternoon, Carson Palmer never managed to find the groove and move the ball with any sort of consistency for most of the afternoon. San Francisco penalties bailed out the Cardinals offense all afternoon long, with four penalties inside the 5-yard line aiding the Cardinals in their first touchdown drive, and a highly questionable roughing call helping the Cardinals drive down for the game winning score. This was the first game all season long Palmer has failed to throw a touchdown pass, but did manage to score the game-winning touchdown on a broken play scramble late in the fourth. Palmer was sloppy, throwing often into double-coverage, and pressed a bit too much when frustrated by the pressure, but in the end, despite a porous offensive line and virtually no run game, did manage to guide his team into the win column once again.
2015 Week 13 vs LA (26 / 40 / 356 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Throughout the week of preparation for the Rams, many on the team talked about approaching the game with revenge on the mind, but nobody more so than Carson Palmer. The demons of the disappointing week four loss were largely exercised on Sunday, with a thorough domination of the Rams in St. Louis. A few early game offensive stalls in Rams territory deprived the Cardinals of more points, but Palmer passed with precision all afternoon, moving the offense down the field on seemingly every drive. Palmer threw two touchdown passes on the day, finding rookie speedster JJ Nelson in the back of the end zone on the team's first possession, then later threading a needing to David Johnson sitting down in a zone. Palmer hit on multiple deep attempts, found his hot-reads on Ram blitzes, and threw for over 350 yards all while spreading the ball around to seven different receivers. If revenge was a primary motivator, Palmer surely showed off his deadly side.
2015 Week 14 vs MIN (25 / 35 / 310 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 3 / 0 rush)
The box score for Palmer's game on Thursday shows a game much in line with the MVP performances he has been putting together all season, but in reality Thursday was a much more disjointed effort than the stat line indicates. Palmer's accuracy, pocket presence, and ability to spread the ball around were all on display, but struggled more than usual pushing the ball downfield, with both touchdown passes featuring significant yards after the catch. The 65-yard touchdown pass to John Brown featured roughly 45 yards after the catch, while Michael Floyd's 42-yard score involved some 35-yards of YAC. This is not meant to denigrate Palmer's performance, he routinely drove his team down for scoring opportunities, including a crucial drive late in the 4th-quarter for the eventual game-winning field goal, it just was a little bit sloppier than anyone anticipated with so many Viking defensive injuries. Nevertheless, playing on a Thursday prevents proper preparation, but Palmer was able to overcome the obstacles and some less than stellar pass-protection to walk away with a crucial win in a tight NFC playoff race.
2015 Week 15 vs PHI (20 / 32 / 274 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Multiple costly drops from John Brown likely robbed Palmer of another multi-touchdown performance, but apart from that statistical letdown, Palmer was simply sensational Sunday night. Facing a banged-up Philadelphia secondary, Palmer was quick to identify the open receiver and accurate in his ball placement all evening, allowing his talented pass-catchers the opportunity for additional yards after the catch. Palmer only connected on one deep ball, an incredible sideline throw to Michael Floyd, but two drops on deep throws to John Brown and the inability of J.J Nelson to better fight for a contested ball helped contribute to that. Palmer kept taking his shots throughout the night still, and in-between expertly worked the short and intermediate routes, picking up first downs with ease and continuously marching his team down on scoring drives. The box score for Palmer was not especially gaudy Sunday night, but the performance was impressive nonetheless.
2015 Week 16 vs GB (18 / 27 / 265 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Celebrating his 36th birthday, Palmer played an efficient and effective game, making the plays necessary to guide the offense on four scoring drives, while otherwise ceding the game to his team's dominant, stifling defense. After a little sloppiness on the team's first two possessions, Palmer then guided the offense to three consecutive scoring drives to close out the first half, including touchdowns throws to Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown. Both touchdown passes came on fairly simple slant routes, with each receiver doing an excellent job sitting down in the defense's zone, providing a window for Palmer to thread a pass through. Two defensive touchdowns and a 14-yard David Johnson scoring run later, there was not much more Palmer had to do to help earn the win, but Palmer did so nearly flawlessly. His one gaffe, the team's only turnover in the last five games, came late in the second quarter when Palmer threw an interception to a Packers linemen while trying to sett up a screen. After intercepting Aaron Rodgers right back, Palmer led the team down 80-yards in less than a minute capping the drive off with the aforementioned touchdown to John Brown for Palmer's signature drive of the game.
2015 Week 17 vs SEA (12 / 25 / 129 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
According to Head Coach Bruce Arians, pulling Palmer at the half was always part of the plan, despite telling the media otherwise. What clearly was not part of the plan, broadcast or not, was the effort displayed in the first half and the absolute domination at the hand of a division rival because of it. Palmer undoubtedly played his worst game, or half, of the season, but was done no favors by his teammates. Incorrect routes run by receivers led to Palmer's lone interception, nearly caused another and left many yards on the field. Dropped passes failed to convert first downs and an offensive line that did little to provide a run game nor much pass protection were all at fault as well. Nevertheless, Palmer was not sharp, and like the rest of the team, not invested in Sunday's game. Nothing should be taken away from the Seahawks effort, a team every bit as scary heading into the postseason as they have been the previous three years, but whether it was from reading their press-clippings or treating the game like an exhibition, this Cardinals team did not show much interest in the outcome of their week 17 matchup. Possibly the most troubling stat from Palmer that came out of this game was his 5.2 yard average, over three full yards lower than his season-long average. Pushing the ball downfield against Seattle always poses a challenge, but if these two teams do play each other again in the playoffs, Palmer must find a way to connect on more of the chunk plays that have driven this Cardinals offense all season long.
2014 Week 1 vs SD (24 / 37 / 304 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 29 / 0 rush)
For as great a stat-line as Palmer ended with, there seems to be much criticism this morning surrounding his play last night. And to be certain there were some bad plays, most notably two sure interceptions that San Diego dropped. There were other poor throws and bad decisions, with some mistaking Larry Fitzgerald's lack of targets as evidence of that, but to let that overshadow the positives Palmer displayed rings false to me. Palmer completed nearly 65% of his passes, to 11 different receivers while amassing his 300+ yards and 2 touchdowns. Even more impressive was Palmer's downfield throwing; going 8-12 on throws over 15 yards and compiling over 200 of his total passing yards on those throws. Bruce Arians' offense is predicated on "chunk plays" and Palmer was fantastic in that area. In an increasingly analytical sports world, the composure, confidence and leadership necessary to lead two forth quarter touchdown drives gets lost in the shuffle. Even his rushing totals don't do justice to the importance and impressiveness of his scrambling last night, which extended critical plays including his first touchdown throw to Stepfan Taylor. Palmer was far from perfect, and even in his best performances the "bad" Carson Palmer will always still come out, but Palmer more than anyone else on that roster is the reason The Cardinals are 1-0 today.
2014 Week 6 vs WAS (28 / 44 / 250 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -3 / 0 rush)
With injuries continuing to decimate the Cardinals defense, stability on the offensive side of the ball was imperative, and the return of Carson Palmer provided just that. After having missed 4 straight weeks and only really seeing his first significant practice snaps on Friday, Palmer exceeded expectations in his return. The Cardinals opened the game with the same play action Tight End crossing route they began their week two game against the Giants with, giving Palmer a quickly defined read and easy throw to establish an early rhythm. While there were misreads and errant throws, not to mention a dropped red-zone interception, by and large Palmer did what he does best; work through his progressions, spread the ball around and pick up chunk yardage. The offensive line had some issues with both protection and penalties this week and its possible the shuffling of Quarterbacks, and their various cadence, rhythms and pocket movement hurt the unit up front a bit, but many of those penalties were either drive killers, or turned touchdowns into field goals in the red-zone, contributing to The Cardinals continued red-zone issues this season. Those will have to get cleaned up for The Cardinals to stay atop the NFC West. Palmer cautioned after the game that he "is not out of the woods yet," so his shoulder health will be something to continue to monitor, but in his limited time this season, Palmer has been downright excellent.
2014 Week 7 vs OAK (22 / 31 / 253 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
In truth Palmer put together a better box score than game performance on Sunday, but was still able to do enough well to lead his team to victory. While Palmer again spread the ball around nicely throughout the offense, something he's been praised for in his limited playing time this season, there was a clear overreliance on Andre Ellington and the short-passing game. Ellington's 9 targets represented one more than Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd combined for. That is not Bruce Arians offense. The Cardinals' interception-free streak also came to an end Sunday, with Palmer overthrowing a wide-open John Carlson on an easy seam-route. Palmer's touchdown throw to Michael Floyd, however, featured an excellent read and perfect execution. Arizona lined up in a 4-WR set, with 3 to the left and 1 wide to the right. With Floyd on the outside of the 3-receiver set, Palmer watched as the safety slowly moved towards center field, leaving single-coverage on the outside. John Brown's intermediate route held the safety just long enough for Palmer to throw one up and let Michael Floyd do the rest. Perfect read and great execution from both Palmer and Floyd. There are positive signs for this offense to be sure; that was the run-game's best effort all season and Palmer continues to play well against pressure, but the schedule now gets immeasurably more difficult and the offense must begin clicking with much more consistency if they want to keep their spot atop the NFC West.
2014 Week 8 vs PHI (20 / 42 / 329 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer's day on Sunday was defined by the big play. Even before the two second-half touchdown throws, Palmer completed passes of 25 and 30 yards to John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald respectively. Those big plays were necessary and made Palmer-and by extension the offense as a whole- appear much better than they actually played. Those four throws out of Palmer's 42 total passing attempts amassed 200 of his 329 total yards. What happened in between those 4 plays was decidedly less pretty and showed an offense that seemed completely out of sync. Coach Arians was quick to take much of the blame, admitting they were not prepared for many of the looks the Eagles showed. This left the offense in a lot of undesirable down-and-distances making it difficult to sustain drives. But it was the big plays that mattered most in this game, and none was bigger than Palmer's incredible game-winning touchdown throw to John Brown late in the 4th quarter. Facing a 3rd and 5 on their own 25-yard line, the Cardinals lined up in a 4-reciever, 1-tight end set with Palmer in the shotgun. On both sides the receivers were in a bunched set with John Brown as the top man to Palmer's left. The play is called "match" and after watching John Brown's acceleration, one can likely guess why. Immediately reading the favorable coverage with a safety lined up on Brown, Palmer signaled to his rookie receiver before snapping the ball. With Brown's man biting on his double-move, Brown easily blew past both defenders in his area as Palmer stepped up in the pocket and laid out a gorgeous ball for Brown to run under. The ball landed right in his "bread basket" as Brown referred to it in his postgame quotes, and he was able to just barely cross the goal line before being taken down.
2014 Week 9 vs DAL (22 / 34 / 249 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
After an auspicious start, throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown on the third play of the game, Palmer settled in nicely to lead his team to victory on Sunday. The stat of the day that sticks out most for the Cardinals offense would be their four touchdowns in four red zone trips after entering the day as the 31st ranked red zone team. Even more impressively, all four touchdowns came on 3rd down. The Cardinals were 9-15 on 3rd downs Sunday, a key in allowing them to sustain drives and win the time of possession battle and keep Demarco Murray off the field. Palmer's first touchdown of the day came in a 5-wide set with the cowboys only bringing three rushers. With the lack of pass-rush affording Palmer ample time, he was able to find TE John Carlson working a crossing route over the middle into a soft spot in the Cowboys zone. Midway through the second quarter, Palmer threw his second touchdown of the day, this time to rarely used Jaron Brown. Once again in a 5-wide set, Brown was able to get inside his man on a quick-slant and Palmer delivered a perfect strike before the safety could arrive. Capping off his three-touchdown day was a one-yard pass on a play-action play at the goal line. After faking the handoff to upback Robert Hughes, Palmer found Andre Ellington wide open for an easy 1-yard touchdown throw. One of the many facets that separate Palmer from the revolving door of sub-par QBs the Cardinals had before his arrival is his short memory. Mistakes are not compounded upon each other, but instead quickly forgotten and often overcome. The Dallas win in in many ways was a microcosm of what Palmer brings to this team.
2014 Week 10 vs STL (25 / 36 / 241 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Prior to his injury, Palmer was not having his best day. He overthrew Michael Floyd for what should have been a long touchdown, threw an uncharacteristic (at least, this season,) red-zone interception and just generally was unable to lift up an offense that was struggling to run the ball effectively. Palmer did make some really great 3rd down conversion throws, arguably his best attribute all season long, and did appear to find a bit of a groove prior to the injury. His final two drives of the day both ended in disaster, the red-zone interception and the injury respectively, but both featured some of his better throws of the day and a passing game that appeared to be clicking for the first time all day. As of Monday afternoon, the Cardinals confirmed that Palmer tore his ACL and is out for the season.
2013 Week 1 vs STL (26 / 40 / 327 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Even after only one game, Palmer's play in the season opener quickly reinforced GM Steve Keim's decision to trade for the veteran signal caller. With a QB rating of 96.6, Palmer found success throwing at every level while spreading the ball around, never locking in on just one read. Two perfectly placed touchdown throws to Larry Fitzgerald and a 44-yard jump-ball brought down with a spectacular one-handed catch from Michael Floyd were the highlights of the passing day, but Palmer was sharp throughout, consistently finding Andre Roberts and guiding the team to a 50% conversion rate on 3rd downs. Palmer's lone interception appeared either to be a mix-up with WR Larry Fitzgerald, or simply an under-thrown ball and despite seemingly constant-pressure off the left edge, Palmer often had a clean pocket to step into. Palmer was able to continually fit the ball into tight windows showing great accuracy, with his only bad miss apart from the interception coming on a wheel route to rookie RB Andre Ellington, throwing to Ellington's outside shoulder while the running back was looking for the ball on the inside.
2013 Week 2 vs DET (22 / 39 / 248 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Almost everything about the Cardinals week two victory over the Detroit Lions stood in contrast to their loss the week prior. The result represented the most important contrasting element, but that theme also manifested itself in nearly every single player on the field. While nearly perfect in his week one effort, Palmer struggled mightily on Sunday, with a performance even worse than his pedestrian stat-line indicated. In addition to throwing an inexcusable interception which was returned for a touchdown, Palmer missed on a few big plays including a potential touchdown early to Larry Fitzgerald down the sideline, while only converting on 1 of 11third down opportunities (a few others were "converted" due to penalty). Palmer was able to put together arguably his best drive with the game on the line late in the 4th quarter, and it should be noted Palmer was essentially without his best weapon. A hamstring injury severely limiting Larry Fitzgerald's effectiveness, even causing him to miss most of the 3rd and all of the 4th quarter. Fitzgerald's injury and its effect on the Cardinals' offense going forward is something worth monitoring for fantasy owners and fans alike.
2013 Week 3 vs NO (18 / 35 / 187 / 0 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
After a strong, methodical 80-yard march down the field to score on the game's opening drive, Carson Palmer was repeatedly let down by both his protection and play calling, resulting in his worst outing as Arizona Cardinal. Constant pressure off the edges and an all-too-often collapsed pocket clearly affected Palmer as the game went on, increasingly throwing off his back foot and causing many of his passes to sail high and wide. Adding insult to injury, and showing an unwillingness to adjust, Bruce Arians all but abandoned the run and repeatedly called for long-developing plays which never materialized due to the line's inability upfront. Palmer also appeared out of synch with recently returned TE Rob Housler, only connecting on one of his three targets and with another resulting in Palmer's first interception.
