The Cardinals followed up a dominating defensive performance versus the Buccaneers with an absolute stinker offensively against the Bills in Buffalo last Sunday. Not many aspects of the Cardinals’ game were on point as they fell to the quite maligned Bills by a score of 33-18.
Bruce Arians did not mince his words following the game and singled out long snapper, Kameron Canaday, by saying, “Grow the hell up.” Arians went on to say, “It has nothing to do with anything but what’s between his ears.” According to cbssports.com writer, Sean Wagner-McGough, Arians took further action and cut Canaday from the team in light of his unreliability as a long snapper — after he botched two snaps in team’s first three contests.
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What the Cardinals did well:
As silly as it may sound, the Cardinals defense still performed reasonably well, they just were not able to take the ball away enough to offset the offense’s turnovers and poor play. Along with giving up a measly 89 yards passing, Pro Football Focus graded five players from the Cardinals defense in the 80’s.
Patrick Peterson made a one-handed interception that will be showcased on highlight reels forever. The play even landed him on the top of NFL.com’s top ten plays list for the week.
Players of the game:
- David Johnson
- Patrick Peterson
- Chandler Catanzaro
What the Cardinals did poorly:
To say the Cardinals started slowly again this week, would be a drastic understatement of the obvious. Arizona’s offense went three and out on their first five possessions. The Cardinals also gave up 208 yards rushing to a team that had struggled to move the ball in any capacity the two previous weeks.
Tyrann Mathieu just cannot get the handle on an easy scoop and score opportunity that could have brought the Cardinals back within striking distance. Kyle Odegard of azcardinals.com said it best and breaks it down rather nicely in the linked article.
Who needs to step it up next week?
Carson Palmer has been much too inaccurate the last two weeks. Citing his poor throws, Palmer took the blame in his postgame press conference.
The Cardinals’ offense better figure things out quickly; just because Palmer admitted fault does not let him off the hook nor excuse the performance. Throwing four interceptions on the team’s final four possessions of the game is bad enough but three came inside Buffalo’s 30-yard line.
Wrap it up
Arians has shown that poor play can immediately open the door for a one-way ticket to his doghouse. Canaday was not the only player that deserved to be put on notice; perhaps he was the easiest one to make an example of. Whatever the reason, the Cardinals must perform better or suffer the consequences. One thing is for certain, they need to get off to a faster start.
Even after the loss, Tony Jefferson is growing into another valuable asset for this already star-studded defense. The 24-year-old safety registered another sack and forced a fumble all while amassing nine more tackles — raising his season total to 30. Jefferson and most of the young, talented defense should not be in Arians’ doghouse, however, he would most assuredly relish more consistency, especially when it comes to stopping the run.
The Cardinals squandered a perfect opportunity to remain atop an inconsistent NFC West division that now has the Super Bowl hopefuls sitting at the bottom. As early as it may be in the season, losses like the one suffered in Buffalo will come back to haunt them as the season progresses.
The Cardinals play yet another game at home as they play host to the Los Angeles Rams in what has suddenly become a must-win NFC West battle. The game can be caught on FOX this Sunday, October 2nd, at 3:25 p.m. Central Time (1:25 p.m. MST).
Justin Ekstrom can be followed on Twitter @cribby21 and is grateful for this opportunity to cover the Cardinals. Be sure to follow the cover32’s coverage of this fine RED SEAson on facebook and Twitter.