Four weeks into the 2021 NFL season, there is one undefeated team remaining.
After the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football, the Arizona Cardinals became the only unbeaten squad in the league.
The Cardinals are 4-0 for the first time since 2012 and the eighth time in franchise history. They lead the NFL in points, averaging 35 per game, and are ninth in defensive scoring.
The end of Week 4 would typically mark the end of the first quarter of the season for NFL teams, but since there are 17 games this year, that changes.
For Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, nothing matters except for the week at hand, which sounds cliched but has been a running theme with the team this year especially.
"Collectively, after last year, we made it a point to extend the present focus on one week at a time and try to improve each week, and I think our guys have done a nice job of that so far," Kingsbury said postgame on Sunday.
Last year, the Cardinals started 2-0 then stumbled with back-to-back losses against non-contending teams.
They lost games the players thought they should have won. This year has gone differently for several reasons.
"We really changed that locker room around," running back Chase Edmonds said after defeating the Rams on Sunday. "We got big-time players in there, we got culture guys. It's expected to win big-time games and I think (beating Los Angeles) was a small step in the right direction to where we want to go when the games really matter in December and January."
The Cardinals' additions of center Rodney Hudson, defensive end J.J. Watt and wide receiver A.J. Green have proved invaluable to the team on the field and off.
Also, in Year 3 under Kingsbury, the maturity level appears to be higher from both coaching and players.
But, multiple Cardinals players said after Sunday's victory that the Super Bowl is not played in October. Cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. pointed out that this is the very beginning of the season.
Edmonds mentioned that the Cardinals play the Rams again in December, and that they have proven nothing yet.
That's the sentiment quarterback Kyler Murray voiced as well.
"We have to continue to prove it," Murray said Sunday. "Not really too worried about what other people think. I think the guys in the locker room understand what we're doing, what we're capable of and where we can take it."
Two of the Cardinals four wins so far have been blowouts on the road against 2020 playoff teams.
But, the tests will keep coming, as Arizona will host the San Francisco 49ers this week before heading to Cleveland to battle the 3-1 Browns. Two weeks after, the 3-1 Green Bay Packers enter the Valley for a Thursday Night Football matchup.
This year has started about as well as possible for Arizona, but there is no trophy for the being the final team to lose a game in the regular season. This team, more so than in the past, knows that.