The Arizona Cardinals offense was extremely explosive in 2008 but they were anything but in Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. They failed to produce any productive drives until the third quarter and that was it, the rest of the game was filled with mistake after mistake. Even though they had struggles on offense, the defense was able to keep San Francisco at bay allowing just 2 touchdowns and 2 field goals, despite not getting any help from the offense. For the Cardinals, they have got to hope that their ugliness on offense is just rust and that they will show up to play next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- The Defense: This unit was so good that it was tough to really name just one player that got the job done. As a whole the unit got four sacks and kept pressure on Shaun Hill the whole game. They also only allowed 21 total rushing yards on 25 carries. They had their rough moments though as Bryant McFadden allowed Isaac Bruce to run past him and make a 50 yard catch. They also allowed two touch downs to Frank Gore, one rushing and one passing, but for the most part they were dominate and gave the offense tons of chances to win this game.
- Tim Hightower: He was just one of a few players to actually perform well on offense. Even though he had a tough day rushing the ball he did come out and get 12 catches for over 121 yards.This was notable as the Cardinals haven't had a running back receiver over 100 yards since Larry Centers did it in 1996 against the Colts. He also had some nice blocks in the passing game.
- Larry Fitzgerald: Just like in the Super Bowl he was kept under control during the first half but they were not able to hold him down the whole game. After the second half started Fitz finally started getting his chances and caught five passes for 61 yards. For the whole game he had six catches for 71 yards. Those aren't spectacular numbers but considering how Kurt Warner was playing, those numbers are good.
- Kurt Warner: Warner saved himself from being on the ugly list for his second half but not by much. The guy that everyone saw in the preseason and worried about was the guy that showed up today. The whole game was just bad decision after bad decision. He was either overthrowing the receiver, too far in front of them, or too far behind them. To top it all off Warner also had a delay of game penalty at home, something that should never happen for the home team at home.That was the story for much of the first half, then he came out for the second half and looked much better. He was more accurate and probably would have made more plays if the pocket would have held up a little longer and receivers weren't dropping passes. For now though, this has got to be an area of concern for Cardinals fans as Warner has got to be the Warner we all saw in 2008 if they want to have success.
- The Running Game: This would be under the ugly section if it was not for Chris Wells. Beanie carried the ball seven time gaining 29 yards, not bad for his first regular season game against a physical defense. The only mistake he made was running the wrong route forcing Warner to run with the ball that caused them to lose five yards. The reason why the running game was not very good, Tim Hightower. As good as he was in the pass game he was just awful in the run game, Gaining just 15 yards on 8 carries. This could have been because protection was that bad but he did dance a little too much, that could have also been because there was really no where to run. If this team wants to have that playoff success they had last year they are going to have to be able to run the ball, something they did not do in Sunday's loss.
- The Offensive Line: This unit might have cost the Cardinals the game as Warner was getting hit on just about every play and the running game had no holes to run through. This came against a team in the 49ers that have no real pass rushing threat, which makes you wonder how they'll hold up against a real pass rush. One player that deserves to get pointed out the most from this bunch is Levi Brown. The first round pick from three years ago is looking like a complete bust. Seemed like every play he was getting beat badly by Parys Haralson. If this unit continues to produce like this than the Cardinals will get no where this season.
- Penalties: This seems like something that has plagued the Cardinals for the past several seasons, and it doesn't seem like it's not going away any time soon. They had 12 penalties for 82 yards. They all seemed to come on key drives that could have helped us score, especially in the fourth quarter. Most of these came on offense but special teams and defense had their fare share of them as well. If I was Coach Ken Whisenhunt, I would make this team practice two-a-days until they get it into their heads that this sloppy, undisciplined style of play is unacceptable.
Obviously the Cardinals got off to a horrible start to the season and to make matter worse, this poor performance came against a division opponent while we were playing at home. You can bet that Ken Whisenhunt and each and every player will be saying all of the right things after such a disappointing start, but what does this mean in the long term? Is this really the 2009 Cardinals or just a team that's still trying to shake the rust off after a poor preseason?