2013 Week 4 vs TB (21 / 38 / 248 / 1 / 2 pass, 4 / 6 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer, much like the Cardinals offense as a whole, sputtered again for the second straight week, failing to convert a 3rd down in the entire first half, and turning the ball over twice. The offensive woes of course extend beyond Palmer; play-calling was a major issue early, which Head Coach Bruce Arians' copped to in his post-game address to the media, and the running game featured more fumbles than runs eclipsing 10 yards. Both of Palmer's interceptions came on throws off his back foot, a troubling trend over the last few weeks, and likely a result of the offensive line's spotty protection. The game's opening play featured a busted blocking assignment which led to a Gerald McCoy sack, and while that turned out to be the only sack surrendered all game, it did appear to have an impact on Palmer's confidence. Palmer did play better as the game went on, saving many of his best passes for the most important moments, including a perfect 13 yard touchdown strike to Larry Fitzgerald to tie the game late.
2013 Week 5 vs CAR (19 / 28 / 175 / 1 / 3 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Continuing his trend of the last 2 games, Carson Palmer was downright terrible in Sunday's matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Palmer threw three interceptions on the day, with two directly costing the Cardinals points. His first, on the Cardinals opening drive of the game, was an underthrown ball to WR Michael Floyd on a flea-flicker when Floyd had beat his defender deep, while both of others came when trying to force the ball to a bracketed Larry Fitzgerald. Palmer did play better in the second half, no doubt aided by Bruce Arians' commitment to the run game for the first time in 5 weeks, but Palmer still appears unconfident in his offensive line and often unwilling to step into his throws. The line did look improved, with new addition Bradley Sowell having a solid first start at left tackle, but interior pressure was still an issue for the Cardinals. The Panthers possess one of the best defensive lines in all of the NFL, so credit must be given, but the interior line for the Cardinals must begin to block better and allow Palmer to step up into the pocket and deliver strikes. Palmer's late 7-yard TD pass to Jim Dray was nothing more than a confidence boosting effort as the Cardinals already had the game well in hand.
2013 Week 6 vs SF (25 / 41 / 298 / 2 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer continued his downward trend Sunday at San Francisco, starting the game with two first-quarter interceptions. The same mechanical issues that have plagued Palmer much of the year-staring down receivers and not stepping into throws, causing them to lack zip and sail high- once again proved to be the problem. Despite the early turnovers, an incredibly stout defense kept the Cardinals in the game and at times Palmer did shine. Both of Palmer's touchdowns- a quick slant and long run to Larry Fitzgerald as well as a ten yard corner route to the back of the end zone for Michael Floyd- required nice precision, and a 53 yard pass down the sideline to Britton Golden was caught perfectly in stride, and would have been a touchdown had the receiver been able to keep his feet. Palmer, for the first time in weeks, was able to work the deep ball, but time and time again intermediate passes sailed high and drives stalled as a result. The offense appears close to clicking, but until the careless turnovers end we will continue to lament their sunday performance.
2013 Week 7 vs SEA (30 / 45 / 258 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Palmer had several factors working against him in this game. Facing one of the leagues best defenses with a hobbled star-receiver, and a much maligned offensive line losing its best player, Daryn Colledge, mid-game would undoubtedly effect any quarterback. And once again Palmer proved unable to raise to the level of play of those around him, nor correct the same mistakes that have plagued him all season long. Palmer's first interception involved a little bit of bad luck and an excellent play from safety Earl Thomas, but was also under-thrown and poorly located. His second was simply an inexcusable decision after a protection breakdown. Palmer later missed an open Andre Ellington in the end zone and only found success after Seattle built up a large lead and began playing preventative coverage. Since starting strong week one, Palmer has been about as abysmal as every other Cardinals quarterback in the post-Kurt Warner era, and its fair to question if he gives this team the best chance to win each week. The Cardinals have ten days before their next game, and their bye-week after, making this an ideal window to consider a change.
2013 Week 8 vs ATL (13 / 18 / 172 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer played his best game since Week 1, throwing for more touchdowns than interceptions for the only the second time this season. Palmer's numbers Sunday were nothing spectacular, but with a run game producing more than 200 yards, and a defense which forced four turnovers, spectacular was not needed. Palmer was able to recover from his first quarter interception, climbing in the pocket nicely to deliver strikes on both touchdown throws, and finally connecting on one of Bruce Arians' lauded "chuck plays" hitting speedy newcomer Teddy Williams for a 51 yard reception that should have been another touchdown if Williams had better ball skills. Most impressive of Palmer's performance Sunday was the return of his accuracy on short and intermediate routes. For the first time in weeks Palmer was consistently stepping into his throws, hitting his receivers in the numbers, not throwing over their heads. Whether this continues or not when the Cardinals play teams with a more forceful pass-rush remains to be seen, but qualifies as a positive note to enter the bye week on.
2013 Week 10 vs HOU (20 / 32 / 241 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
If simply browsing the box score, Carson Palmer appeared to be nothing more than average again on Sunday. These numbers, however, lack context, and with that applied, Palmer had one of his better outings of the season. Despite an over-matched and often-porous offensive line, Palmer was only sacked once on the day. Yes, his interception was indicative of a season-long problem (once again under-throwing his receiver on a go-route) but Palmer remained resilient. Two long field-goal drives and a beautifully thrown touchdown to Andre Roberts (despite taking a huge hit on the play) proved enough for the Cardinals to win another one. Doing 'just enough' on offense appears to be the recipe for success for a team with a defense as dangerous as the Cardinals.
2013 Week 11 vs JAX (30 / 42 / 419 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer had his best game as the Cardinals quarterback, not turning the ball over for the first time this year, moving the chains without any run game support, and connecting on a few "chunk plays" Coach Bruce Arians so often talks about. It is no coincidence Palmer's best game also featured the team's best pass protection all year. Yes, Palmer was still sacked 3 times, but to a degree that is expected when dropping back to pass 42 times. What was different Sunday however was where the pressure came from. Both tackle spots have struggled mightily all year, and that didn't change Sunday, but the interior line protected beautifully, allowing Palmer to step up into a clean pocket, even with pressure coming from the edges. All too often pressure from the middle forced Palmer to throw off his back foot, resulting in many of the errant short-intermediate passes that have plagued this offense all season. On Sunday Palmer was able to consistently step into his throws and deliver accurate strikes. While it's tempting to buy into the hype coming from the team that the offense is now finally in sync, it must be noted that this effort came against one of the league's worst defenses. Whether this can continue when the team faces stiffer competition remains to be seen, but this has to be a major confidence boost for this offense as they fight for a wild card spot.
2013 Week 12 vs IND (26 / 37 / 314 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
For much of the Cardinals current win streak, any praise came with a side of skepticism. Nearly every compliment was followed by an offsetting clause about the quality of the opponent, or the inability to put together a complete game in all phases. While those weren't unwarranted statements, there is no offsetting statement for Sunday's dominant win against the Colts, led by an incredible Carson Palmer performance. Palmer once again was interception-free, arguably his most important statistic, but what will never show up in box scores was equally impressive. Palmer's pocket presence was exceptional Sunday, highlighted by his second touchdown of the day, read coverages in a way the Cardinals' haven't since Kurt Warner, and at every point of the game appeared in total control of the offense. No longer are the quarterback and his wide receivers struggling to get on the same page. This offense has developed the trust and timing sorely missing from the first half of the season and when the much maligned line keeps Palmer clean, he still delivers strikes as well as anyone. With regards to fantasy rosters, Palmer likely remains a high-end QB2, but one owners can confidently play in a pinch. For Cardinals' fans however, double-digit wins and a playoff birth are firmly in sight, something not many believed possible even just a month ago.
2013 Week 13 vs PHI (24 / 41 / 302 / 3 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer put together an impressive afternoon for fantasy owners, notching 3 scores along with over 300 yards passing, but came up short in an effort to get a crucial road win and keep the Cardinals' playoff hopes alive. Both of Palmer's interceptions came as a result of under-throwing deep balls, a reoccurring problem all season. To add insult to injury, both plays would have been easy touchdowns had Palmer put less air under the throw. Palmer was also stripped on the first series of the game, but blame for that lies with an offensive line that struggled to protect all day. The issues Sunday extended beyond the quarterback, the offensive line was abysmal and multiple receivers took turns dropping passes, but when two sure touchdowns end up in the other team's hands, it's hard to look elsewhere when assigning blame.
2013 Week 14 vs STL (27 / 32 / 269 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
In every conceivable way, Carson Palmer played a fantastic game Sunday against St. Louis. When it was revealed after the game by head coach Bruce Arians that Palmer had not thrown a single pass all week in practice due to an elbow injury suffered the previous week against the Eagles, it becomes more difficult to find an accurate superlative to describe his effort. Palmer's numbers in the end were not gaudy, but his efficiency was exceptional. Palmer guided an offense that converted over 50% of third down attempts, never once committed a turnover, and seemingly moved the ball at will. Credit of course must be given to those around him as well. Arians' play-calling was balanced and aggressive, and most importantly an often overmatched offensive line pass-blocked exceptionally well against one of the best pass rushing fronts in the NFL. Palmer had one bad pass on the day, under-throwing TE Rob Housler on a seam route that would have likely led to a touchdown had Palmer been able to properly lead his receiver. Its quite conceivable this was a result of Palmer's elbow injury, however this issue has plagued Palmer all season long, continually putting too much air under his deep throws. All in all though, it was an exceptional effort by Palmer and the Cardinals offense as a whole.
2013 Week 15 vs TEN (20 / 30 / 231 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer played another exceptional game, completing 66% of his throws, often into incredibly tight windows, and displaying a level of toughness rarely credited to the veteran signal-caller. Once again, Palmer was interception-free, the most telling stat of his games. When Palmer doesn't turn the ball over, he's as good of a pure passer as anyone, even in this late stage of his career. Palmer only attempted one deep pass, an incompletion thrown Andre Roberts' way, likely an indication of lingering issues with his elbow injury, as well as an excellent understanding from Coach Bruce Arians that the offensive line simply cannot hold up well when Palmer takes seven-step drops. What made Palmer's effort all the more admirable was he did it without one of his top targets in TE Rob Housler, and a noticeably gimpy Michael Floyd who made minimal impact on the game.
2013 Week 16 vs SEA (13 / 25 / 178 / 1 / 4 pass, 5 / -3 / 0 rush)
Its impossible to say Carson Palmer played anything but very poor in Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Errors were made around him, ones that the #1 defense in football was able to exploit, but none come close to exonerating Palmer for some very poor decision-making. 3 of Palmer's 4 interceptions featured crucial errors by other members of the Cardinals offense, and the 4th required an incredibly athletic play to tip the ball in the air for another Seahawks defender to haul it in, but even still, all could have been avoided had Palmer been smarter with the football. They often say however, "winning cures all," and that is certainly true for Palmer, especially when you're able to overcome such an abysmal game and throw a fantastic game-winning touchdown. Palmer's day ended on a high note, with a 31-yard touchdown pass capping off a fantastic drive by the veteran signal-caller, one that showed poise, resiliency, and a few phenomenal throws. The Cardinals' defense were the stars of Sunday's game, but Palmer overcame a lot to eventually lead his team to an incredible, improbable victory, and credit for that must be given.
2013 Week 17 vs SF (28 / 49 / 407 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Despite a last-second loss, and a playoff-less season, Carson Palmer ended his first season with the Cardinals on a high note. Throwing for over 400 yards on one of the leagues' best defenses, including four completions of 30 yards or more and two touchdowns was a necessary and impressive bounce back from his disastrous day in Seattle the week prior. Palmer's lone interception of the day, midway through the first quarter, was costly and easily avoidable, as the 49ers made no effort to disguise their zone coverage before the snap and yet Palmer still forced the ball into triple-coverage. Those throws will always occur with Palmer, at this later stage of his career he simply is who he is, but it's that same arm which threw a brilliant 34-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts late in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Palmer was also the victim of some costly early drops, including multiple from Michael Floyd in the first half, as well as an easy touchdown that went right through TE Rob Housler's hands. While Palmer is far from an elite Quarterback, his season marked a drastic improvement from the carousel of quarterbacks the Cardinals had featured in the post-Warner era, and with a full year of understanding Bruce Arians' complex offense, as well as the rhythms of the wide receivers, there is a lot of optimism heading into the off-season that Palmer should see a statistical improvement in the 2014 season.
2012 Week 1 vs SD (32 / 46 / 297 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer's numbers look efficient, but a lot of that was the result of an inordinate amount of short passes (15 of his 32 completions went to running backs). Early on, he had a lot of time to throw and the line was giving him good protection. Palmer was finding the soft spots in the zone and picking it apart. But still, he wasn't taking any shots down the field. A lot of that likely had to do with him being without two of his top wideouts in Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford. In their place were the likes of Rod Streater and Derek Hagan. Darrius Heyward-Bey did play, but he garnered a lot of the San Diego defensive attention and didn't put up big stats. Hagan was solid early on but kind of disappeared in the second half. Streater had an opportunity for a big game, but fumbled away one reception and couldn't hang onto a deep ball attempt that should have been a big gain. Due to the issues with the receivers, Palmer never looked very far down the field and opted for a lot of check downs (RB Darren McFadden had a whopping 13 receptions). Palmer and McFadden nearly hooked up on a touchdown late in the first half, but the San Diego defense stopped McFadden just short of the goal line as Oakland settled for a field goal. Palmer finally did get that touchdown with a minute left in the game when he hooked up with the aforementioned Streater for a quick slant in the end zone from two yards out (adding a two point conversion on the next play for good measure). But generally speaking, Palmer was under a lot more duress in the second half and was rarely given ample time to throw. He was fortunate to not turn the ball over, because the San Diego pass rush came hard and came often. Palmer was nearly picked off in the first half in the end zone, but the defender who got two hands on the ball was unable to corral the football.
2012 Week 2 vs MIA (24 / 48 / 373 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
Palmer's statline makes it seem as if he put on a passing clinic. After watching the game twice, I still can't figure out how he threw for 373 yards. It had to be one of the most unimpressive 350+ performances in NFL history. It wasn't really a garbage time display either, as he started pouring on the yards early on when he hit Mike Goodson on a dumpoff pass in the first quarter, and watched as Goodson streaked down the right sideline for a 64 yard TD. Palmer's real problem is an inability to handle pressure. On play-action, when Palmer would set and fire, his throws were usually dead-on and accurate. But anytime he started to make a few plays, the Dolphins would bring the heat, and Palmer would quickly get rid of the ball, throw off his back feet and stall drives. A drive in the second half started off great with a strike to the streaky Denarius Moore. But then Palmer threw three really poor throws to stall a drive. On another occasion, Palmer drove the Raiders to the five yard line. But then he seemed to hesitate on a throw to Mcfadden, which Mcfadden then dropped; he hesitated on a throw to Heyward-Bey, which ended up being overthrown, and the Raiders had to settle for a field goal. In fairness to Palmer, the Raiders had no running game, the pass rush was relentless, and the Dolphin CB's were ALL OVER the wr's, playing extremely physical. But regardless, when Palmer was rushed, he panicked. Palmer doesn't seem to go through progressions well when the blitz comes. While Peyton Manning or Brady can get the ball out and on time, the blitz seems to force Palmer into making quick throws to whomever he is looking at. Whether this is still a result of his knee injury or not, Palmer has to make better decisions, because his line is going to cause him to get pressured all year long.
