Arizona Cardinals run defense gets embarrassed yet again in Week 16

The Arizona Cardinals rushing defense, and their defense as a whole, have been among the NFL’s weakest. But on Sunday against the Bears, they were dreadful.

Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears
Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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It’s one thing to allow the San Francisco 49ers offense to make your defense look like one of the worst in the league. There are few teams that have handled them well this season. But it’s another thing entirely when the Chicago Bears of all teams move the ball easily on your defense, and the Arizona Cardinals let it happen on Sunday afternoon. 

The Redbirds allowed Khalil Herbert, barely a household name let alone a featured back, run for 112 yards on 20 attempts and a touchdown, good for 5.6 yards per carry. We also knew quarterback Justin Fields could run, but the Cardinals defense must have missed the memo, as they allowed him to scramble for 97 yards on nine attempts, which equates to around 10.8 yards per carry. 

In total, the Cards allowed 250 rushing yards on 39 attempts, two touchdowns, and a whopping 6.4 yards per carry. Seriously, it’s not even a stretch when I say the Bears probably could have gone without passing the ball here, and had they run exclusively against the Cardinals, the 27-16 final still would have held. 

Arizona Cardinals need to fill a lot of holes heading into 2024

We know the offensive line has seen its issues this season, and the receiving corps again refused to show. But wow, after the last few weeks, you can argue that stopping the run may have risen to Priority No. 1 for the 2024 offseason, and if it’s not there, it’s definitely high on the list. 

Thankfully for the Arizona Cardinals, the offseason begins in just two weeks, so we won’t need to be going through the weekly exercise of talking about how poorly this team has been playing much longer. Instead, we can start building optimism, so let the free agency and draft talk begin sooner than later. But before that, we will still need to talk about the final two games of the year, with a big outing against none other than the Philadelphia Eagles on the slate next. 

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(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)