The week leading up to a Thursday night game against the undefeated San Fransisco 49ers, the Arizona Cardinals come in as a big 10 point underdog. Also through the media in a press conference star cornerback Patrick Peterson voiced his displeasure of having to play on Thursday nights.
Question: Do you like Thursday night games? “No” said Peterson and added “I think our bodies don’t have enough time to recover and we just had to travel from New Orleans thats a two and half hour flight, then practice and turn around now we are back on the field”. It almost sounds like Peterson set the prerequisite to his performance on Thursday night football against the 49ers.
Peterson’s performance was not the performance of one that is the best shut down cornerback in the league, in fact he had a similar performance last week against the Saints Micheal Thomas giving up catches on every target he guarded him.
New 49ers receiver Emanuel Sanders had his way with Peterson all night, and had the corner chasing and at one point looking as if to give up in the fight.
On a busted coverage between he and rookie Byron Murphy Peterson showed a clear lack of hustle to make up ground and have a chance to at least swing down on the receivers hands to try and force him to drop the ball.
Even if Murphy was at fault that does not mean the play stops and you get a do-over.
The play of number 21 was very lack luster as he made business decision type tackle attempts all night, swinging and almost stepping out the way of contact and seeming a step behind ball recognition.
The questions around the stadium began to swirl, “whats wrong with P2” shattered throughout the crowd. The Red-sea had never seen their star corner look that bad on the field in a prime-time setting, and it was on a night where the weird and scary can happen being Halloween night.
Whatever the reason the so called “P2 effect” definition was a negative effect on the team, much so that it looked like Peterson was staying to himself most the night. He didn’t seem to engage with teammates on high fives and we didn’t see that infectious smile we’re accustomed to seeing.
Now all of the conspiracy theories have begun in trying to figure out what went wrong with his game that night.
We saw Peterson a few years ago have a hard season not looking like his dominant self on the field, later to find out he was diabetic and was lacking energy and stamina. Soon as he got what was needed he returned to form, so getting busted in the off-season for a performance enhancement drug and coming back maybe without that drug he mentally doesn’t feel he is the same and is lacking an edge.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury defended the poor performance best he could and eluded it to Patrick still getting his playing legs up under him and still picking up the system.
This excuse does not hold any weight, because Peterson was with the team during camp and pre-season and also bragged he had stayed in shape during the suspension going up to Flagstaff and doing game like simulation drills.
This can all be rectified with a great P2 performance next week against another prolific receiver Mike Evans, and this is a copycat league which means defensive coordinators will be more eager to throw at him until he proves he is himself again. But maybe being himself was aided with a little enhancement, and now the final years of his career will be mediocre or he will get into football shape and return to his status.
If there was a word that can be used to describe the Patrick Peterson we saw Thursday night would be the word “Disconnected” as he seemed disconnected and disinterested in playing this game, and it showed in his attitude and his tackling and awareness.
The questions of Peterson wanting to be in Arizona will surely rise after a lack luster performance like that, giving up clean targets in a game that was winnable if he brings the maximum effort.
When it comes to being the best shutdown corner in the league the numbers also have to reflect, and the name on the back can only hide the truth for a time. If you are the best it will play out on the field and if not, we will see more efforts and performances like we saw the last two weeks.
Time to own up P2, no more talk.