Nine Observations About the Cardinals-Ravens Game
1) Did Coach Whisenhunt read my post last week about the lack of trick plays this year? It didn’t work, but it was refreshing to see a flea flicker play called.
2) The first half was great to watch. Save for a few runs by Ray Rice (where the Cardinal defenders missed tackles and were pushed around by the Ravens offensive line), the Cardinals defense played with an intensity that I have not seen all year. The defensive line and linebackers put constant pressure on Joe Flacco, and the secondary covered the Ravens receivers well. Unfortunately, football consists of two halves, and we all know what happened in the second half.
3 Kevin Kolb again looked very shaky in the pocket. But there were flashes of brilliance that still makes me think he can be the Cardinals quarterback of the future. There were two straight times where he stepped up out of the pocket instead of rolling out to the side–and he completed both of these passes. He also threw a dart to Early Doucet for a touchdown. Don’t give up on him–he has a great arm. The offensive line needs to provide him better protection.
4) Now I know why the Bears fans love Devin Hester. It is wonderful to have a weapon like Patrick Peterson on punt returns, where any kick that’s punted to the Cardinals has the potential to be turned into a touchdown.
5) It’s too bad that Adrian Wilson couldn’t hold on to that pass that Flacco threw directly towards him–he had a clear path to the end zone and a pick six. That might have been the extra blow that would have made it too difficult for the Ravens to come back and win this game.
6) Penalties – 12 for the Cardinals, 11 for the Ravens. It definitely had a big effect on the game, giving the Ravens opportunity after opportunity to score, and giving the Cardinals a few breaks too.
7) I hate when teams call unnecessary time outs. The Cardinals were left with only one time out late in the game, after calling two silly time outs. You have to be able to save your time outs when you really need them — for the end of a half or for a critical third or fourth down play where you want to make sure everyone is on the same page. It actually didn’t matter as the Ravens ran out the clock before scoring the winning field goal. However, it should be pointed out that the good teams do not call time outs on first and second down in the first 28 minutes of a half.
8) The Ravens really capitalized on the Cardinals inability to defend against the hurry-up offense. This is at least the third time a team has effectively carved up the Cardinals defense using a hurry-up strategy. Why can’t the Cardinals defend better against the hurry up? Beats me.
9) Did anybody else wonder what the Cardinals would be like had they resigned Anquan Boldin? He really had a great game. If he would have caught those catches where Cardinal defenders were called for pass interference penalties (they were legit calls), he would have had about 250 yards received. Nice game, Anquan! This Cardinals fan still appreciates your immense talent.