2012 Week 3 vs PIT (24 / 34 / 209 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Palmer started out the game in a very unfortunate way. His receiver, Denarius Moore, fell down on the team's first play - resulting in an interception. The team's second drive saw a long touchdown run by Darren McFadden, further delaying Palmer's ability to get into a rhythm. After a Pittsburgh fumble in the second quarter, Palmer led a short drive that ended in a touchdown pass with great touch over a Pittsburgh defender. He later threw his second touchdown on a short play-action pass to tight end Richard Gordon. The most impactful play he made came in the fourth quarter as he stepped up in the pocket to avoid a rush and threw to his left to hit Moore for a touchdown to cut the lead to three. With Moore back in the fold and McFadden finally feeling more confident and running harder, the offense should be more successful. One situation to monitor, however, is that Darrius Heyward-Bey left the game with a concussion. This offense was at its best during the three quarters in which both starting receivers were healthy.
2012 Week 4 vs DEN (19 / 34 / 202 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
It was a tale of two halves for Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raider offense. Both scoring drives and 142 of Palmer's 202 passing yards came in the first half. Palmer's first pass was a beautifully designed screen to Marcel Reece, with Palmer faking the handoff to Darren McFadden, pumping the fake downfield before looking back to Reece in the flat. Palmer would again go to Reece on the next play, picking up four before attacking Tracy Porter and finding Derek Hagan for 11 yards. Ultimately, the drive stalled as Denver began to bring pressure (what became a major theme on Sunday), forcing a 38-yard FG from Sebastian Janikowski. Penalties killed the Raiders 2nd drive, namely a holding call that left Oakland in 3rd and 12. Denver again brought pressure, forcing Palmer to throw the deep post a little early to Denarius Moore. Moore was behind the coverage, but the ball was placed up the field instead of out in front of Moore (because of the pressure) and the pass fell incomplete. The Raiders' next scoring drive just before half saw Palmer's best throw downfield, a 37-yard pass to a streaking Moore. Again attacking Porter, Palmer threw the pass out in front of Moore, who was able to run by Porter and underneath the perfect touch pass, just barely missing getting into the end zone after safety Mike Adams clipped Moore's feet. Again the drive stalled, but it appeared Oakland would take some momentum into the 2nd half. However, looks can be quite deceiving. Oakland opened the 2nd half with the same screen pass to Reece that gained 31 yards on the opening drive, but Denver wasn't to be fooled again (Oakland would try again later in the game, with failed results). Champ Bailey broke the pass up. After a short run from McFadden, Palmer found Moore, but a bad spot (and even worse non-challenge from the Oakland coaching staff) forced the first of four three and outs for the Raider offense in the 2nd half. The offensive barrage from Denver in the 3rd quarter forced Oakland away from an already struggling running game and allowed the Broncos to blitz incessantly. Palmer really took a beating in the 2nd half, getting hit on nearly every play and was unable to pick up a first down until the 4th quarter when the game was well at hand. Palmer did not turn the ball over. However, Mike Adams should have had an INT as Palmer rolled to his right and threw slightly across his body to TE David Ausberry. Adams was reading Palmer's eyes the whole way and stepped in front of the pass, but it slipped right through his hands. Palmer also fumbled late in the game, but Oakland was able to recover. It is hard to believe this Oakland team was able to beat the Steelers only a week ago as their offense couldn't have looked worse on Sunday. Oakland had a total of eight (eight!!!) yards and zero first downs in the 3rd quarter while Manning accumulated 181 yards and three TDs. Unimaginative, short-handed and repetitive, Oakland's offense was abysmal in the 2nd half.
2012 Week 6 vs ATL (23 / 33 / 353 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer had a very nice day by his standards on both the eye test and numbers scale, going for 353 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. His offensive line was overmatched on several occasions, including a big game for John Abraham, who registered 5 tackles, 3 sacks and forced a fumble. Palmer did underthrow a couple easy passes, but he was on target for much of the day, throwing nice touch passes with regularity to his wide receivers and tight ends. Palmer was forced to move around with regularity, making nice throws on the run, off his back foot, etc. Palmer had a touchdown pass dropped by Brandon Myers, and the Raiders had to settle for a field goal on that possession. His lone touchdown pass was a very nice play by Denarius Moore, who ducked under a tackler and scooted into the endzone for a 25 yard play. Palmer's interception was simply a great play by the gambling cornerback who jumped a route and took it to the house for 79 yards. Palmer could have seen Samuel there, but more credit goes to Samuel than blame to Palmer. Palmer also had a much worse throw nearly picked off by Robert McClain who also jumped a route. All in all, given the offensive line issues and a couple drops here and there, a very solid day for Palmer.
2012 Week 7 vs JAX (26 / 46 / 298 / 1 / 1 pass, 6 / 14 / 1 rush)
Palmer struggled to get on track early, missing receivers and making poor decisions, but rallied the Raiders to a win, finishing 26 for 46 with 298 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also added a rushing score and lost a fumble. Not the best performance, as he missed Denarius Moore down the field a few times early and tried a Brett Favre flip, which ended in a Derek Cox interception. He eventually got on track though, aided by trusty tight ends Brandon Myers and Marcel Reece, as well as hitting on a few big plays to Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rod Streater. His touchdown came in the third quarter on a short crossing route to Denarius Moore, with Moore diving into the end zone. Palmer narrowly missed another throwing score, as his pass tipped off the hands of Rod Streater in the back of the end zone. He spread the ball around quite a bit, targeting five receivers 6 times or more. They were in comeback mode for virtually the entire game, in addition to Darren McFadden struggling to get anything going on the ground, so his attempts were inflated. Additionally, the Raiders consistently went into the hurry up offense in the fourth quarter, which resulted in rapid movement of the ball. His TD plunge into the end zone came from 1 yard out, right after McFadden failed to get in going against 12 men on defense for the Jags.
2012 Week 8 vs KC (14 / 28 / 209 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Leading a balanced Raiders attack on the road, Palmer completed fourteen of his twenty-eight pass attempts for two hundred and nine yards. The veteran signal-caller was not exactly dazzling, but he did not need to be against a Chiefs team that needed a Garmin to find the end zone and turned the ball over a laughable four times, frequently giving the Raiders desirable field position. In a game that remained close due to both offenses' inability to move the chains, Palmer steered the Raiders to a much-needed victory. The Raiders kept a clean pocket for Palmer all day - he was never flushed out, never took a sack, and never had to extend a play with his legs. Offensive Coordinator Gregg Knapp mixed up Palmer's pass attempts pretty well, with deep shots to Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore, as well as swing passes and checkdowns to Darren McFadden and Brandon Myers. Palmer did look to keep his throws shorter more often than not, but did take a gamble on during the game's first offensive play. Looking to put points up on the scoreboard early, Palmer heaved a deep ball down the left sideline in the direct of Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey broke off the route early, allowing Chiefs cornerback Stanford Routt to catch Palmer's pass. Other than that interception, a mistake for which Palmer can hardly be blamed, the veteran quarterback had a solid, if unspectacular day. A quarter of his passing yards came on a bubble screen to Denarius Moore that the speedy receiver took downfield for fifty-eight yards. Palmer also threw up an end zone pass to Denarius Moore in which the sophomore receiver out-muscled Kansas City coverage for a nine-yard Raiders touchdown. Later in the game, Moore let another end zone pass slip through his hands. Palmer also gave Darrius Heyward-Bey an opportunity for vindication. Throwing a perfect strike to Heyward-Bey on a pass on a comeback route, the Maryland alum took it the house to put the Raiders up by fourteen points. Overall, Palmer had a steady, if unremarkable day. The Raiders did not need him to be a world beater, and on a day in which it was imperative that feature back Darren McFadden get going in some manner, Palmer comfortably took a back seat, only starring in the game when necessary. It is likely that the Raiders defense will go back to its collapsible ways as the season wears on, and Palmer will open up the offense in comeback attempts for Oakland.
2012 Week 9 vs TB (39 / 61 / 414 / 4 / 3 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer's 400 yard day would never have come about if the Raiders hadn't completely abandoned the running game, but to wave off any praise because of that would be foolish. Palmer received little help from his teammates all day as he was constantly under pressure in the pocket, had no understanding with Denarius Moore and his tight ends repeatedly dropped catchable passes. Much of Palmer's yards came in check down plays to running backs and tight ends as they essentially replaced the running game with those types of offense. That said, Palmer made some excellent deep throws in the game also and would likely have had a big day either way as he appeared to be on point for most of the game. He threw three interceptions, but two of those came when the Raiders were desperately trying to get back into the game and the other was a miscommunication with Denarius Moore. Palmer is often the butt of many jokes, but his performance today was better than his statistics suggest, which is saying something because he did throw for four touchdowns and over 400 yards as well as those three turnovers.
2012 Week 10 vs BAL (29 / 45 / 368 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Despite the lopsided defeat to the Ravens, Palmer played quite well. The Oakland offensive line protected Palmer for a majority of the game and, with a few exceptions; Palmer delivered accurate passes to his receivers. Outside of the three sacks, Palmer operated from a clean pocket and was able to work through his progressions. Palmer led the offense to 200 total yards in the first half and his lone mistake was a tipped ball at the line-of-scrimmage that ended up as an interception. He made big throws throughout the game, like a perfect strike to David Ausberry against single coverage deep down the sideline to convert an early-game third-and-long situation. Palmer had a great fantasy day with over 350 yards through the air and two touchdowns, but the day could have been quite a bit better. A promising early drive was halted by Palmer getting his foot stepped on by an offensive lineman on fourth-and-short. That drive stalled in Baltimore territory on the edge of field goal range. Later in the first half, one of Palmer's rare misses came on third down in the red zone when he missed Brandon Myers wide open in the end zone. In the second half, on four separate occasions receivers misplayed well-thrown passes, two of which were on third down. Those plays alone cost Palmer and Raiders' offense 50 or more yards of offense and the potential for more touchdowns. The Raiders were down early and big this week, but Palmer played well without Darren McFadden in the lineup.
2012 Week 11 vs NO (22 / 40 / 312 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
What looked like a savory matchup for Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raider offense quickly went sour on Sunday. Palmer's first throw of the game to Derek Hagan down the sideline, despite Hagan getting behind the coverage, was underthrown and nearly picked off by CB Patrick Robinson. After a holding penalty put the Raiders in 3rd and long, pressure forced a quick dump off to Rod Streater for an insignificant six yards. The Raiders' 2nd drive was worse, as Palmer and the offense went three and out when pressure forced a severely underthrown ball to Denarius Moore over the middle. Palmer again found near trouble on the first play of the 3rd drive, as miscommunication between Palmer and intended receiver Moore had Palmer nearly throwing another INT. Moore ran a corner route and Palmer expected the WR to continue the route inside, skipping the pass just short of the collapsing safety. After two near INTs, Palmer finally connected with the Saints' Malcolm Jenkins, who beat intended receiver Brandon Myers to the ball and took the INT 55 yards the other way for a TD. Struggling early, Palmer looked uncomfortable in the pocket after the INT, missing Darius Heyward-Bey badly on deep throw off play action. Again facing pressure the next play, Palmer slipped outside the pocket and found his safety valve in Myers for nine yards the first down. Going right back the play fake, Palmer faked the toss to Marcel Reece on the following play and rolled right. Working outside on his route, Moore was plenty open on the play, but again Palmer's pass was wild as it sailed incomplete. Rookie WR Juron Criner made a nice catch on a pass that was behind him on 3rd down, saving the drive as again Palmer's pass was well off target. The catch seemed to settle Palmer, who used the play fake on the following play and hit Hagan for 17 yards on a hitch. Two plays later, Reece, working off the line of scrimmage easily created separation on the quick out and Palmer put the ball right on Reece for the 20 yard pick up. Feeling the pressure of the Saints offense and a mounting deficit, Palmer used the QB sneak on 4th down to pick up a new set of downs at the New Orleans one-yard line. An offensive pass interference call set the Raiders back, however, and the penalty would hurt. After a quick shot to Reece for four yards, Palmer went to Myers, delivering a strike to the TE, but the pass went right through Myers' hands and off his facemask straight into the air. Behind the play, Roman Harper easily caught the deflected pass for the INT. The drive took nearly nine minutes, but after attaining a first and goal at the one, the Raiders had nothing to show for it. The drive, however, clearly helped settle Palmer, who wasted little time marching back down the field on the following drive. Facing a 3rd and five, Palmer hit Reece on a quick out just beyond the sticks. Reece broke Harper's tackle and was able to pick up 56 yards (the Raiders' longest play of the day) before Jenkins finally pushed him out of bounds the Saint 20. Palmer again tried to connect with Moore on a fade, but Robinson snatched one of Moore's arms and ultimately picked up an interference penalty giving the Raiders the ball on the one-yard line again. This time Palmer and Myers would not be denied, however, as Palmer booted right and waited (and waited) for Myers to spring open just inside the end zone. Palmer connected, getting Oakland on the board with the one-yard TD pass. With the offense still feeling the good vibrations from the first half, Palmer lead the Raiders on another scoring drive on their first possession of the 2nd half. Working off play action (as they did, successfully, all day Sunday), Palmer connected with Heyward-Bey for the first time on a 13-yard comeback. Palmer went back to Myers the following play, picking up six yards on the screen to the TE. After a sack and a penalty put the offense in 2nd and long, Palmer hit RB Jeremy Stewart on a swing pass, who turned the short pass into a nice catch and run for 23 yards. Palmer misfired on his next three throws, however, (including a poor drop by Streater that nearly was a fumble) forcing the offense to settle for a FG. A lightning quick three and out, with Palmer unable to even attempt a pass really felt like the Raiders' last hoorah as the game was out of reach by the time the Raiders got the ball back. Much too little too late, Palmer made his first connection of the game with Moore the following drive. Moore ran a quick out and Palmer finally put the ball on the WR, picking up nine yards on the play. Moore was again open two plays later, but Palmer couldn't get enough on the toss, skipping the ball well before it got to Moore. Criner saved another poor pass from Palmer the following play as Palmer threw high and behind Criner, but he made a nice catch coming up just short of the marker. With the game at hand and the coverage sagging, Palmer connected with Heyward-Bey for 18 and Myers for seven to open the next drive, but followed with three consecutive incompletions. Having one of those days, Palmer again missed Moore on 4th down, barely overthrowing Moore who had beat the coverage just missing what surely would have been a 44-yard TD pass. Facing that same soft coverage, Palmer worked right back up the field in garbage time, hitting Heyward-Bey on back-to-back throws for 38 yards. Palmer and Myers connected again, this time for 27 as Myers made a great leaping grab over the middle. After a strike to Streater for 20 yards, Palmer went to the same fade play to Criner on consecutive throws (the same play that earned the offensive pass interference in the first half) finally connecting for a three-yard TD on the Raiders' final drive of the game. In the end, Palmer's numbers weren't bad statistically, but far from what the Raiders needed to pull off the upset. His early mistakes and lapse in confidence proved too much to overcome against a surging New Orleans team.
