What a frustrating day to be an Arizona Cardinals fan. That is a gross understatement. With as well as the Cards defense played in a 23-19 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the offense was pathetic. The only bright spot of the offense was running back LaRod Stephens-Howling. He had 22 carries for 127 yards. He got most of that on two runs of 40 yards and 52 yards. The story today was the Cards defense intercepting Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan five times and creating another fumble, but only coming away with 19 points on Sunday. Part of the reason? The play of the Cards offensive line and quarterback.
With Cards quarterback John Skelton sputtering out of the gate, going 2-7 for four yards, Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt made the decision to pull him and insert rookie Ryan Lindley. Lindley had a couple of nice deep throws that could have been caught, however otherwise, not a good start for him, going 9-20 for 64 yards. It was ugly.
Ryan was intercepted three times in the first quarter alone and it looked like the Cards would be running away with this one early after jumping out to a 13-0 lead. It was clear early on the Cards wanted to establish the running game. It worked for a bit, but it also got Skelton away from getting his throws. When he got his chance, he was off the mark. He was way off the mark. Thus, the reason according to Whiz for the change.
You really couldn’t have asked the Cards defense to play much better. Sure, they gave up 23 points, but the Cards offense left the Falcons in good field position at times. The defense also looked to tire towards the end of the game. That’s what happens when the offense can’t sustain drives.
There were dumb penalties to on special teams. That surely didn’t help in the field position game. Cards running back William Powell did have a nice 65-yard kickoff return that put the Cards in position for one of the four Jay Feely field goals.
Today though it all came down to the incompetence on offense, both from players and coaches with very questionable play calling. They are a dysfunctional bunch running the offensive show. From the poor offensive line to the depressing situation at quarterback, the Cards won’t win a single game the rest of the season if today proved anything. LSH ran hard, Feely his his field goals, but clearly today proved it’s a quarterback driven league and with the lack of one in Arizona and even with five interceptions, Ryan was able to lead the Falcons to the victory with 301 yards passing.
Changes need to be made on the field, just as Whiz said the other day. However now the coaches should look themselves in the mirror too. Let’s start making some changes on the sidelines and not just between them.