Bad ending can’t diminish strides made by the 2021 Cardinals

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) Kliff Kingsbury
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) Kliff Kingsbury /

The disheartening conclusion to the season should not wipe away the strides that were made by the Arizona Cardinals in 2021.

The Arizona Cardinals know more than any organization in the NFL that a squad is only as good as their last performance. Unfortunately, head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s players now have the entire offseason to dwell on the 34-11 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Actually, five out of Arizona’s last six matchups ended in defeat. That’s certainly a disappointing way to finish the campaign, but should all of the good things that the Cards accomplished this past year be completely forgotten?

Kingsbury, in particular, has received a ton of criticism for the Cardinals‘ crash landing. However, a closer look reveals that the young coach guided the team to their highest win total (11) since 2015.

There are many positives to take out of the Arizona Cardinals 2021 campaign

Who can forget what the Redbirds did to the Tennessee Titans on opening day? A fantastic performance on both sides of the ball led to a 38-13 domination of the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

In Week 4, Arizona went on the road and inflicted a 37-20 beatdown on the Los Angeles Rams. The rout marked the first time that the Cards had defeated their division rival since Sean McVay became the head coach of the Rams in 2017.

The Cardinals recorded another impressive triumph away from home two weeks later when they laid a 37-14 thumping on the Cleveland Browns. Quarterback Kyler Murray was credited with four touchdown passes versus the Browns, with wideout DeAndre Hopkins catching two of them.

Smack dab in the middle of Arizona’s season-ending crash was an impressive 25-22 decision over the Dallas Cowboys. Murray and company put a halt on a three-game losing streak with the much-needed victory.

There was also a two-game sweep of the San Francisco 49ers, the suddenly red-hot squad who is now headed to the NFC Championship next Sunday. One of the wins over the Niners took place with Colt McCoy, the Cards’ backup signal-caller, under center.

It’s plain to see that there were a fair amount of positives to take out of the 2021 campaign. Perhaps the analysts should take that into consideration when they’re ripping into Kingsbury and the Cardinals for the late-season collapse.

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