Loss puts Arizona Cardinals in dangerous spot

Arizona Cardinals
21
Seattle Seahawks
28

The Arizona Cardinals had a shot to take over sole possession of first place but instead find themselves a game behind the Seattle Seahawks

Let’s start with the biggest question: Just what was that last night? The Arizona Cardinals had a chance to make Seattle legitimately worry and take control of the NFC West. Instead, mental mistakes and some questionable calls on both sides marred this game from the get-go. Let’s start with Kliff Kingsbury’s offense.

Offense

The first half show was pretty much Kenyan Drake. Although he only finished for 60 yards and a Touchdown, it was great to see him cementing why he is Arizona’s number one running back. Drake logged only his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. Keeping Russell Wilson and company off the field was one of their keys to win the game.  Kingsbury did have to go away from the run throughout the first half, but that’s where it came off the rails.

For the second week in a row,  Kyler Murray and Kingsbury struggled to get the ball to Deandre Hopkins. D-Hop only finished with 5 catches for 51 yards. Maybe the decline in yards was the shoulder tweak that Carlos Dunlap got Murray with in this game.

Against this atrocious Seattle defense, piloted by Ken Norton Jr., the Cardinals made him look like he was Dick LeBeau calling the Pittsburgh Steelers Defense.  For Arizona to have any success going forward, there must be more effort to get Hopkins the football by the means of reverses, double passes, etc.- Just more of an effort to get him involved.

Kliff’s Struggles

Let’s talk about the man of the evening in Kingsbury. This play calling bout on Thursday night was about as whack one could expect. The 3rd and 12 screen (of course, after a penalty) when the Seahawks were getting pressure was not the smartest play to run given the current field position. The Cardinals continued to make terrible penalties, and I lost track of how many false starts there were (just think of many they’ll have when the place is full again!).

Secondly, we all know that QB’s rely on a safety blanket/check-down man to get the ball out when their reads aren’t open. What is Kingsbury doing with WR’s staying put and just waiting for Kyler to give them the ball?

Usually this check-down guy is running a low crossing route, or a hitch route that at least lets the offense get some yards. But to see Fitzgerald, Kirk and others in this game just stand there and then not have a chance to do anything with the ball in their hands is starting to get inexcusable.

The offensive line is a entirely different article. And it should go without saying, that you always go to Fitzgerald or Hopkins with the game on the line. Not Andy Isabella.

Defense

Despite giving up 26 points (the safety belongs to the offense), the Cardinals defense made enough plays to get off the field and give Kyler and crew the chance to go win the game. Isaiah Simmons arguably had the best game of his rookie year- One sack and two huge tackles late in the game to force Seattle to punt.  The rest of the Linebackers struggled to bring down Bo Scarbough and Deejay Dallas.

For the defensive line, they were getting pressure, but not getting sacks. Russell Wilson once again ripped Arizona’s heart out by scrambling and finding busted coverage plays. This unit misses Chandler Jones severely.

The secondary was unfathomably bad last night. Patrick Peterson is definitely on the decline. According to the website Cardswire.com, Peterson said he was open moving to safety, which may end up being better suited for him. Dre Kirkpatrick had one of the dumbest penalties on the NFL season, maybe tied with Javon Wims’ boxing career vs the Saints.

Special Teams

We didn’t get to see too much last night, but most of it went well. Andy Lee flipped the field all night, and Gonzalez made his kicks.  Both did their jobs last night. However, the returning duties are questionable. Why is Christian Kirk not calling for fair catches inside the 20, but doing so at the 40 with no one around him? It’s puzzling to say the least.  There also needs to be more full-speed running on kickoffs from Edmonds.

What’s Next

The Cardinals play New England, and two of the top five picks in the 2011 NFL Draft face-off once again (Cam Newton, Patrick Peterson). Any time you play Belichick, you’re in for a tight game.

Let’s hope this 10 day rest allows the team to recover and bounce back. This team has lost to Detroit and Carolina, so none of these games can be seen as a cakewalk going forward.