The Morning After: Meaningless End for the Arizona Cardinals
By Erich Becker
While it showed the nation the Arizona Cardinals can be beat, it wasn’t anything from the start
The Cardinals didn’t want to play football on Sunday. Call it lack of motivation, call it lack of drive, call it being tired, cockiness, obselecence, call it whatever you want, but the game, itself was meaningless as soon as Carolina started to pull away from Tampa Bay. By that time the Seahawks had pulled away from the Cardinals and there wasn’t much left to play for except pride.
Sure, the Cardinals pride was bruised yesterday, but maybe that’s what they needed heading into the bye week and the playoffs. Even with the 2008 team, of which the 2015 team is much better, you need one bad loss as part of your season. The Cardinals got shelled that year against New England in the snow, this year the Cardinals lost to the Seahawks. It hurts that it was at home, ending a winning streak and stopping the chance to finish 14-2, but, as I left the game yesterday, I thought about it.
They needed this.
You can’t have the media, the fans, the news stations, everyone, talking about you like they have been without a little bit of it seeping in and going to your head. The Arizona Cardinals needed to be knocked down a peg to right themselves at the right time. There are only 11 games left in the entire football season and the Cardinals have the potential to play in three of them, with one being Super Bowl 50.
We know who they’ll have a chance to play, two teams they beat over the last four weeks, and another that isn’t the best team in the league by any means. But the Redskins may mirror the 2008 Cardinals in some way, coming into the playoffs in a bad division and running with it. Stranger things have happened.
Still, the game itself was just watching a boring team on a boring Sunday when there was nothing to play for, and you could tell. Drops, bad passes, bad picks, bad decisions, no effort, bad coverage. It was an all around, bad game. Earlier in the season, the Cardinals found a way to win some of these games, and lose others.
The biggest red flag was the inability to play defense. While the offense has had struggles here and there, after the dominating performance last week, and Seattle’s interesting game against a tough St. Louis defense, you expected the Cardinals to match up. They didn’t. Then watching the Sunday Night Game you saw the Vikings breaking through the Green Bay line and thought, “Okay, maybe anyone can do it” but they didn’t get to Rodgers eight times like the Cardinals did, so then you think, “Huh”.
Overall, I’m not stressing too much, do I want to play Seattle again? No, and the Vikings victory assures the Cardinals that they wouldn’t face Seattle again until the NFC Championship Game (in Arizona) if both teams win out, so there’s that. I will be watching the games this weekend with more interest than normal as I can’t wait to see who the Cardinals will play next.