Another week, another home loss for the beleaguered Arizona Cardinals. Very little can be said that is of positive note, for the second straight week, when talking about the game versus the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals have now lost the same amount of games as they did in all of 2015, two of which were in the confines of University of Phoenix Stadium.
For the fourth straight week, the offense struggled mightily from the beginning and failed to score points in the first quarter. If the ineffectiveness of the offense is not enough for the nay saying to start, Carson Palmer ended up leaving the game due to the NFL’s concussion protocol.
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What the Cardinals did well:
The easy answer would be nothing, they did nothing well; however, their defense continues to tackle ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. The Cardinals’ defense added seven more tackles for a loss to make it 17 on the year. Tony Jefferson is truly becoming one of the better run stuffing defenders in the league.
To the delight of fantasy football players everywhere, John Brown finally had himself a game by hauling in 10 receptions for 144 yards. Getting Brown involved in the passing game is a key to the Cardinals success, however not much else went well in the passing game on Sunday.
With 24 second left in the first half, Palmer throws an absolute dart to Michael Floyd for a game squaring touchdown. The touchdown capped off an eight-play, 80-yard drive that only took one minute and 24 seconds.
Players of the game:
- John Brown
- Chandler Jones
- Tony Jefferson
What the Cardinals did poorly:
Once again, the Cardinals failed to score in the first quarter. The reason for the slow starts in every game thus far is hard to pinpoint; however, the quest would begin at Palmer’s inaccuracies.
The Cardinals’ defense uncharacteristically is out of place early in the game. First time was on Brian Quick’s first touchdown as Tony Jefferson over pursued and missed the tackle. The second play was on a third down and 12 when Kenny Britt was wide open for a big gain and a first down.
Who needs to step it up next week?
Since the Cardinals play on Thursday this week, they will most likely be without Palmer, meaning Drew Stanton will have to step up. Stanton left plenty to be desired in his failed comeback attempt by throwing two interceptions and missing wide open reads.
The offensive line needs to be more consistent as well. If Stanton or even Palmer for that matter is going to get anything done offensively, they need to be better protected.
The Cardinals are running out of time to right the quickly sinking ship that seemingly was destined for a Super Bowl appearance. The defense is still playing at a high level but they ultimately cannot make enough plays to offset the atrocity that is the offense.
This could be a chance for Stanton to prove himself this Thursday. If he does well, Palmer will still be the guy when he returns but it would give the fanbase something to clamour about. Palmer’s inconsistent and errant throws are beginning to be a major issue.
Wrap it up
Many thought, at worst, the Cardinals would have only one loss at this point of the season. The easily winnable loss to the Patriots in the opener is magnified now that they have dropped two more in a row.
The Palmer injury could make getting back into the season even tougher as Stanton showed at least two reasons for fans to be nervous on Sunday. The game was easily within reach when Stanton took over, but he then proceeded to throw two interceptions, one of which resulted from a bad read.
The season could become much brighter with a decent performance against the reeling 49ers next week. On the darker more cynical side though, the season could get even uglier with another loss.
The Cardinals travel to Santa Clara, California to take on the 49ers in Levi’s Stadium on Thursday Night Football. The game can be watched on NFL Network at 5:25 p.m., Pacific Time.
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.