The biggest game of the year for the Arizona Cardinals seemed like a groundhog day effect.
The game started out tremendously with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray hitting the most wide-open Dan Arnold and he turned on his UW-Platteville speed and took it to the house. The next drive, the Cardinals turned the Los Angeles Rams over on downs after head coach Sean McVay opted to go for it after pulling his field goal unit off the field.
Other than tight end Dan Arnold today, this game was more than the same. The bad luck in the black alternate uniforms continued, and the Cardinals looked lifeless in the most important game of the year. This has been an absolute heartbreaker. There are so many close calls that have not gone their way. We already know what they are, no need to pull off that scab.
What doesn’t make sense is what happened to the offense. Leading the league in offense was fun and all, but they would trade it to win 3 more games.
Why have the Cardinals stopped rolling out Murray? What happened to getting creative and ensuring that Deandre Hopkins gets the ball in the first quarter? Why is Murray afraid to run around now, even after saying his shoulder is fine?
The offense has shifted to only score through Kenyan Drake, the master of 1 yard touchdowns. Hopkins is double covered, and no other receiver can catch a pass when it matters to save their job.
After that drive where Murray was stripped, we can see that it’s patchwork and things need to change. Josh Jones not getting significant playing time makes one wonder.
On the defensive side, we don’t deserve them. They go up and make many plays to set up the offense, only to see most of their efforts wasted and they’re back on the field within moments of making big stops. The up-tempo nature and reliance upon passing the ball just doesn’t work when incompletions are non-stop.
As for special teams, the only notable things they’ve done was a blocked punt in week one and then the game winner against Seattle on Sunday Night Football. Zane Gonzalez continues to be inoperable when it really matters. The last time the Cardinals had somewhat good special teams was back in the Ken Whisenhunt era!
Now, all is not lost. There are NFC east opponents left on the schedule (Eagles, Giants). The Vikings play Tampa Bay next week. However there are no guarantees, especially after New York went into Seattle and limited them to 7 points offensively.
Arizona’s losses have almost been inexplicable, besides Carolina and possibly today’s game. The Cardinals are extremely close to hitting the panic button here as this season is getting out of control fast. It’s up to Kliff to save it.