The loss to the Miami Dolphins may have cost the Arizona Cardinals a shot at the playoffs
Just a year after playing in the NFC Championship Game, Arizona is slowly being forced to watch the playoffs on television. The Cardinals defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins put them in a tight spot, the Cardinals organization knew they had to win the remaining regular season games, to even have any hope of making the playoffs. They also needed the probable playoff contenders to lose including: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers.
Despite the Cardinals 26-23 loss, they still have a small opportunity at making the playoffs. Arizona was plagued with self-inflicted mistakes that delivered them another loss. The Cardinals failed to make a field goal, an extra point and allowed a blocked extra point to be returned by the Dolphins for two points.
The Cardinals also coughed up the ball four times, within their first six drives. A penalty by Jeremaine Gresham forced the Cardinals to lose the opportunity to start in Dolphins territory after recovering a Dolphins fumble. Cardinals cornerback also was called for interference which gave the Dolphins the game-winning field goal, set up at the 1-yard line.
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Boneheaded mistakes have been a common occurrence for the Cardinals this entire season. These preventable penalties, fumbles and interceptions have forced the Cardinals to enter the hot-seat and face the possibility of elimination from playoff contention. This loss puts the Cardinals at 5-7-1, forcing Cardinals GM Steve Keim to announce that those who don’t fight to the end will not be on next season’s team.
"“I have a pretty good feel (for what I want to do),” Keim said of his offseason approach, via the team’s official website. “I really do feel like our core talent on offense and on defense is in place. … These last three games are critical for a lot of reasons. I want to identify who loves it. Which guys are passionate about the game. Who are our top competitors? If you’re not going to compete and not play with passion you’re not going to be on this roster in 2017.”"
Injuries also played a factor in potentially losing a spot in the playoffs. The Cardinals lost D.J. Humphries in the first half to a concussion and Tyvon Branch had a groin injury and Tyron Mathieu and Tharold Simon, were forced to sit out as well. The Cardinals were short several key players, they had to make wide receiver Brittan Golden play safety.