The first three quarters of Sunday’s Arizona Cardinals game were not exactly what offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich drew up.
After falling down 15-3, the Cardinals would need a strong fourth-quarter showing from an offense that looked lost at times.
But as Arizona fans watched in angst, the new OC wasn’t questioning his playcalling.
“There’s no second-guessing. Every time you call one, you think that’s the one,” Leftwich said Tuesday when asked if he was rethinking his strategy in the fourth quarter. “And when it’s not, the key is that for your guys to keep fighting and our guys just kept fighting.”
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And fight they did as Rosen and the offense scored two touchdowns in the final quarter to take home the 18-15 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
But while the come-from-behind victory added to the win column, it provided more than just a win.
“You watch the energy, you watch the way the guys were locked in. You can’t ask for no more than that,” Leftwich said of the team’s effort. “Most of these games in this league come down to the last two minutes anyway.
“We gained a lot of experience in that football game, we became a better football team in that football game, especially with all the snaps our young guys are getting. They are all learning from those situations.”
Of those players, Rosen might have taken the most away with his late-game theatrics.
“I’m happy to coach this kid, I’m happy to go through the bumps and bruises with this kid,” Leftwich said. “But as you can see, this kid is getting better and better and whatever situation we can get him in is a plus for us.”
After throwing for just over 100 yards through three quarters, Rosen stepped up in a big way in the fourth quarter. He threw for 150 yards and two scores, while looking like an NFL quarterback who has led a comeback drive or two. In both scoring drives, Rosen and the offense marched more than 70 yards down the field.
“I’m his second coordinator but I’m not going to put the kid in a position where it’s completely brand new,” Leftwich said of the rookie’s growth moving forward. “He’s hearing the same words, he’s doing some of the same things now. I’m just trying to when he does them, I’m tweaking things here and there.
“[I’m] just trying to get things more how I see it, but I’m never going to put this kid in a position to be out on the field and not know what he’s doing.”
With an added week to prepare thanks to the bye week, Leftwich is looking to change a few things up with the offense, while continuing to fine-tune the little things.
“It gives me time to tweak things here and there, to see it my way. But at the same time, it just gives me enough time to view the opponent,” Leftwich said. “And it gives us time to self scout, rep things that I think Josh needs to get better at and have him see things that maybe coming up in the future he hasn’t seen in the past so it’s a lot of time to just look at those things.”
The offense will need to be firing on all cylinders as the Cardinals take on Patrick Mahomes and the high-scoring Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10.
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