2012 Week 12 vs CIN (19 / 34 / 146 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Raiders offense, specifically the passing game, was slow to get started against Palmer's former team. A microcosm of the first half was the first three drives. After two sacks killed the first two drives, Denarius Moore dropped a well-thrown Palmer pass on the next third down. The Raiders' 18 total yards in the first quarter marked their fewest in nearly two years. The second quarter was hardly any better. Palmer was largely inaccurate outside of dump off passes and the Cincinnati defensive line applied ample pressure to nearly come away with more than the Bengals' one turnover. Oakland barely made it into Cincinnati territory in the first half, totaling just 83 total yards and four plays on the edge of field goal range. After falling behind by three scores, Palmer found slightly more success but it was limited to a few isolated plays. His highlight throw came on a rainbow throw that Denarius Moore ran under for a beautiful touchdown, pulling Oakland to just a 24-10 deficit in the second half. Seemingly every pass to a contested receiver ended up a near interception or misplayed by Palmer's target. The Oakland offensive line did little to help Palmer all day and his 34 attempts were his third lowest total of the season despite trailing almost from the opening kickoff. Palmer's 146 passing yards were by far his lowest of the season and he threw an interception for the seventh straight week. Palmer remains a matchup play for fantasy owners without an elite quarterback option down the stretch. The problem is that Oakland has one of the more difficult closing slates for quarterbacks with his best matchup coming against Denver in Week 14.
2012 Week 13 vs CLE (34 / 54 / 351 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Palmer has become the king of garbage time production and this week marked the seventh time in 12 games where he attempted 40+ passes. He struggled most of the game, but moved the length of the field, including a touchdown, when the Raiders trailed by 10 points with three minutes remaining. Early in the game, Palmer struggled with timing on throws to Denarius Moore, including two near interceptions. Two other deep targets to Moore were broken up by good defensive plays on the ball. The Raiders were lucky to be trailing only 10-3 at the half. Palmer used more no huddle in the third quarter, which gave the offense some much needed momentum to get back in the game. Palmer at one time in the third quarter completed 10 straight passes, but an ill-timed sack on third down killed a promising drive outside of field goal range. His rare highlight throw came late in the third quarter to Rod Streater down the seam. With tight coverage in tow, Palmer lofted the ball beautifully over the defensive back for the touchdown to close the gap to 13-10. The Browns controlled the clock in the fourth quarter leaving Palmer's remaining production for the garbage touchdown driving in the closing minutes. Palmer found Brandon Myers in the end zone with one second remaining to cap his third-best fantasy day this season.
2012 Week 14 vs DEN (19 / 30 / 273 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Following a perfect pass to Rod Streater over the safeties, Palmer underthrew a pass to Brandon Myers in the redzone. The ball went straight to Champ Bailey for the interception. Palmer was under no pressure and was trying to force the ball into a tight window. It was a poor decision, but an awful throw. Palmer's first touchdown pass wasn't a difficult one. In the redzone, Dennis Allen called a play like Greg Popovich would as he faked a screen to the right before running a second screen to the left for Darren McFadden to walk into the endzone. Palmer had made plenty of good plays, but turnovers continued to kill him. At his own goalline, Von Miller got to Palmer and bumped him rather than tackled him which caused Palmer to lose the football. Palmer appeared to lose it as he tried to bring it back from an attempted pass. To be fair to Palmer, whenever he was getting in a good rhythm and moving the Raiders down the field, Von Miller would just push Khalif Barnes out of his way and disrupt play after play.
2012 Week 15 vs KC (18 / 29 / 182 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer acted as more of a game manager against the Chiefs as the Raiders' ground game took the pressure off him, asking him to make only simple reads and not turn the football over. He accomplished both goals, completing passes in rhythm to his receivers, notably Rod Streater. Palmer was inaccurate on some passes and admittedly, his receivers could have had more separation on such passes, but the Chiefs' defense did an excellent job overall. Palmer gave his receivers chances to make plays downfield, especially a Denarius Moore post route, but that pass was broken up, along with many other downfield attempts. It is noteworthy that Terrelle Pryor stepped in for a three-play series in the first half.
2012 Week 16 vs CAR (3 / 3 / 31 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer did not last long, as a devastating hit by DE Greg Hardy forced him out of the game with a rib injury.
2011 Week 7 vs KC (8 / 21 / 116 / 0 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
With 10:25 left in the third quarter Carson Palmer entered to the loudest cheers he'd hear all day. It would be easy to look at his 3 interceptions compared to Boller's and think that Palmer was equally ineffective, but that would be completely false. First, for those three interceptions. His first was a hitch route to DeNarius Moore. Brandon Flowers baited Palmer into the throw and the DeNarius Moore fell down as Flowers took it to the house. The second pick was also to Moore, this time just a little behind him. Moore deflected the ball into the arms of a Chiefs defender. The third pick was just atrocious; Palmer was being pressured and looked like a rookie throwing the ball up in the middle of the field. Still, as bad as all that sounds, there were some bright moments. Palmer was fearless from the start, several times finding Darrius Heyward-Bey (clearly his favorite target) in tight spots. Palmer also made use of the tight ends and seemed to be doing a good job of going through all of his progressions. He was not helped out by his receivers (other than DHB) who spent more time falling down and dropping passes than they did helping him. Palmer made some impressive throws amidst the rust.
2011 Week 9 vs DEN (19 / 35 / 332 / 3 / 3 pass, 5 / 3 / 0 rush)
This was Palmer's first start since he was traded a couple of weeks ago. He had a few mistakes but for the most part he looked pretty good for a guy that was on the couch two weeks ago. Palmer seemed to build a rapport with WR Denarius Moore, who got most of Palmer's looks as he got a team-leading 12 targets. Palmer best pass of the day came on his second touchdown pass of the game. He found FB Marcel Reese running down the seam; Palmer rifled a ball in a tight window, and Reece came up with it for the score. Palmer had another great TD pass to Jacoby Ford. Palmer dropped the pass over a defender in the corner of the end zone, and Ford made a great leaping grab. Palmer looked comfortable with the offense and should do some great things with these talented receivers. Also, the arm strength was there and Carson looked closer to pre-elbow injury Carson Palmer.
2011 Week 10 vs SD (14 / 20 / 299 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / -8 / 0 rush)
Not that there are a lot of games to compare it to, but this was by far Palmer's best game as a Raider. For most of the evening, Carson Palmer played at or near a perfect passer rating. He was given ample time by his offensive line, he performed well despite losing top target Jacoby Ford early on, and stopped a losing streak as he led the Raiders into first place in the division. Palmer's favorite target in the game was clearly rookie WR Denarius Moore, who he connected with five times for 123 yards and both of his touchdown passes. The first touchdown was a great route run by Moore and Palmer found him streaking across the front of the goal line for a 33-yard score. Later, Palmer floated a perfect pass down the sideline to Moore in the corner of the end zone from 26 yards out. They had earlier connected on a long 46-yard pass play that could have gone for a score, but the ball was thrown just a bit out in front of Moore, causing him to stumble a bit as he lunged for the pass. Palmer did turn the ball over twice, once on a fumble when he was chased from behind and didn't see the tackler coming. The second was a pass down to the goal line where he was hit as he threw. The collision caused the ball to pop up in the air, and the San Diego defender easily came down with the ball for the interception. But Palmer regrouped and saved perhaps his best pass for last. With Oakland controlling the ball and looking to run the clock down, they faced a third down and long. Palmer stepped up in the pocket and fired an off-balance pass over the middle to TE Kevin Boss. It was a nice catch, but the ball beat the defender by mere inches. While it didn't officially clinch the game, it did force the Chargers to burn their timeouts so by the time they got the ball back, there was almost no chance of them getting into scoring range.
2011 Week 11 vs MIN (17 / 23 / 164 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 5 / 1 rush)
After throwing for more than 600 yards in the previous two games, Palmer performed more of a 'game manager' role for the Raiders in this contest. Despite 17 completions, he had just 164 yards passing, and just six of his completions went to wide receivers. Palmer started the game with short check down passes to Kevin Boss and Michael Bush, trying to keep the chains moving and feel out the defense. At halftime he already had 104 yards passing, including the 11 yard TD strike to Chaz Schilens. In the second half, Palmer looked like he might open the offense up a bit, but when DHB went down and was carted off the field, Palmer resorted to just handing the ball off and grinding the clock. He had just one short check-down pass to Marcel Reece in the final 12 minutes of the game. Palmer's TD run was nothing special - after an 11 yard pass to Kevin Boss brought the Raiders down to the 1, Palmer ran two consecutive QB sneaks to get into the end zone. He kept the game under control from an NFL prospective, and did what was needed to give his team the win. From a fantasy prospective though, he was a disappointment after two big weeks of throwing the ball.
2011 Week 12 vs CHI (21 / 37 / 301 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer didn't have his best game on Sunday but was able lead his team to an important win. The Bears defense played well, and Palmer would have had a couple more interceptions if the Bears defenders had better hands. Palmer was missing his two best WR's in Jacoby Ford & Denarius Moore. This hampered the downfield attack but Palmer was able to use FB Marcel Reece for some long gains. Most of the passes to Reece were short passes that he turned into long gains. Palmer's timing with his WR's seemed to be off, and he is still trying to gain rapport with them. But the biggest reason for all 6 of the Raider FGs was that the Bears defense would get a timely sack that would force the Raiders into a 3rd & long situation. On top of that Palmer had a TD catch dropped by the usually sure handed FB Marcel Reece. Palmer also had a TD pass called back due to a holding call. So this could have been a little bit better game for Palmer. But this was not a terrible game considering Palmer was up against a ferocious defense and without his top two targets.
2011 Week 13 vs MIA (20 / 41 / 273 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Bad day for Palmer. He was called for an intentional grounding call early on but beyond that he almost threw an interception to Randy Starks, also had an interception by Karlos Dansby called back due to a Miami penalty. In his defense though he has his 2 of his top3 WRs out and his RB1 in Darren McFadden is also out so there isn't as much speed for a team like Miami to actually cover. He was off target and then a pass tipped off the hands of Louis Murphy and Kevin Boss ended up in Kevin Burnett's hands as he ran it back about 30 yards for a touchdown and put Miami ahead 34-0 at that point of the football game. Palmer managed a little window dressing with a couple late touchdowns and that probably saved the day from being a complete disaster for most owners but you need to know that Palmer was not good in terms of NFL standards despite some garbage points for fantasy owners. He was off target a lot but suffered from both dropped passes and penalties which nullified plays.
2011 Week 14 vs GB (24 / 42 / 245 / 1 / 4 pass, 2 / 12 / 0 rush)
Palmer was flat out terrible for much of this game and didn't get much help from his receivers when he wasn't. His first pick went directly into the arms of a Packers' defender as he clearly didn't look comfortable throwing on the move. Palmer did have good timing with Chaz Schilens on an out route and found Louis Murphy wide open over the middle, but most of his passes were dropped in the first quarter, including his best throw of the quarter on a deep out to TJ Houshmanzadeh. Palmer's first throw of the second quarter was also dropped, but this time by a Packer. Palmer started to lead a little drive before the half, but when he finally went deep he underthrew Kevin Boss in triple coverage for his 3rd pick of the day. Palmer looked short a lot more in the third quarter and made a nice throw in tight coverage to Heyward Bey for 34 yards to put the Raiders in position for their first TD. Still, the damage had been done and Palmer spent most of the rest of the day playing against the Packers backups. He did lead another TD drive long after the game had been decided, throwing a short TD pass to Boss who caught the ball short of the goal line and fell into the end zone. For good measure, Palmer threw one more pick at the end of the game, a woefully underthrown pass. Palmer clearly suffered from a lack of healthy receivers, but nonetheless had a dreadful afternoon.
2011 Week 15 vs DET (32 / 40 / 367 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
He was pretty accurate for most of the game. The Raiders did not lose the football game because of Carson Palmer. He was 3/3 or 91 yds and a TD on the 1st drive of the 2nd quarter for the Raiders which helped them get out to a 14-7 lead. Palmer is best when he can work the short game and then allow his receivers to make big plays after they catch the football. He missed a wide open Denarius Moore in the 1st quarter as the DB covering him fell down on the play. Palmer had the Raiders up 20-14 when the defense extended the lead to 27-14 with about 8 minutes to go, everything looked good. The one criticism would be his lack of attempts down the field to stretch the defense even more. Outside of that it was largely the Oakland pass defense down the stretch that let the team down.
2011 Week 16 vs KC (16 / 26 / 237 / 1 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Two good throws carried the day for Palmer who struggled throughout and does not seem to be making much progress in developing a rapport with his receivers. The pass rush really bothered Palmer early on as he was panicking before the rush even got there and definitely had his eyes on this pass rush and not downfield from time to time. He threw two picks in the first quarter, but one was called back because of a penalty. The pick that counted was again a result of the pass rush. Palmer was leveled as he targeted Kevin Boss and the ball fluttered over the tight ends head and into the waiting arms of a Chiefs' defender. He seemed to get into a bit of a rhythm early in the second quarter, completing 5 straight passes to 4 different receivers. He hit longtime target TJ Houshmanzadeh on an 11 yard out, fit a 20 yard strike through a pinhole to Denarius Moore and hit on a couple of dump offs as well. Palmer was fortunate to avoid an INT when he went deep to Moore later in the quarter considering there were three Chiefs in the area and two of them got a hand on the ball. He wasn't as fortunate two plays later when he was duped by safety Javier Arena and threw a short pass directly to the second year player. After starting the second half with a couple of dinks and dunks, Palmer connected with Moore on a 61 yard bomb for the Raiders only TD of the day. Moore had 3-4 steps on the safety, so the fact that he had to slow for the ball didn't matter as he easily scored the TD. He only threw 6 more passes the rest of regulation as the Raiders were trying (to no avail) to run the clock out with the lead. However, Palmer started OT with another bomb and this one put the Raiders in position for the game winning FG. The 53 yard pass was thrown to the outside, where only his receiver could catch it and was a fitting way to end the day for Palmer. Without the two bombs he connected on he was just 14/24 for 133 yards and 2 picks. But with those two bombs he was a winner, and the Raiders were still alive in the playoff race.
