Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, better known to college football fans as the Honey Badger from his LSU days, is officially out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL he suffered at the end of the Cardinals’ victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
Peter King, writing for his own site MMQB, described the play on which the injury happened, before the extent of the damage was known:
On the last defensive snap for Arizona on Sunday night, up 23, the Cardinals’ do-it-all safety, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Tyrann Mathieu, intercepted Sam Bradford to put this game out of its misery. It was a pirouetting play in front of Riley Cooper, with Mathieu turning upfield to run with the ball, then inadvertently kicking his left ankle with his right foot, and then the left leg twisted a little bit, and Mathieu went down suddenly. It was a strange incident.
Mathieu has been an electrifying presence in the Cardinals’ defensive backfield all season, with five interceptions to go along with 80 solo tackles. He’s a playmaker and a leader, and without him, Arizona’s defense just has a lower ceiling. It will certainly affect the team’s Super Bowl hopes.
But the Honey Badger’s injury doesn’t affect what might be the best offense in the NFL, which showed out against the Eagles. Rookie running back David Johnson burst onto the scene with this awesome run and scored three touchdowns on the night, and Carson Palmer has led the most dangerous aerial attack in the NFC. Though the Honey Badger will be sorely missed, the Cards are still a very dangerous team.