Sep 8, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chargers 18-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cold Streak: QB Pressure (1)
Despite their ability to chase the running back with the football, the same can not be said for chasing the quarterback with the football. Arizona failed to sack Phillip Rivers once. The defensive line generally did not have much success in opening lanes for blitzing linebackers, and no doubt that hurt the Cardinals and made the game as close as it was.
It didn’t help that John Abraham, the current leader in sacks among active players, left the game with a concussion and is contemplating retirement. He is the one player who consistently gets good QB pressure, and whether he hangs up his cleats for a week or forever, his contribution will be sorely missed by a team that needs pass rush help.
It wouldn’t be such a significant point of concern if it wasn’t Phillip Rivers, a pocket passer who is more of a prototypical QB than the modern, dual threat kind that are growing in the league. The Cardinals may have gotten away with not putting Rivers under too much pressure, but that all goes out the window with guys like Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. The other troubling thing is that Todd Bowles kept sending blitz packages that kept having little to no results. It isn’t shocking news that Bowles runs an aggressive defense, but some pragmatism and adaptability would’ve been a good sign.
To be fair, the pressure on the final drive for San Diego did seem to make Phillip Rivers decide too quickly, but the Cardinals will need more than that to keep winning in the coming week