2011 Week 17 vs SD (28 / 43 / 417 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
Palmer put up big numbers in this game, but had a tough time sealing the deal in getting Oakland enough points to hang with the Chargers. He did throw two scores, but Oakland had to settle for four field goals, showing their inefficiency in getting it across the goal line. What's more, Palmer was part of a boneheaded play late in the first half that directly cost his team points. With Oakland already in field goal range but with no timeouts remaining, he completed a pass over the middle that ran out the clock. He also threw one interception that wasn't really his fault, and should have thrown another two that were outright dropped by the defenders. It wasn't all bad, however, as Palmer's two touchdown passes were both perfectly thrown balls. The first was a fade over the head of WR Darrius Heyward-Bey in the corner of the end zone. The receiver actually juggled the ball a bit and appeared to be out of bounds, but replay did not overturn the call. Palmer's other score was a bullet over the middle to TE Kevin Boss, a perfectly thrown ball that was thrown right where it had to be. The Raider passing game at one point was firing on all cylinders, as Palmer was finding everyone and converting third downs with confident passes. There was no pressure on him, and it showed. He completed a 78-yard bomb down the sideline to WR Denarius Moore for a huge gain to the San Diego 11-yard line, though the Raiders couldn't convert the score. Unfortunately for Palmer, his afternoon ended with the aforementioned interception that wasn't his fault. WR Jacoby Ford slipped during his route, and the defender sat there waiting for the easy interception to all but end the game.
2010 Week 1 vs NE (34 / 50 / 345 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 9 / 0 rush)
Fantasy owners of Carson Palmer were thrilled with his 345 yards and 2 touchdowns. The additions of Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham paid off handsomely, as Palmer spread the ball around and put up bigtime passing numbers in week 1. The problem though, is in the mistakes. On the 2nd drive, Palmer overthrew Coats on 3rd down to end a drive. In the 2nd quarter, Palmer and Gresham weren't on the same page, and Palmer threw a Pick 6 right to Gary Guyton. Combine these two errors with a Cedric Benson fumble, and you have 3 mistakes that directly led to a 31-3 deficit when Palmer took the field in the 3rd quarter. In a showdown against Tom Brady you just can't make those mistakes. But Palmer owners still have a lot to look forward to in 2010. Instead of crumbling, the Bengals fought hard in the 2nd half, and while Palmer made good use of his new weapons, he didn't forget about Ocho Cinco, throwing him 12 passes for 159 yards. The one worry I have is that in the first half, when it was still a game, the offense still seemed very conservative. In the opening drives, they relied heavily on Cedric Benson and other than one lob to Owens, the passes were all very short. This type of offense scares no one. When forced to open it up due to the score, Palmer was able to spread the ball around and make things happen. Whether the offensive coordinator, Bob Bratkowski, will allow for this type of passing when the games are close, is the question fantasy owners will have to pay close attention to in the upcoming weeks.
2010 Week 2 vs BAL (16 / 35 / 167 / 0 / 0 pass, 3 / -1 / 0 rush)
As bad as Flacco was he was almost beaten for worst QB of the day by Carson Palmer. Flacco is still young and learning in the NFL but there is no excuse for Palmer. I wanted to see him in action and see if that arm had gotten any better. It hasn't. On the 1s drive of the game he looked indecisive and almost threw an interception. He seemed content not to challenge the secondary deep and that was supposed to be the soft part of this defense. It's amazing Cincinnati won this football game when you see how they didn't hardly try to throw the ball downfield. On the 3rd drive of the game Palmer found a rhythm on the short passing routes, also a lot of check downs. On the same DRIVE HE THREW A BALL TO Terrell Owens that should have been 6 points but instead he overthrew it by a lot out of the back of the end zone. He almost threw an interception again throwing the ball into triple coverage on 3rd and 10 inside the Baltimore 25 yard line; how smart is that? On the next drive he missed a wide open Ocho Cinco in the back of the end zone. And then almost threw another interception before the 1st half expired. Palmer was really marginally better and in some instances even worse than Flacco. The difference is his passes were not turnovers but it could have gone the other way and he still looks tentative to throw the ball downfield. Owners BEWARE!!!
2010 Week 3 vs CAR (19 / 37 / 195 / 1 / 2 pass, 5 / 8 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer had what can only be described as a very up and down day on Sunday. Palmer threw two interceptions on passes that he should never have thrown. On the second, Palmer was being compacted by pressure in the pocket and wrongly decided to throw the ball down the middle late to Terrell Owens, who wasn't even looking for the ball. Palmer's decision making was spotty at best throughout the contest. On a pass into the left flat intended for Chad Ochocinco, Palmer threw the pass away from the receiver and the pass would have been taken back for a touchdown had Chris Gamble been able to hang onto it. Palmer was content to play the role of game manager this week, often changing the play at the line of scrimmage to a run based on the position of the Carolina safeties, which were usually in two deep coverage. He made plays when he had to, often relying on check downs to Shipley and Gresham, but overall this was a rather poor performance from Carson Palmer and one that could have had a very different outcome had one or two of the Panthers defenders managed to intercept any more of Palmer's many errant passes.
2010 Week 4 vs CLE (25 / 36 / 371 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
We all knew Palmer had it in him and he finally showed us on Sunday with near-as-perfect a game as a quarterback could have. Palmer looked in the zone and on point the entire day, dropping back and getting the ball out quickly throughout. He spread the ball around fairly well although Terrell Owens was obviously the favored target on the day - mainly because the Cleveland Browns secondary seemingly couldn't cover anything all day. It seemed there was a receiver wide open every play and Palmer took advantage of this en route to a mistake-free day.
2010 Week 5 vs TB (21 / 36 / 209 / 2 / 3 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Palmer started off pretty well. He kept hitting short passes. In fact it was short, short, short, then suddenly went up top to Terrell Owens and opened the game up 7-0 at that point. But then he gave the game away. It started in the 1st half as the Bucs were struggling to find themselves and Palmer form his own end zone looks TO down to his left and throws a lollipop out in the flat that the Bucs were able to pick off easily and run back for a TD. That play really changed things around and even though Palmer was able to keep them in the game and even helped them get the lead 21-14 in the 3rd quarter, his interceptions were drive killers and he seems to still not want to dial up long passes with what appears to be great speed on the outside with TO and Ocho. He missed Andre Caldwell badly on a key 3rd down. And he threw a big interception in the 4th quarter to help the Bucs win the game. Not a good day for Palmer although in leagues that don't penalize for picks, he probably posted decent stats.
2010 Week 7 vs ATL (36 / 50 / 412 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Compared to what we have seen in recent games, Carson Palmer showed massive improvement. He showed good command in the huddle, excellent timing on the majority of his passes and good leadership and poise. Palmer and the Bengals trailed for most of the game and ran a no-huddle offense for the most part. Palmer led his receivers perfectly with his passes, spraying the ball around the field effortlessly. Many of his completions were hitches and out routes as Atlanta played two deep zone to take away the big play. When Palmer had an opportunity against man coverage and an Atlanta blitz, he hit rookie sensation Jordan Shipley for a 64 yard touchdown pass down the middle. Palmer's performance cannot be faulted in this game.
2010 Week 8 vs MIA (17 / 38 / 156 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 13 / 0 rush)
Cinci started off the game on fire and Palmer was connecting with everyone. You have to give the Miami coaching staff credit for pulling Jason Allen after the 1st series where Cinci scored and then going with Sean Smith the rest of the way. In fact Smith ended the day for Cinci with an interception late in the game, his 1st in the NFL. Carson came out though and took the Bengals down field quickly. He was getting everyone involved hitting OchoCinco and TO along the way. He capped it with a nice throw across the middle into the back of the end zone where TO had beaten Allen for the score. The rest of the game outside of a fluke touchdown catch was largely uneventful for Palmer and the Cnci fans. Palmer didn't lose the game but he was erratic. I counted at least 4 other balls by Miami that they could have picked off and when you add that to the performance he had against Tampa Bay at home 2-3 weeks ago, something is not right with Palmer. He has great weapons to throw to but sometimes they don't do everything they can to make a play on the ball.
2010 Week 9 vs PIT (22 / 36 / 248 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The joke in many circles, blogs, articles, etc. is that Palmer leads the league in dropped interceptions by double over the second-place QB. Despite one more by William Gay (and a real pick by Lawrence Timmons), he was actually quite serviceable in this game. Palmer's ability to keep the ball high and find spaces in the zone where Terrell Owens was running is what kept the Bengals in the game (that and three straight 15+ yard penalties - the latter two of which were miserable calls - on the Steelers that resulted in a one-yard-of-offense 50-yard TD drive for Cincy). While this game was never a true blowout, the common thread behind Palmer's stat-heavy games continued here. He puts them up when his team is down. If the Bengals had a viable alternative (Carson's brother Jordan has no real-game experience and wasn't even incredibly good at UTEP), he could set a record for having the most passing yards of any QB to be benched. He's just not his former-Heisman self, and a return to that after this long seems more and more improbable each game.
2010 Week 10 vs IND (31 / 42 / 292 / 2 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Despite not having a very good game by actual NFL quarterback standards, Palmer did manage to have a decent fantasy day due in large part to the fact that the offense needed to play from behind early. It was actually partially Palmer's fault that they needed to do so thanks to a pick-six on the second offensive drive of the game. To be fair, though, Cedric Benson fumbled and gave the ball to the Colts on their own 25-yard line on the very next play after the kickoff as well. Palmer had two other interceptions in the game, with the second resulting in another pick-six that was (fortunately for them) overruled as the player (linebacker Tyjuan Hagler) was ruled down by contact. Palmer did manage to throw two touchdowns to help offset these three interceptions somewhat, although he came just seven yards shy of the 300-yard bonus. The Colts did a decent job pressuring Palmer throughout the day but for most of the day he was given ample time to throw. Most of Palmer's interceptions come from the confidence in his ability to thread balls through tight holes to his receivers, and Sunday's game against the Colts was no different (although his one pick-six INT came on an overthrown short out-pass to Terrell Owens).
2010 Week 11 vs BUF (19 / 34 / 230 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 12 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a very good game going, and yet again his team falls apart around him. Also, like usual, Palmer made 1 or 2 mistakes that ended up costing his team dearly. He was on-the-money in the first half, hitting his receivers in stride, leading the team down the field with precision, and throwing for TD's. In the 2nd half, he had a fumble lost by his RB, he threw a TD to Terrell Owens that was called back due to a holding penalty, and he also had a couple big drops by Terrell Owens that cost his team. But Palmer also made a costly mistake, throwing an INT into the arms of George Wilson right in the back of the endzone. Palmer never saw Wilson, and that TD proved to be the turning point in the game. It also seems strange that Palmer isn't looking towards Chad Ocho Cinco, but he definitely seems to focus his attention on Terrell Owens in the passing game. Palmer has a ton of weapons around him, and this team should be better than their record, but things seem to keep falling apart at the worst possible time for Cincy, and though Palmer rarely makes many mistakes, the ones he does make are usually very costly.
2010 Week 12 vs NYJ (17 / 38 / 135 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
It's hard to expect much out of a QB that plays the Jets, as they have a terrific pass defense. But Palmer was dreadful today. In recent weeks, it's been the big mistakes that haunted Palmer. Against the Jets, he was unable to do anything. In fairness the Jets harassed him all game long, sacking him 3 times including a safety. His two interceptions were horribly thrown floaters that were nowhere near his offensive receivers. Nothing downfield had any success for Palmer. All his completion were short passes, and in the few drives that the Bengals did sustain, penalties by the Jets were big reasons for the drives continuing. Palmer's arm seemed to die at the end of 2009. If this game is any indication, his arm is falling apart here in 2010 as well.
2010 Week 13 vs NO (23 / 33 / 249 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer had another performance that showed more about what has been lost from his game than what he still has going for him. He did lead some good drives in the comeback attempt and did not throw a pick for only the fourth time this season. Palmer still missed badly on a few throws and was bailed out by Chad Ochocinco on some others. He underthrew Terrell Owens when he was open deep, but TO was still able to draw a pass interference penalty. Palmer was victimized by some early drops and maintained his poise in the pocket all game, but he showed zero ability to zing the ball into small windows or set up his receivers with good run after catch opportunity. He is still a QBBC play because of team's propensity to fall into big holes and be forced to open up the offense, but Palmer is clearly on the decline.
2010 Week 14 vs PIT (20 / 32 / 178 / 1 / 3 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
Outside of last season's win - in which his play was actually only "OK" at best - Heinz Field has become a House of Horrors for Palmer. In Sunday's game, Palmer began with a solid drive on which he was 5-5 for 43 yards and a touchdown, and it looked like the Bengals were going to be one of the first ever teams that had lost nine straight games to exert a respectable effort in a game. It was all downhill from there though for the entire offense. When the Bengals were playing well, the Steelers offense wasn't, but the game changed on Palmer's first big mistake. On a route intended for Terrell Owens, Troy Polamalu undercut the pass and returned it for a touchdown. In the second half, Palmer couldn't make any plays that would allow the Bengals to sustain a drive. The Steelers had a drive that appeared as if they'd end up with points, but the Bengals had back-to-back sacks to force a Steelers punt. Upon getting the ball back, it took all of one play for Palmer to throw a pass in the flat intended for Chad Ochocinco, which was intercepted by a fast-dropping Lamar Woodley and returned 14 yards for another Steelers' touchdown. Palmer's performance after his good first drive looked like one of a player that didn't want to be playing - a common theme among most of the Bengals in this game.
2010 Week 15 vs CLE (14 / 23 / 209 / 0 / 0 pass, 5 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a functional day, a harbinger of things to come as the Bengals look to focus on their younger receivers for the rest of the season. With Terrell Owens out with an injury, and Chad Ochocinco limited in his playing time by the coaching staff, Palmer made due with his second string guys like Andre Caldwell, Jordan Shipley and Jerome Simpson. He missed Shipley on several key drives, where Palmer was more focused on OchoCinco or Caldwell and didn't see Shipley open underneath. Even more frustrating for Palmer owners was the fact that despite just a six point lead, the Bengals turned the ball over to Cedric Benson and focused on running the ball and grinding the clock rather than let Palmer air it out to build the lead. Content to control the clock, add field goals here and there and keep the Browns on the sideline, Palmer turned into a game manager, rather than the gunslinger that we had hoped he would be. There were several key situations where he was clearly not on the same page as his younger receivers and as the Bengals begin to focus on next season, you can expect that Palmer will have similar performances the rest of the season.
2010 Week 16 vs SD (16 / 21 / 269 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Without Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco, Palmer had his best game of the year. He found Jerome Simpson for TDs twice, once on busted coverage and once at the edge of the end zone. He also zinged a short TD to Jordan Shipley and put one right over Paul Oliver's helmet for a TD to Jermaine Gersham. Palmer stretched the field with a deep throw to Andre Caldwell (and just missed too long on another one that could have been a long TD). Palmer didn't throw that often, but he was so efficient with the young wideouts that the team may consider bringing him back with that 11.5 million price tag after all.
2010 Week 17 vs BAL (32 / 45 / 305 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Palmer's whole game and season can be summed up in the last five minutes of the game. First with about 5 minutes to go, he fumbles the ball as the Bengals are driving to take the lead. Then when the Bengals get the ball back with just over a minute to go, he threw two beautiful spirals for long gains to get the Bengals down inside the ten yard line. But then on 4th down he for some reason threw the ball out of bounds instead of at least giving one of his receivers a chance for the win. Palmer had two ugly int's and the aforementioned fumble, and in a close game like this, those turnovers will kill you, and completely made irrelevant the 300 yard passing game that Palmer had.
