3 major takeaways in Arizona Cardinals loss against Washington

The Arizona Cardinals will fly away from the nation’s capital with a loss, and there were quite a few eye-openers in this one.
Arizona Cardinals v Washington Commanders
Arizona Cardinals v Washington Commanders / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Sans James Conner and Zach Ertz, the Arizona Cardinals toiled through a dismal performance offensively, and it ended up being the difference-maker in today’s loss to the Washington Commanders. The defense stifled Washington to just 248 total yards, and just 4 for 12 in third down conversions. 

We knew Commanders quarterback Sam Howell was going to make mistakes, but we didn’t know that the Cards would capitalize on nearly every single one of them. Dennis Gardeck’s strip sack that Cameron Thomas picked up and scored on was the highlight of the game, and it was nearly all the Redbirds needed to win. 

But then Josh Dobbs and most of the Cardinals offense played as though Trace McSorley was still lining up behind (or under) center. And say what you will about Kyler Murray, but there is no denying that the Cards are most likely flying back to the desert with a W if he was good to go this week. 

Dobbs’ inefficiency in running the Cardinals offense was easily the main takeaway, as was “Big Red’s” defensive stand. But there were other major eye-openers as well, starting with the backbone of that defense. 

Dennis Gardeck
Sep 10, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (45) sacks / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

3 takeaways in Arizona Cardinals loss for Week 1

1 - Pass rush shows up!

If the Arizona Cardinals pass rush plays the way they did today, then I feel for every single opposing quarterback they will face this year. Going into the game, I knew they would get to Commanders quarterback Sam Howell, but I never thought they would average nearly eight yards per sack, and six total. 

The Cards showed the Commanders faithful something today: Why Howell was a fifth round draft pick, and that he’s likely destined to be an outstanding career backup and spot starter. 

What was more amazing? Guys like Victor Dimukeje and Jonathan Ledbetter got in on the action, showing us that (so far) the Cards never needed a blue chip EDGE rusher. Can you imagine what this pass rush will look like when BJ Ojulari is up to speed and if Myjai Sanders makes his way back from IR?

“Scary good” is the first phrase that comes to my mind. But they may just need a nickname for the unit if they keep bringing down quarterbacks behind the line.