Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Always Frustrating, Arizona Is

Last night's loss to the 49ers is the kind of thing that makes it hard to trust that these Cardinals aren't like all the crappy Cardinals teams I watched in the past. They have games they should win, and they blow them, and thus they can't be an elite team.

I think that's what bothered me the most about the Titans' loss. They had a chance to make a statement, and they failed. The Titans were on a 5-game winning streak, halfway to fulfilling Chris Johnson's promise that they'd run the table, and Arizona had them - Until they let Vince Young march 99 yards to a game-winning touchdown. Contrast that with what the Colts did the next weekend against the Titans. They took a lead early, and after Nate Washington dropped a sure touchdown pass, took control. They squashed the Titans, as they should, because they're the better team. I'm fully believe they would have done the same to the 49ers had they played them on Monday night.

OK, so the Cardinals aren't in the Colts' league. But still, they're better than the 49ers, or they ought to be, and they didn't show it. The 49ers kicked their asses. The Cardinals had another chance to make a statement, to assert their dominance over the NFC West, and the blew it. Badly. The Cardinals seem to play well when people doubt them, like the game against the Vikings, or in last season's playoffs. When they can't draw on that, because they're favored, they crash. It makes me wonder if I shouldn't root for Green Bay to stomp them the last week of the season, in the hopes it causes people to write them off going into the postseason. They might play with that anger again, and hopefully they'd make it through Round 1. After that, they won't be favored against anyone they're like to play, so they'll still have the "disrespect" card at their disposal.

'Course, they have to take care of business against Detroit and St. Louis, so as to get in the postseason first, for any of that to matter. Maybe I should just be concened with that instead.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Well Shut My Mouth

Arizona made me look pretty stupid, didn't they? Even the part of me that believed they could win* expected a shootout, something akin to the 4th quarter of the Raiders/Steelers game. Favre and Warner marching their teams down the field, trading the lead back and forth, last team with the ball wins.

I suppose the last part of that did come true. Arizona had the ball last, they took a couple of knees, and they won. One thing about that I found interesting was the Vikings had one timeout left at that point, and they didn't call it. Granted, the only purpose it would have served was making Arizona take three knees instead of two, but that's one more chance for something to go your way. It's fine with me that Minnesota opted not to go that way, perhaps deciding it'd be better to just end the game and get out of Dodge, I just thought it was a little unusual.

I just wanted to cop to the fact Arizona really showed me something. At this point in the season, that would have to be their signature win. Hopefully, they've a few more of those planned. Unleashing one on the 49ers next week, wrapping up the division while getting a little payback for the Week 1 loss, would be nice.

* There was a part of me that believed that, there always is, it just isn't always louder than the part that fears they'll lose.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sometimes It's How They Lose That's The Worst

If Arizona had lost to the Titans because Chris Johnson ran them off the field, I wouldn't have been happy, but it would have been tolerable. Chris Johnson's run over pretty much everyone this year, why would the Cardinals be any different? To lose because Vince Young torched you for almost 400 yards? The same Vince Young who threw for less than 150 yards the week before against the Texans? That hurts.

That the game was lost as Young marched the Titans down the field in the last few minutes, after the Cardinals had seemed to have things in their favor, makes it even worse. It's like the Super Bowl all over again. Or any of the other numerous losses I've seen Arizona absorb from allowing last minute touchdown drives spanning the length of the field*.

Now it's the Vikings coming to town, and they don't know whether Warner will be able to play. Swell. I'm not sure he should play, even if he can. While I think Warner can lead the Cardinals to some touchdowns against the Vikes' defense, I don't have much confidence the Arizona D can even slow the Adrian Peterson/Favre/Sidney Rice/Percy Harvin/Visanthe Shiancoe/Whoever the hell else I've forgotten Show. If Arizona falls behind, the Vikes will be free to unleash their rushers on Warner**, and he may get even more battered. Might be better to save him for that 49ers rematch the following week.

* The Mike Martz Rams seemed good for one of these a season, usually the game in Arizona, since they seemed to blow the doors off the Cards when they played in St. Louis.

** I'm making the assumption that for as long as the game stays close, Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower can rush effectively enough to keep Minnesota honest.