2009 Week 1 vs DEN (21 / 33 / 247 / 0 / 2 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer looked rusty after missing most of the preseason due to an ankle injury. He started the game well and was effectively using big play weapons like Chad Ochocinco and Chris Henry in the first half. Palmer was aided by Cedric Benson and the ground game which helped keep the Broncos defense true, but too often their drives were de-railed by dropped passes, mainly from Laveranues Coles. The second half opened up with Palmer working out of the shotgun, but again the first drive stalled when Coles dropped another pass on 3rd and 7. The next drive the Broncos defense really turned up the heat, and sacked Palmer two times in a row. This seemed to get to Palmer, and he started throwing awkwardly and even moved his base foot as he threw one time, which led to a sailing (and incomplete) pass. In the fourth-quarter things started to get back on track for Palmer. He was again working out of the shotgun, and using Ochocinco and Andre Caldwell on short passes where they could use their run after the catch ability. Cedric Benson scored a touchdown with less than one minute to go, and the game seemed to be at hand. Then Brandon Stokley caught the "Immaculate Deflection" and the Bengals looked like the Bungles once again.
2009 Week 2 vs GB (15 / 23 / 185 / 3 / 2 pass, 2 / 1 / 1 rush)
Palmer looked more comfortable in the pocket this week and again showed that arm strength isn't an issue. All three of his touchdown passes were well designed plays that Palmer executed perfectly. He hit Laverneaus Coles on a great play action fake, connected with Chris Henry in the back of the end zone after an audible to reset his pass protection and hit Chad Ochocinco in stride on a slant. However, Palmer was more inconsistent than his numbers against the Packers would suggest. His accuracy was off at times and a terrible decision on a second and long throw was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. As he did last week against Denver, Palmer improved as the game progressed.
2009 Week 3 vs PIT (20 / 37 / 183 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Palmer was better than his numbers suggest. He chose to throw the ball away early rather than force passes into coverage and the Steeler defense also knocked down eight passes. Both factored heavily into his relatively unimpressive completion percentage and yardage totals. Although the offense sputtered early, Palmer was on target throughout the second half and led the Bengals on two fourth quarter touchdown drives. Palmer's ability to avoid sacks and crippling interceptions, two issues that have hurt the offense during the first two weeks, is further evidence of his growing comfort in the pocket.
2009 Week 4 vs CLE (23 / 44 / 230 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 20 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a solid statistical effort in Cleveland and spread the ball around to eight different receivers. He was inconsistent, however, missing on timing routes and having his receivers make a different read on the defensive back than he did at times, leading to a just over 50% completion rate. The Browns held the downfield passing game in check by using lots of Cover-2, and Palmer mostly checked down to underneath routes, making only one poor decision on a deep sideline route that was easily intercepted. Palmer did look more mobile than he has in recent seasons, rolling out to avoid the pass rush and showing some acceleration on a fifteen yard scramble on a fourth down play in overtime.
2009 Week 5 vs BAL (18 / 31 / 271 / 1 / 1 pass, 5 / 18 / 0 rush)
Palmer led his team to another strong comeback win, this time on the road against a stout Baltimore defense. Palmer moved well in the pocket and helped his offensive line keep the Raven pressure from shutting down the passing game. Aside from a couple of dropped balls and passes he intentionally threw away, Palmer was very accurate, even when challenging the Raven defense downfield. Palmer did make one big mistake when he failed to locate Ed Reed jumping a hook route, resulting in an interception Reed returned for a touchdown.
2009 Week 6 vs HOU (23 / 35 / 259 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a tremendous first half, showing a strong arm and pinpoint accuracy on 13 of 19 passing for 182 yards and a touchdown. He was again fluid in avoiding the pass rush. The second half was a different story. Dropped passes, near-misses and three-and-out drives kept the Bengals from extending drives and making big plays. Palmer's lone interception came on a forced throw into zone coverage late in the fourth quarter.
2009 Week 7 vs CHI (20 / 24 / 233 / 5 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer put on a show in the red zone in the first half. His first four touchdown passes were to four different receivers. He came out firing on the first drive, hitting downfield passes to Chad Ochocinco and Chris Henry, and finishing the drive with a touchdown pass to Henry while rolling out. Palmer drove the Bengals down the field and notched his fifth touchdown pass for good measure in the second half.
2009 Week 9 vs BAL (20 / 33 / 224 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
Palmer led his team to scores on their first three drives, continuing an amazingly high percentage of successful scoring drives from within the red zone. Palmer extended multiple plays by moving well inside and outside the pocket and again spread the ball around to multiple receivers. He underthrew a deep ball to Chad Ochocinco and failed to hit on a couple of deep outs but was generally active on the day. Though he continues to hand off with his passing hand due to a thumb injury, any concerns about his plant leg or throwing elbow are well behind him.
2009 Week 10 vs PIT (18 / 30 / 178 / 0 / 0 pass, 5 / -2 / 0 rush)
Palmer struggled against Pittsburgh. The Steelers were able to get enough pressure on him to rush a few throws and their corners successfully jumped routes early. Palmer never got into a consistent rhythm, misfiring on a number of downfield throws that he usually hits, especially on deep timing routes with Chad Ochocinco. Palmer continues to move well in the pocket and was again able to avoid throwing bad interceptions, though only narrowly this week.
2009 Week 11 vs OAK (14 / 22 / 207 / 0 / 1 pass, 4 / 7 / 2 rush)
The Bengals elected to rely heavily on the run after jumping out to an early lead and then trying to grind the clock down in the second half. Palmer threw relatively few passes as a result. He was accurate downfield, connecting on a high percentage of passes to Chad Ochocinco, Laverneaus Coles and Andre Caldwell. He was pressured more often by Oakland than in the previous few weeks, sacked three times and hit frequently after releasing the ball on other passes. Palmer also played the role of goal line vulture, punching in two one yard touchdown runs. Palmer's lone interception came on the game's final play, a Hail Mary toss intercepted well short of the end zone.
2009 Week 12 vs CLE (13 / 24 / 110 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 15 / 0 rush)
Palmer was pressured on nearly every pass play in the first half and struggled to settle into the flow of the game. He was forced to move as his wide receivers were just getting into their breaks and often chose to run from the pocket rather than keep plays alive in the backfield. He was often inaccurate when he did throw, missing Laverneaus Coles multiple times on short routes and deeper timing routes that they'd hit earlier in the year.
2009 Week 13 vs DET (17 / 29 / 220 / 1 / 2 pass, 5 / 7 / 0 rush)
The Bengals started the game throwing the ball more often than in previous weeks, with Palmer looking to Chad Ochocinco and Laverneaus Coles often during the first three series. Palmer and Ochocinco were in sync during throughout the first half and Palmer was able to hit Ochocinco in small windows between multiple defenders in zone coverage and dropped a long post pass into space perfectly on Ochocinco's touchdown catch. The Bengals again looked to establish the run for most of the final three quarters. During that time, many of Palmer's incompletions were due to inaccuracy, including both interceptions. Palmer also seems to be less stable in the pocket, needing to step up early in his progressions and taking off for short gains on scrambles. He could have had a second touchdown pass had tight end Ben Coats not dropped yet another pass in the end zone.
2009 Week 14 vs MIN (15 / 25 / 94 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 10 / 0 rush)
Palmer was under pressure for most of the game, and despite not turning the ball over; he was never really able to establish an offensive rhythm for his team. He made several solid throws, but in general, the offense struggled to get anything going. He made several bad throws behind and over the heads of his receivers, mostly due to the pressure of the Viking offensive front four. On the TD pass, Palmer laid out the perfect pass for Chad Ochocinco and he came down with it for an easy TD. However, later in the game, he threw a corner fade route to Ochocinco that would have been a TD if he hit the back corner of the end zone. However, the pass was underthrown and it was knocked down by Cedric Griffin for an incomplete. Palmer was pulled late in the fourth quarter when the Vikings were up by 20 and the game was out of reach.
2009 Week 15 vs SD (27 / 40 / 314 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer had one of his best statistical games of the season. Cincinnati used a very pass-heavy approach to the game, throwing it 40 times versus just 21 rushes. Early on, he looked to be on point, converting a number of third down situations with a lot of short and intermediate stuff. Then he finally connected on a long one to WR Chad Ochocinco for a 49 yard touchdown, a rare big play against this San Diego defense. He was given plenty of time not only on that play but on most of his dropbacks, right through the second half. He went over 200 yards passing early in the third quarter, and tossed another touchdown pass late to WR Laveranues Coles (a nice look near the sideline in the end zone). He followed that up with a keeper up the middle for the two point conversion that put Cincinnati down just three. On the game-tying drive, he was the one who out-ran S Eric Weddle to get to a loose ball fumble, and then, facing a third down and 30, connected on a perfect pass to WR Quan Cosby for a 23 yard reception to help set up the game-tying kick. Now, this is not to suggest that Palmer was mistake-free. He fumbled on an early sack and the ball sat on the ground for a long time, but fortunately his offensive lineman recovered it. He was nearly intercepted on a pass over the middle on an in route to Ochocinco. And he should've been picked in the end zone by CB Quentin Jammer, who had the ball softly bounce off his hands for what should have been an easy interception. Finally, Palmer DID throw an interception to Jammer on a terrible pass intended for Ochocinco on a slant that was thrown much too far to the inside. Still, with all of the positive things Palmer did in this game, the small number of negatives were far easier to take.
2009 Week 16 vs KC (17 / 25 / 139 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Palmer was ineffective in the first half, as the Bengals again leaned heavily on the running game and his wide receivers again struggled to separate in the secondary. Palmer came alive in the game's final drive, benefiting from good protection and finding his wide receivers downfield for longer gains. The Bengals did attempt to get the ball downfield, trying three long passes to Andre Caldwell. Palmer underthrew two post routes, one of which was intercepted and overthrew a sideline route badly.
2009 Week 17 vs NYJ (1 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer played only the first half against the Jets. His numbers were made worse by multiple drops by his wide receivers, a blown up screen pass and a route cut short by Andre Caldwell that ended in an interception. He overthrew Chad Ochocinco on a deep ball, but was accurate on the majority of his other passes.
2009 Week 18 vs NYJ (18 / 36 / 146 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer returned to the playoffs for the first time since suffering a knee injury early in the 2006 playoff game vs. the Steelers, and he did nothing to exorcise those demons against the Jets. Palmer was off high many times early, leaving his receivers open to take huge shots. When he tried to go back shoulder to Chad Ochocinco, there was a miscommunication and Darrelle Revis was able to get an easy pick. Cedric Benson was most of the Bengals offense on a day that should haunt Palmer for the entire offseason.
2008 Week 1 vs BAL (10 / 25 / 99 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / 15 / 0 rush)
After having gone 90 pass attempts without being sacked, Carson Palmer began the game by being dropped on his first two. It was an early sign of what was to become an extremely tough outing for the Bengals' signal caller. After these initial setbacks, Palmer was never able to get into any sort of rhythm as the aggressive Ravens front seven had little trouble hurrying Palmer and regularly succeeded in forcing him out of his comfort-zone in the pocket. That, in turn, resulted in plenty of off-balance throws that regularly sailed high or wide of their intended targets. Out of his ten completions, only two (one each to Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh) went for over twenty yards, a reflection of just how quickly Palmer was being forced to get rid of the ball. Palmer's sole interception of the day came ten minutes into the game as he attempted to force a pass into the hands of T.J. Houshmandzadeh through double coverage at the Ravens' ten yard line. One bad bounce later, and Baltimore's Chris McAlister was headed the other way.
2008 Week 2 vs TEN (16 / 27 / 134 / 0 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer debuted the 2008 season with his lowest rated game ever (35.2 passer rating). He followed that up with a 41.3 rating against the Titans for his second lowest rating ever. Palmer was never able to get into any real rhythm and struggled with his accuracy. With winds gusting up to 60 miles per hour, Palmer was unable to complete any passes more than 13 yards downfield. (Cincinnati's longest pass play was a 36 yard screen pass to DeDe Dorsey) With the Bengals trailing, Palmer threw two fourth quarter interceptions. The second interception was a high, but probably catchable ball thrown to Reggie Kelly. So far Palmer has been unable to get in sync with his flamboyant pair of star wide receivers.
2008 Week 3 vs NYG (27 / 39 / 286 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 23 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer put in a great effort on the road, completing 69 percent of his passes for 286 yards and a touchdown. He relied heavily on T.J. Houshmandzadeh, looking his way early and often to move the chains and find the rhythm the Bengals offense has lacked early in the season. Palmer was able to engineer two fourth quarter drives, one that put them ahead late in the fourth quarter while the other allowed them to kick a field goal and force overtime.
2008 Week 5 vs DAL (23 / 39 / 217 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer's elbow injury has kept him from practicing the last two weeks, and the lack of work showed in the first half. Palmer looked a little rusty, and at times he didn't seem to be on the same page with his receivers. Palmer came to life after halftime, completing 73% of his passes in the final two quarters, and his intensity seemed to spark his team. He hurried his throws at times, especially in the first half, and for the game he had one turnover (on his first pass) and was sacked twice. Palmer got it clicking late with T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and the two combined for a pair of second half TDs. Palmer seems frustrated with Chad Johnson, and the two have little chemistry right now. At one point in the second half, Palmer became visibly upset at Johnson for running a wrong route.
2007 Week 1 vs BAL (20 / 32 / 194 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 0 / 0 rush)
Considering the defense he was facing and the injuries to his offensive line (three starters lost in the first half), Palmer's performance was fine. He hurried his throws at times, especially in the first half, but he was sacked only once, had no turnovers, and threw two TD passes (including the game winner), so he definitely took care of business. Palmer is not lightning quick, but he has a knack for evading the rush, which was quite evident in this game. The well-designed TD bomb to Chad Johnson was a thing of beauty and is something we're likely to see often this season. Palmer's favorite target was T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who received mostly short passes.
2007 Week 2 vs CLE (33 / 50 / 401 / 6 / 2 pass, 2 / 10 / 0 rush)
Palmer displayed his usual efficiency completing 66% of his passes and throwing for 401 yards. He was able to mix his passes among nine different receivers but his first look was to either Houshmandzadeh or Johnson. Palmer was given plenty of time to throw by his offensive line and was only sacked one time in the game. While he did throw two interceptions, the second interception was an amazing catch by Browns cornerback Leigh Bodden during the last minute of the game.
2007 Week 3 vs SEA (27 / 43 / 342 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer played like an all-star in the first half, and struggled like a rookie in the second. He at first shredded the Seahawks defense, getting the ball to his star wideouts, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh seemingly at will. The trio was unstoppable. Then, in the second half, when the Seahawks keyed on them, Palmer was unable to overcome it by spreading the ball around (He tried, but not very successfully). Instead, he forced the ball to his go-to guys, which resulted in a costly interception (in which he was rolling out and clearly should have thrown it away instead) and a lower ratio of attempts to catches. Still, a bad day for Palmer is better that a lot of other QB's good days. He ended the day with 342 yards passing, but only one TD, an early strike to Houshmandzadeh, before Seattle knew what had hit them.
