Cardinals Allow Chargers to Have Field Day
By Scott Allen
Well, the Arizona Cardinals played the type of game I feared, but hoped, they would not play. The San Diego Chargers took advantage of an offense that is struggling to find its identity and a defense that plays flat and uninspired in defeating the Cards 41-10 on Sunday in San Diego.
My game day preview predicted a much closer game, however in my keys to the game, with the failure to meet those keys, provided the kind of result that didn't surprise me at all. From the get go, the Cardinals allowed mistakes to haunt them and one mistake led to another and eventually had the Cards throwing in the towel early on this one. It was a laugher by halftime when the Chargers led 28-7.
Derek Anderson was ineffective. So much so he was replaced before halftime by undrafted rookie Max Hall. After Anderson's second interception, coach Ken Whisenhunt had apparently seen enough. It was not a move that was unexpected given the circumstances.
Hall didn't play that bad. He certainly didn't turn the ball over. However the Cards couldn't really move the offense no matter who was behind center. The Chargers had nine sacks, four by Shaun Phillips, who also returned one of Anderson's interceptions for a touchdown. The other interception was by former University of Arizona standout Antonie Cason.
The Cards moved the ball well on their first drive of the game, which appeared to initially culminate in a 22 yard touchdown run by Tim Hightower. A holding penalty by Reagan Maui'a turned that away and on the next play, Cason picked Anderson off. It was another case of one mistake creating another. It was game over already. With the Chargers offense, especially the way running back Mike Tolbert ran and the way quarterback Phillip Rivers connected with tight end Antonio Gates, there would be no stopping them.
There's no telling how the Cards will react this upcoming week in practice and next week at home against the New Orleans Saints. Even with the poor performance though, the Cards are still in a tie for first place in the division at 2-2. It is little consolation though to the Cards who for the second time in the past three weeks, appeared to be playing a team way out of their league. Now its up to the Cards players to decide if they want to continue to play in this league or not.