Monday, November 28, 2016

Delusion Is Back In Style

Arizona's season has reached the point where I'm kidding myself with the rationales I come up with to explain how they might win. Against Atlanta, I convinced myself the Cardinals could control the clock against the Falcons' less-than-spectacular defense, giving their own defense enough of a breather to blunt the Falcons' offense.

Yeah, not so much. Falcons 38, Arizona 19.

It seems like it ought to have been closer. The Falcons did manage 116 yards on the ground, but it took 30 carries. Both teams had one turnover. Palmer was only sacked twice. And the game was close at halftime. But the Falcons won time of possession by about 9 minutes, they were a little better on 3rd down, and didn't kill themselves with as many penalties as the Cardinals did, and here we are. Not much else to say, really.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Another Opportunity Lost

Once again, Arizona had a chance to deal a serious blow to another team's hopes for the season. And once again, they screwed the pooch, losing to Minnesota 30-24. Minnesota's offense was mostly held in check, not that that's particularly difficult, with Sam Bradford throwing for less the 160 yards and the Vikings rushing for about 80 yards. And the Cardinals ran for over 130 yards themselves.

The problem was everything else. The Vikings led off the second half with a 104 yard kickoff return for a TD. Carson Palmer was beaten to a pulp behind a rapidly disintegrating offensive line, threw for fewer than 200 yard (and closer to 150 once you remove the yardage lost on sacks), and two INTs. Including one at the goal line that was returned 100 yards for another TD.

No wonder Bruce Arians was hospitalized for chest pains. I joke, hopefully he's doing OK, though I would imagine this season's string of screw-ups would take its toll. Especially after how successful the team has been his first three seasons.

It's funny, though, how frustrating this has been to watch. Because really, this is what watching them was like for the first 20 years. A team I could convince myself should be better, but that constantly lost games I felt they should win, usually because of stupid mistakes. The 2004 team that I could tell myself would have been 8-8 if they only hadn't lost twice to the 2-14 Niners, and who knows what could have happened if Denny Green didn't start John Navarre against Detroit in that one game? The ravings of a madman to be sure, but that was life. Strange how quickly I got used to Arizona winning close games and playing competently, to the point I almost forgot that wasn't the norm for the franchise.

Well, there's still time for them to reverse the slide into entropy.


Monday, November 14, 2016

We're Back To Being Grateful For Narrow Wins

Arizona beat the suckass 49ers, 23-20, on a last second field goal by Catanzaro. The Cardinals probably would have won handily if Carson Palmer didn't turn the ball over three goddamn times. Tends to neutralize the nearly 400 yards of passing.

The defense mostly held the 49ers in check until a drive late in the 4th quarter tied the game.  The Niners held by getting flagged for 9 penalties, while Arizona was only called for two. At least that's something the Cardinals are doing well. They didn't run the ball terribly well, and there were the aforementioned turnovers. But whatever, they're at least back up to .500 and in second place in the NFC West. Given the sorry state of the conference this year, they at least have a shot at the playoffs. The Seahawks and Cowboys are good, which is about the worst possible combo from my perspective, and everyone else is a mess. The Falcons and Saints can't stop anyone, and possibly neither can Green Bay. Minnesota is falling apart. The Cardinals are mediocre. The Rams can't score. There's no way I'm trusting the Lions, Redskins, or Giants to have their shit together. Philly? Tampa Bay? Please.