2007 Week 4 vs NE (21 / 35 / 234 / 1 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer got off to a very slow start going three for six for 13 yards in the first quarter of the game. The Patriots defense did a good job of disrupting the rhythm of the Bengals' passing game, as Palmer struggled hitting his receivers early. Palmer quickly recovered in the second quarter, after a New England turnover, and he led the offense 35 yards for a score. He hit WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh on a one yard touchdown pass. He threw an interception late in the second half in what looked like a miscommunication between himself and WR Chad Johnson. He and Johnson had a heated exchanged as they exited the field at the end of the first half. He finished the half nine for 13 for 85, one touchdown, and one interception. Palmer and the offense struggled getting in the end zone in the second half against the Patriots defense. Palmer was little off his game and failed to make plays in the second half when they needed too. New England did give up total of 153 yards and one touchdown to the combination of Johnson and Houshmandzadeh, but did not give up any big plays. Palmer added another 149 passing yards in the second half but, he and the offense had no touchdowns. He added a second interception late in the game.
2007 Week 6 vs KC (26 / 43 / 320 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Palmer struggled, as shown by the 26 completions out of 43 attempts effort he produced. He rarely completed consecutive passes, and had a tough time getting in rhythm particularly after the first drive. On two separate occasions, it looked like Palmer was going to get going again and a penalty and a questionable call stopped any rhythm he had.
2007 Week 7 vs NYJ (14 / 21 / 226 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer threw an interception in the second quarter that was a great play by Hank Poteat wrestling the ball away from T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Palmer did not throw the ball much because Kenny Watson was running over the Jets, which allowed him good play action fakes to throw down the field. He managed the game well and this was a classic case of taking what the defense gave him.
2007 Week 8 vs PIT (23 / 31 / 205 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Palmer only had eight incompletions on the day and most of those were on deep passes. The problem was that the running game could not consistently move the chains, and the Pittsburgh ate up the clock on offense in the second half.
2007 Week 9 vs BUF (26 / 39 / 271 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
Palmer was on target all day, but his receivers dropped a couple passes and he got a couple of balls tipped at the line of scrimmage. One of those balls was tipped up and almost intercepted, but it fell through the grips of the Bills' defender. His interception came with under 20 seconds left in the game.
2007 Week 10 vs BAL (23 / 34 / 271 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Palmer enjoyed the return of WR Chris Henry and threw for 271 yards. He had no interceptions, but no touchdowns either. He did lose two fumbles. All in all it was an efficient game for Palmer on his way to the team's third win.
2007 Week 11 vs ARI (37 / 52 / 329 / 2 / 4 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a good game fantasy wise with 329 yards on 37 for 52, but the four interceptions obviously took away from an otherwise outstanding day. He hit T. J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry on touchdown passes and completed passes to seven different receivers. The most damaging of his interceptions was the first play in the second half when Karlos Dansby stepped in front of a pass intended for Houshmandzadeh. That interception extended the Cardinals lead to 28-13 and forced the Bengals to all but abandon their running game.
2007 Week 12 vs TEN (32 / 38 / 283 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Carson Palmer had an amazing day passing. He rarely faced pressure from the Titans pass rush and he showed good pocket presence by moving around in the pocket to buy enough time to find the open receivers. Palmer was accurate on all types of passes, from the out patterns that gained first downs to the deep throws that stretched the defense. He showed good touch on his three touchdown passes, throwing the ball to the spot where his receiver was going to be. He clearly benefited from having all of his primary weapons available to spread the defense.
2007 Week 13 vs PIT (17 / 44 / 183 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Palmer got off to a good start on the Bengals' initial drive as he completed six of his seven attempts for 57 yards, helping lead the offense to their only touchdown of the game. The Cincinnati quarterback would go on to complete only 12 more passes throughout the remainder of the contest as he finished with a season low 183 yards passing. The offense seemed to be in third and long situations throughout the night, which contributed towards Palmer's struggle in moving the chains. His pass catchers didn't help him out either as a number of balls that hit receivers in the hands fell incomplete.
2007 Week 14 vs STL (21 / 29 / 189 / 0 / 2 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Palmer finished the day with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Outside of one long pass to Chad Johnson, he had a hard time hooking up with his receivers. He had better luck throwing to Houshmandzadeh, but most were for short gains.
2007 Week 15 vs SF (19 / 31 / 251 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
Palmer and offense started the game out slow but, got it going in the second quarter as they started moving the ball. He tried hitting WR Chris Henry deep a couple of times in the first quarter but, they unable to connect. Midway through the second quarter Palmer hit Henry in full stride on beautifully thrown ball over the middle of the field. He finished the first half nine for 14 for 145 yards. The inability of the Bengals defense to stop the San Francisco offense in the second half hurt Palmer and the rest of the offense as they simply were not able to get on the field much in the half. Palmer tried to lead the Bengals back late in the fourth quarter but, they were not able to make any big plays when the game was on the line. He almost had a touchdown late in the game as he went to WR Chad Johnson down the side line in the end zone on a fourth down with two minutes left, but Johnson was unable to bring the ball down on what was a tough catch. He had 106 yards passing in the second half but, the offense faltered on there few opportunities in the red zone.
2007 Week 16 vs CLE (11 / 21 / 115 / 1 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a very quiet day, throwing for only 115 yards, mainly due to the success of the Cincinnati running game. The Bengals were content to hand the ball to Kenny Watson for most of the afternoon. Palmer did throw two interceptions, the first being a wobbly pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh that was picked by Cleveland DB Leigh Bodden. The second pass saw Houshmandzadeh fall down and again Leigh Bodden happened to be in the right place at the right time and snagged the ball. Palmer did have some trouble with throws sailing over his receivers heads, but by and large the Bengals simply committed to running the ball for the entire game.
2007 Week 17 vs MIA (23 / 32 / 316 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer started off well completing four of six passes for 37 yards on the first drive of the game, and squeezed a tough two yard pass to Chad Johnson for the Bengals first touchdown of the game. Palmer hit Johnson again on for 70 yard touchdown midway through the second quarter. He had WR Chris Henry wide open deep down the field on the next drive but, he overthrew him for what would have been another big play. He would continue his big half by leading Cincinnati down the field 63 yards with a minute and two seconds left in the first half. He would hit Antonio Chatman on a four yard pass for Palmers third touchdown of the half. Palmer finished the half 12 of 17 for 211. Palmer hooked up with Johnson again on a 43 yard reception down the right side line. He throws one of the better deep balls on the NFL, and Palmer hit Johnson on a perfectly thrown ball. He finished the game with 316 yards passing.
2006 Week 1 vs KC (13 / 19 / 127 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer didn't play exceptionally well, and was fortunate to be bailed out of some costly errors, but he showed signs that he's ready to turn it loose soon. He was unable to find the end zone, with the closest he came being an underthrown incompletion to Chad Johnson early in the contest. Palmer was visibly frustrated by his own pass, and soon after led the Bengals on scoring drives that resulted in rushing touchdowns. On one of those drives, he completed a pass to Kenny Watson that was taken down to the three yard line. Palmer was able to take a hit and recover from it, which is always important to note with players returning from injury. Perhaps most importantly, he never seemed to shy away from contact. Getting those reps in the preseason and getting the hits ouf of the way seems to have done wonders for his in-season confidence. Of course, the news wasn't perfect on Palmer. Aside from the near touchdown that went awry, there was some miscommunication on a pass intended for Chad Johnson later on. Palmer also fumbled twice, losing one (though both of those could at least be partially blamed on the rain, which picked up considerably during that point in the game). Palmer was also fortunate in that at least three passes could have been intercepted, but weren't. Kawika Mitchell tipped a ball in the air that fell incomplete, and Patrick Surtain had his hands on a pass but dropped it incomplete. Finally, Surtain was just out of bounds on another potential interception late in the game. The score of the game as Cincinnati led by 14 at the half also played a part in Palmer's light stat line, as he completed just three of six passes in the entire second half.
2006 Week 2 vs CLE (24 / 40 / 352 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 1 / 0 rush)
Palmer helped to answer any remaining critics with regards to his health and ability to take a hit, averaging 8.8 yards per passing attempt and completing 60% of his passes en route to an 84.6 passer rating. Palmer distributed the ball well, even without T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and looked very comfortable in the pocket.
2006 Week 3 vs PIT (18 / 26 / 193 / 4 / 2 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
Palmer got off to a rocky start by completing one of his first three passes including a poorly thrown ball on a deep out pattern which was picked off for his first of two interceptions. In between his two incompletions, Palmer was hit twice and fumbled both times, both recovered by the Bengals. To his credit, he was not careless with the ball, but rather just got hit at the right place and time. Palmer made up for it in big way in leading a 14 play, 97 yard drive followed by a seven play, 62 yard drive, both resulting in second quarter touchdowns. He found Chris Henry on a 20 yard fade pattern right at the near-side pylon, then engineered the two minute drill (or 1:08 drill) culminated by a three yard touchdown pass to Henry again with ten seconds left in the first half. Palmer completed 11 consecutive passes from the early second quarter until the final minute of the first half when he was forced to spike the ball to stop the clock. Palmer was not nearly as effective in the second half, five of nine for 55 yards, but he wasted no time in scoring on two one-play drives after Steelers' turnovers. He found T.J. Houshmandzadeh twice within 54 seconds, once for nine yards off play-action, the other for 30 yards to give the Bengals an 11-point lead and the win. His second interception was a result of a big hit on the intended receiver Chris Henry.
2006 Week 4 vs NE (20 / 35 / 245 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer was getting blitzed and hit hard almost from the get go, but managed to complete a slew of early passes anyway. He got WR Chad Johnson involved early, but couldn't finish drives, settling for two early field goal attempts. The game was still within reach early in the fourth quarter before Palmer committed a pair of fumbles on consecutive series, ultimately ending the Bengals' hopes. The two fumbles were Palmer's sixth and seventh of the season, surpassing his total of five fumbles committed all of last season. He finished 20 of 35 for 245 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.
2006 Week 6 vs TB (24 / 37 / 261 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
Palmer finished with respectable numbers, but could not do enough to win against a hungry Buccaneers' defense. For the game, Palmer completed 24 of 37 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown, hitting WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh from 33 yards out for Cincinnati's only touchdown. The Bengals were able to get in scoring range two other times in the game, but were unable to convert on third downs and were forced to settle for field goals on the other two red zone drives. Palmer looked to his two favorite targets early and often, targeting his talented starting wideouts a combined 26 times for the game, connecting for 16 receptions with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Their inability to convert on third downs really slowed down the Cincinnati offense, and was a big part of the reason they left Tampa Bay with a loss.
2006 Week 7 vs CAR (23 / 39 / 240 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Palmer was under plenty of pressure early on from the Carolina pass rush and was unable to look downfield for his potent wide receiver tandem of Johnson and Houshmanzadeh. The pressure forced Palmer to dump passes off to his back or short attempts over the middle to his tight end Reggie Kelly. Although he threw a touchdown pass in the first half to Kelley, Palmer rebounded in the second half as his offensive line allowed him more time in the pocket which resulted in several deep targets downfield. Palmer looked spectacular leading the Bengals on the game winning drive completing eight of nine pass attempts for 93 yards culminating with a one yard bullet to Houshmandzadeh for the score. The key pass of the drive was on critical fourth and one play that Palmer went for broke and hit Chad Johnson deep down the right sideline for a 32 yard gain. He finished the game completing 23 of 39 pass attempts for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
2006 Week 8 vs ATL (24 / 36 / 266 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a strong game for the Bengals, but in the end did not have enough time or protection to bring his club back. Palmer completed 24 of 36 passes for 266 yards and touchdown scored to WR's Chad Johnson and Chris Henry. The score to Henry came on a one play scoring drive that shortly followed an Atlanta field goal that put the Falcons up nine in the fourth quarter. However, the Falcons ate up most of the clock on their next possession, leaving the Bengals with only 19 seconds left from their own 17 yard line. Palmer was sacked and lost a fumble to the Falcons, ending any chance they had at winning the game.
2006 Week 9 vs BAL (12 / 26 / 194 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
After getting sacked on his first play from scrimmage Palmer dropped back two plays later on a third and long. He wasn't under pressure and overthrew WR Chad Johnson. The pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown putting the Bengals down by 14 points only three and a half minutes into the game. Palmer faced a heavy pass rush through the bulk of the first half. He continued to throw the ball high and nearly had several other passes intercepted. He rebounded just before halftime hitting WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a 26 yard touchdown. Palmer did a nice job with a pump fake and looking off the safety to the left before coming back to Houshmandzadeh deep to his right. The second half looked much like the start of the game. Palmer was sacked on their first series on a three and out. Two series later at the start of the fourth quarter Palmer took a big hit standing in the pocket from up the middle, but unloaded a deep pass down the right sideline that WR Chris Henry pulled in for a long gain putting the Bengals at the four yard line setting up the touchdown for RB Rudi Johnson.
2006 Week 10 vs SD (31 / 42 / 440 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Palmer played about as well as any quarterback can possibly play in the first half of this game. The San Diego defense had zero answers for Palmer, who finally looked like the QB we saw all of 2005. His deep passes found their mark, the underneath passes were crisp and quick, and the timing patterns were in perfect rhythm with the routes of his receivers. He spread the ball around fairly well, though his primary target was WR Chad Johnson. The two connected for a 51 yard touchdown strike late in the first quarter, with Johnson beating the last defender by a wide margin on the play. The twosome would later hook up for a 74 yard touchdown late in the third quarter. Johnson's big-play ability was the primary reason why Palmer was able to put up a career-best 440 passing yards. Palmer was very impressive on several plays in particular, notably a first half completion to WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh over the middle. With a blitzing linebacker in his face and charging hard, Palmer stood tall in the pocket and delivered a perfect pass to Houshmandzadeh, absorbing a punishing hit in the process. Palmer's stats almost got just a bit better on Cincinnati's last gasp drive. They moved the ball to the San Diego 15 yard line where Palmer appeared to throw a perfect pass to WR Chris Henry in the end zone. Henry, however, dropped the ball. On the final play from scrimmage, Palmer fired a pass to Glenn Holt in the end zone that was knocked away incomplete. It was a bit curious that with the game (and possibly season) on the line, the last four passes of the game went to Tony Stewart, Chris Henry, Kenny Watson, and Glenn Holt. (Although Johnson did have two receptions for 33 yards on the final drive) Holt wasn't turned around to see the pass heading his way anyway, so he wouldn't have caught it even if it wasn't deflected. Palmer wasn't intercepted in the game, but came close on a pass intended for Henry late in the first half. San Diego S Clinton Hart had the ball in his hands momentarily before dropping it for an incompletion, and Palmer capped that drive with the TD pass to Henry four plays later.
2006 Week 11 vs NO (14 / 22 / 275 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
While he didn't put up any career bests this week, Palmer certainly took another step towards looking more and more like the quarterback we all saw a year ago. Despite being under a good deal of pressure for much of the afternoon, his deep passes to Chad Johnson were absolutely perfect, thrown in perfect time with the receiver's routes, and the two hooked up on passes of 41, 60, and 48 yards (with most of that yardage coming in the air and not after the catch). It appears that he and Johnson are finally back on the same page, as Johnson saw ten passes go in his direction while the rest of the team was targeted just 12 times combined. About the only glaring mistake Palmer made was in trying to force a pass to WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone midway through the third quarter. The Saints turned the ensuing possession into the game tying field goal, but Palmer was able to regroup and throw the 60 yard touchdown bomb to Johnson on the team's next offensive series.
