Monday, October 31, 2016

Another Missed Opportunity

Arizona lost to Carolina 30-20. It wasn't that close. Carolina was up 24-0, and then 30-7 before the Cardinals decided to stop playing like shit (or the Panthers stopped caring). Carson Palmer threw for 363 yards, most of them after the game was out of reach. He also handed the Panthers their first points by fumbling to Thomas Davis, who ran it back 46 yards for the score. He also threw a pick to seal the loss late.

But it's not all on Palmer. The o-line let him get sacked 8 times, and utterly failed to open any holes for David Johnson (in the limited chances there were to run before the game got out of hand). Johnson gained a grand total of 24 yards on the ground on 10 carries. The defense, which mostly throttled Seattle last week*, gave up over 140 yards on the ground. Cam Newton had an unspectacular game, about 210 yards, no TDs, barely completed 50% of his passes, but with the Cards offense doing nothing much of the game, he didn't need to.

So once again the Cardinals had a chance to make a statement, and once again they blew it. They could have trounced Buffalo and probably got Rex Ryan fired. Instead they got their asses handed to them. They could have beat Seattle, offering at least some token opposition to the Seahawks for the division title. Instead their special teams bumbled them into a tie. They could have put a knife in the heart of Carolina's season, in some small way avenging the ass-whupping they received in the NFC Championship last seasons. Instead they let the Panthers dole out another beating. I don't know what's up with this team. Injured, old, starting to tune Arians out in Year 4, unlucky, stupid, I don't know. Regardless, they look more like the Cardinals I was used to seeing the first 20 years I watched them.

And that's not a happy thought. 

* Though considering the Seahawks barely broke 20 points against the fucking Saints, that may not be saying much.


Monday, October 24, 2016

A Tie? Really? Wow, OK

When I saw headlines online about Bruce Arians being pissed about some no-call on a field goal, I figured Arizona lost a close game. I didn't envision Arizona and Seattle tied, and certainly not tied 6-6.

6-6, cripes.

Arizona's defense certainly came to play. Seattle only ran for 52 yards, and Russell Wilson threw for about 200, after removing sack yardage. Seattle also had 90 yards in penalties.

Carson Palmer threw for 342 yards, though it took him 49 attempts, and he was sacked 4 times. David Johnson ran for 113 yards, though it took him 33 carries, plus another 58 yards on 8 catches. Arizona dominated time of possession, for all the good it did them. Catanzaro missed two field goals, including a 24-yarder in overtime. And Arizona had a punt blocked. Fortunately, Seattle couldn't move the ball off that special teams gift, and then Hauschka shanked a kick as well.

I'm not sure the Cardinals have ever had good special teams. They've had individuals with good seasons, like Patrick Peterson's 2011 returning punts, or multiple punters ( must have been all the practice they were getting), but they never seem to be strong all around. Their kick coverage is shit, or they can't do anything in the return game themselves. You'd think they'd stumble into some good results on those areas once in awhile, and they probably have, but it sure doesn't feel that way.

Anyway, 3-3-1. Could be worse.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Nice Win Before The Big Showdown

Arizona trounced the hapless Jets 28-3. I feel bad for Todd Bowles, that he's stuck in a situation where Ryan Fitzpatrick is his best choice at QB. I said this when Fitzpatrick was with the Titans, he's good enough to get you close to win, but bad enough to fuck up and cost you the game. This season, he's only been the latter, not the former.

Anyway, Palmer was an economical 21 of 34, 213 yards and 1 TD. He left late in the game with some hip thing, but hopefully it's nothing serious. David Johnson had another excellent game, 3 TDs and 111 yards on the ground. Admittedly, 58 of those yards came on one rush, took 21 carries for the other 53 yards, which is, not great, but I appreciate the commitment to trying to run. Plus Andre Ellington, JJ Nelson, and Stefan Taylor combined for 62 yards on 9 carries, which is nice. I'd like to think Arians saw Palmer was getting pummeled and decided to go with shorter passes and more running, but who knows.

So Arizona is back to .500, but now come the Seahawks. They narrowly staved off the Falcons this week, but at least they beat a good team. Arizona hasn't had any success on that score so far this season. Blowing out crappy teams? Sure, they do that real well. But the good teams (plus the Rams) are handling them. Still, they've managed to split the season series with Seattle when they have Palmer, so there's hope.


Sunday, October 09, 2016

At Least They Aren't In The Cellar

Arizona beat the 49ers 33-21 on Thursday night. Stanton only completed 11 of 28 passes for 124 yards, which is not encouraging. And 81 of those yards (and both TDs) were to Fitzgerald. Either the Niners have a great secondary which shut down the other receivers, or Stanton just can't get the ball to any of them. On the good news side, David Johnson ran for 157 yards. On the bad news side, Carlos Hyde and Blaine Gabbert ran for over 140 yards against their defense. I don't know what's wrong with their rush defense, unless they're just too small up front to avoid getting steamrolled. Well, they have a week and a half to figure it out

As an aside, I'm enjoying David Johnson's successful season. He's averaging almost 100 yards rushing a game. I know the running game is passe in the NFL now, but on a basic level it'd be nice to see Arizona have a real, productive running back for a whole season. Edgerrin James is the only Cardinals' running back I've seen go for over 1100 yards in one season. And he was usually averaging 3.5 yards a carry, which is awful. Of course, I was pretty excited about the same possibility with Andre Ellington last year, and now he's an afterthought. And there was Beanie Wells before him, Tim Hightower before that. Marcel Shipp, Thomas Jones, Michael Pittman, Garrison Hearst, and those are just the guys the Cardinals drafted. It doesn't even get into the Adrian Murrells and such.


Monday, October 03, 2016

Mildly Disappointing

The Arizona Cardinals are 1-3, after losing to the St. Louis Rams 17-13. Which makes Arizona 1-2 at home so far this season. Carson Palmer was knocked out by taking enough hits to the head they put him into concussion protocol. Meanwhile, the defense was giving way at the worst moment, giving the lead back to the Rams. Then Drew Stanton came in and promptly threw an INT. Which was pretty funny, since the announcers were blathering on about how poor Stanton never seemed to be wanted by any of the teams that picked him up, and right as they're bemoaning his eternal bridesmaid fate, he kills any chance they had of winning.

The loss isn't necessarily a surprise. The Cardinals are out of sync, and Palmer got his ass beat by the Bills last week. Now he was facing the Rams and their pass rush, so him being pummeled was an unfortunately likely end result. Oh well, maybe the Cardinals are trying to wait until late in the season to hit their stride, like the Seahawks do sometimes.

On the baseball side of the ledger, the St. Louis Cardinals won their final four games, but did not make the playoffs, because the Giants finally got their act together. How much of san Francisco's success was them as opposed to the Dodgers not giving a shit I couldn't say. It's not as though the Cards didn't have every opportunity the last two months to seize one of the two wild cards. The Giants played like shit after the All-Star Break, but the Cardinals couldn't do better than stumbling along at slightly better than .500. Too many games against the Braves and Reds they let get away.

Hard to say what the offseason will bring. They're declining Holliday's option, though I'm not convinced they won't try to bring him back on a cheaper deal. I'm not sure if they'll make a qualifying offer to Moss, or if he'll accept if they do. He's been in a slump for the last month, probably cost himself millions. Will they pick up Garcia's option, what do they do with Wacha, or Rosenthal? Can they ship Peralta out for anything (as part of a package deal), do they even want to.

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