Patrick Peterson is a cornerback—and a very good one. But after going No. 5 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft the Arizona Cardinals' rookie did most of his game-changing in the return game. Peterson made 44 punt returns for 699 yards and four touchdowns, both of which led football. Sam Bradford's St. Louis Rams were his most frequent victims; altogether he returned eight punts for 222 yards and two of those touchdowns against the Rams, including his 99-yard touchdown return in Week 8.
Of course, while he was at it, Peterson also picked Bradford off.
In 2012, as the Cardinals get off to their best start in years, he's yet to take a punt to the end zone. And now Patrick Peterson's favorite targets are back, but they're no longer sitting ducks. This year's Sam Bradford looks much more assured than last year's model, and on special teams the Rams now have rookie punter Johnny Hekker, who threw a game-winning touchdown pass on a fake field goal in last week's win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Don't get me wrong: Peterson is still a major part of the Rams and Cardinals' Thursday Night Football matchup. But this year the Rams might be able to fight back.