2006 Week 12 vs CLE (25 / 32 / 275 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
By completing 78% of his passes for an average of 8.6 yards per attempt, Palmer finished with a passer rating of 120.7. Palmer looked very good distributing the ten yard pass over the middle, the deep ball and the timing pass into the corner of the end zone, the latter which he connected twice with Chris Henry. The announcers in this game commented how this was a drill they spent a great deal of time in practice upon, placing a garbage can in the corner of the end zone to the exact spot which Palmer was to throw it. Palmer did not face a significant pass rush for most of the game, and his only interception occurred on a deep pass intended for Chad Johnson in a 23-0 game where was looking for a knockout punch.
2006 Week 13 vs BAL (21 / 32 / 234 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Palmer targeted his top two wide receivers nearly exclusively against Baltimore in Week 13. Both WRs Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh had 11 targets each, or two-thirds of all of Palmer's attempts. Both receivers dominated in the first half, catching 13 of Palmer's 15 completions for a combined 143 yards (again, for most of Palmer's 160 yards before intermission). Both receivers ran short pass routes (mostly 15 yards and less) and Palmer hit them as they came out of their breaks time after time. Palmer entered halftime with solid numbers (15-22-160) as a result of the repeated passing to Johnson and Houshmandzadeh. The Bengals tried to jump out on top of Baltimore, and they were successful on the first possession of the second half. Palmer connected with Houshmandzadeh on a 40 yard flea flicker for the only Bengals touchdown of the game. After that play, the Bengals tried to run more than pass in the second half to nurse their lead and hold on for the victory. Palmer was able to only have to pass seven times after the flea flicker as Cincinnati milked the clock and held Baltimore to just one score.
2006 Week 14 vs OAK (20 / 28 / 297 / 2 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer is beginning to play himself back into pre-knee injury shape. He is making quick decisions, delivering accurate passes to his lethal receiving core, and scrambling when he gets pressured. He was able to complete 20 of 28 for 297 yards and two touchdowns.
2006 Week 15 vs IND (14 / 28 / 176 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 11 / 0 rush)
Palmer was almost a spectator in the first half as the Bengals tried to run the ball against the Colts. He completed three of eight passes and gained 33 yards in the half. He should have completed a touchdown pass to Chris Henry, but his pass was dropped by Henry in the end zone. Dwight Freeney sacked Palmer on the Bengals' opening drive, causing Palmer to lose a fumble. The Bengals fell behind in the second half and focused more on the passing game. Palmer's longest completion came on a 46 yard screen pass to Kenny Watson. Palmer had to do without Chad Johnson for a time in the second half as Johnson returned to the locker room with cramps. As the game wore on, Palmer became more and more desperate and he seemed to be looking for big plays on every down. But at the end of the game, the Bengals seemed resigned to defeat and were content to move the ball with short passes and the running game. Palmer was sacked on two more occasions by Freeney, fumbling the ball both times, but the Bengals were able to recover them. Palmer came close to completing a touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but the ball was knocked away by the defender.
2006 Week 16 vs DEN (21 / 40 / 209 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
Palmer had decent stats with 209 yards passing with two touchdowns, but he actually had an off game. His throws were regularly off target, and he missed several excellent scoring opportunities that almost certainly would've been touchdowns if he was accurate. His favorite targets were his three wide receivers, all of whom had double digit looks. His first touchdown went to Chris Henry and his second to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. It was this second touchdown that was the result of a last minute drive that was supposed to tie the game. Palmer added six yards on two carries.
2006 Week 17 vs PIT (20 / 38 / 251 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / -3 / 0 rush)
On Cincinnati's first two plays from scrimmage, Palmer missed on two long bombs to WRs Chris Henry and Chad Johnson. From that point on he sputtered through the first three quarters and didn't emerge as a factor until the fourth quarter. He had just 84 yards in the first half in going ten for 18 passing. He inexplicably took a knee when he thought the Steelers were offside, but no flag was thrown, and instead he rushed for negative two yards. He led the Bengals on a 14 play drive late in the first half, completing six passes for 49 yards to Pittsburgh's four yard line, but two false start penalties forced the Bengals to kick a field goal. He added just 14 yards passing in the third quarter, but came to life in the fourth when he found Henry, who took a pass over the middle and ran for a 66 yard touchdown. On the Bengals next drive, he completed five short passes including one to TE Tony Stewart, Palmer's third option on the play, for a five yard touchdown to take a 17-14 lead late in the game. With under a minute remaining and the game now tied, Palmer heaved a 47 yard pass to Henry to the Steelers' 20 yard line, but PK Shayne Graham missed a 39 yard field goal with :08 remaining in regulation.
2005 Week 1 vs CLE (26 / 34 / 280 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer finished with a 107.5 passer rating on the day, and looked sharp in spreading the ball around to a well-tuned offense all day long. Palmer had plenty of time to pass, and with the time to find the open receiver, put up one of the biggest QB performances of the week. On the drive which concluded with a Jeremi Johnson touchdown out of the backfield, Palmer went seven for seven, which helped his confidence to grow and for the Bengals to open the game up. He shook off a less than stellar pre season and looked excellent.
2005 Week 2 vs MIN (27 / 40 / 337 / 3 / 1 pass, 4 / 3 / 0 rush)
Palmer began the game with a hot hand, completing 20 of 27 passes and throwing three touchdowns in the first half. He was well-protected and showed poise in the pocket, the polar opposite of Daunte Culpepper. With the game out of his opponents reach, Palmer's second half stats cooled, but he found nine different receivers en route to a stellar 337 yard, three touchdown outing.
2005 Week 3 vs CHI (16 / 23 / 169 / 3 / 0 pass, 6 / -3 / 0 rush)
Palmer's play was simply impeccable. His first touchdown pass of the game was one of the best passes you're likely to see in the NFL this season. Palmer hit a streaking Chad Johnson in between two Bears' defenders (Mike Brown and Charles Tillman) perfectly for the score. Following the score, the Bears' defense really clamped down. When Palmer had time to throw, the receivers just didn't seem to be getting open. And when the receivers were open, Palmer had pressure in his face in the form of Adewale Ogunleye. Rather than trying to force something, Palmer simply took what the defense gave, which wasn't much. At one point, Palmer was seven out of eleven for just 39 yards, and 18 of those yards were on the touchdown pass to Johnson. In the second half, the Bengals opened things up a lot more. They began sending receivers deep, and Palmer came close to hooking up with T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a long pass play, but the ball was thrown about a foot too far. Eventually, OT Willie Anderson returned to the game after slight back spasms, and coincidentally or not, the Bengals' offense began performing again. Palmer showed perfect touch on a 36 yard touchdown to Chris Henry, and later added a 40 yard score to his favorite target, Chad Johnson. At one point on the sidelines, Palmer was seen having his neck worked on, perhaps after stiffening up a bit. He did take many big hits in the first half, which could have contributed to the neck problem. Luckily for Palmer, the neck situation wasn't very serious as it came prior to the Johnson touchdown. So, obviously Palmer was fine. Palmer lost 15 yards passing on two separate plays that were called back due to penalty.
2005 Week 4 vs HOU (25 / 34 / 276 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Palmer entered the day with a passer rating of 114.0 and kept the momentum going with a 107.0 passer rating against the Texans. Palmer averaged 8.1 yards per passing attempt, and was able to find openings in the Texans' secondary throughout the entire game.
2005 Week 5 vs JAX (22 / 33 / 239 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Palmer began the game under duress from an aggressive Jaguars' pass rush. He was able to get into a rhythm in the second half, and brought the Bengals back to within three points with a chance to tie or win the game at the end. Though he was playing without one of his starting wide receivers, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Palmer did not lock onto Chad Johnson exclusively. He targeted Johnson seven times in the first half, but spread the ball around more in the second half, targeting nine different receivers in the second half. Palmer seemed to have a good rapport with rookie wide receiver Chris Henry, hooking up with him on a 25 yard touchdown throw moments after connecting on a 47 yard pass to him. Though forced to rush his throws early, Palmer did not let that affect him for the entire game, and ended the game with solid passing numbers. He also threw a nice block to spring a teammate for positive yards on a run to the outside.
2005 Week 6 vs TEN (27 / 33 / 272 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)
Palmer rebounded from last week's disappointing loss at Jacksonville to guide the Bengals to their fifth victory of the season. He played with plenty of confidence and leadership and rallied the team after falling behind early to Tennessee. Palmer finished the game 27 of 33 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He has not thrown an interception in his last four games and leads the league in touchdowns with 13 for the season. Palmer showed outstanding arm strength and was successful going deep several times in the game. He also was impressive moving out of the pocket and eluding the pass rush and still managing to get the ball to his receivers.
2005 Week 7 vs PIT (21 / 36 / 227 / 0 / 2 pass, 3 / 8 / 1 rush)
Palmer started strong as he completed six passes in the first quarter as he lead the Bengals to two drives for 110 yards in over ten minutes of game clock. But he fell victim to the instant replay decision to reverse a Chad Johnson touchdown, in which Palmer put the pass exactly where it had to be for the catch to be made, and a dropped touchdown pass by Chris Henry, which hit him right on the numbers. Palmer never regained that first quarter edge. He failed to put points up after his defense intercepted his counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, in the third quarter and he threw one of his own just three plays later. A tipped pass on the next drive fell into the Steelers hands and the Bengals went from trailing 7-6 to being down 17-6 in just over two minutes.
2005 Week 8 vs GB (22 / 34 / 237 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer took the NFL lead in touchdown passes (16) with three more in this game. However, Palmer had a rough time keeping the Bengals' offense moving when it counted late in the game. His defense handed him the ball with five takeaways in a stretch of six possessions, but Palmer was able to manufacture points only once. Further, he responded to the last Favre interception by throwing one of his own that led to a Packer touchdown and allowed Green Bay to hang around in the game keeping it close until the final whistle. This said, Palmer was still accurate and showed off the cannon on his right shoulder several times. Also, the Cincinnati running game didn't help him out much by not being able to grind out a few first downs in the second half.
2005 Week 9 vs BAL (19 / 26 / 248 / 2 / 0 pass, 5 / -6 / 0 rush)
Palmer ran the offense well, didn't force things, and made the key throws when necessary. The Bengals ran the ball extensively, so Palmer only had to manage the game, throwing only 26 times. The offensive line protected him well, giving him time to throw. Early on, T.J. Houshmandzadeh was Palmer's favorite target, as the Ravens focused on locking Chad Johnson down. Later in the game, with the coverage loosened, Palmer was able to find Chad Johnson downfield for a 48 yard pass near the right sideline. Only nine of Palmer's 26 pass attempts were intended for non wide receivers, so Palmer was able to get the ball downfield quite well. Both of Palmer's touchdown passes came from close range, one on a shovel pass to Tab Perry, the other on a three yard pass to Chris Henry.
2005 Week 11 vs IND (25 / 38 / 335 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Both quarterbacks on each side of the ball put on a show in this game. Palmer looked every bit as good as multiple league MVP Peyton Manning. Palmer shredded what is considered one of the top defenses in the league. He saw little to no pressure. He was sacked once, and did throw an interception, but had all day to throw on the game. Certainly some credit goes to the offensive line. Palmer used all his weapons, and spread the ball well.
2005 Week 12 vs BAL (22 / 30 / 302 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 14 / 0 rush)
Palmer came out throwing and threw well. He targeted four different receivers on their opening drive. And his only incompletion was an overthrown pass attempt to Chad Johnson in the end zone on third down, forcing the Bengals to settle for a field goal. Palmer threw three touchdowns during the game. Palmer connected with Johnson on a beautiful 54 yard touchdown pass. To start the second half, Palmer threw a 30 yard touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Following Kyle Boller's interception in the third quarter, Palmer threw a 27 yard touchdown pass to Chris Henry. The only blemish on the day for Palmer was an interception thrown near the end of the third quarter.
2005 Week 13 vs PIT (22 / 38 / 227 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Palmer took a page from Peyton Manning, not only in calling many audibles, but also in leading the hurry up offense to start the game, keeping the Steelers off balance. He also threw for three touchdowns and 227 yards. He was in control and made very few technical errors in leading six scoring drives, including five of the Bengals' first seven. He got Cincinnati on the board with a 43 yard bomb to Houshmandzadeh to cap a four play, 79 yard drive in the first quarter. Palmer then engineered a 53 yard drive ending in a one yard play action pass to Reggie Kelly with ten minutes left in the first half. He found Houshmandzadeh again late in the second quarter on a drive that started on Pittsburgh's 22 thanks to an interception. Palmer didn't have to do as much work in the second half, as both Cincinnati scores came on shortened fields.
2005 Week 14 vs CLE (13 / 27 / 93 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Palmer had his least effective game of the season, completing just 48% of his passes for an average of 3.4 yards per passing attempt and a passer rating of 53.5 against the Browns. Palmer saw a considerable pass rush all afternoon long, and found himself throwing the ball away quite often, leading to his low completion percentage on the afternoon. While he did throw a number of passes away on purpose, Palmer seemed especially conservative with his passes, throwing a number of passes low where only his receiver would have a chance of catching him, though most of those falling incomplete.
2005 Week 15 vs DET (28 / 39 / 274 / 3 / 2 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Palmer seems to get more comfortable in the no-huddle offense each week. He ran it to precision early leading to score on the Bengals first four possessions, including three touchdown strikes. Palmer broke Ken Anderson's franchise record for touchdowns on a season with his 30 TD of the season when he hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh with a nine yard strike in the second quarter. Palmer finished his afternoon midway through the fourth quarter with 274 yards on 28 of 39 including three touchdowns and two interceptions.
2005 Week 16 vs BUF (25 / 36 / 266 / 2 / 2 pass, 4 / 14 / 0 rush)
Palmer had a slow start to the game, throwing an interception on the Bengals' second drive after they had gone three and out on the first. The pass was intended for Chad Johnson but Troy Vincent made the catch for the Bills. Palmer recovered well and led the Bengals down the field for the opening touchdown of the game, and later found Chad Johnson for a 41 yard score. By the half he was 12 of 18 for 154 yards, a touchdown and an interception and looked poised for a big game. He picked out Chris Henry for a 27 yard touchdown on the Bengals' second possession of the second half but couldn't make passes late in the game when the Bengals needed it most. Chad Johnson was his favorite receiver and he kept looking for him despite several dropped passes. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was also heavily involved in Palmer's plans, and saw ten targets of his own. Down by three with a minute left in the game, Palmer sprinted to get out of bounds for a two yard gain. He appeared hobbled as he ran and was later said to have suffered a minor groin strain. He threw an interception on the following play. Jon Kitna replaced him on the following series, the last of the game.
2005 Week 17 vs KC (5 / 8 / 54 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Palmer played very briefly. He was only in for the first quarter before being pulled in favor of Kitna. Coach Lewis and Palmer claim he could have kept playing but they wanted to ensure his health for the playoffs. Without him in the contest, the Bengals played uninspired.