When the team took the field on Sunday night, one of the last things you'd expect from the Cardinals was for their offense to struggle, and that's exactly what they did. With 14:20 left in the 2nd quarter, running back Tim Hightower put the football on the ground. Plain and simple. Whenever that happens you can never expect the team to win the game. After that, the score was never close. If the Cardinals want to make any attempt at the playoffs at all this season, they'll need to buckle up and take the drivers seat. Right now they're riding shotgun and don't have control of where they're going. So many things went right for this team last week, and yet it seemed as though so many things went wrong on Sunday. I won't spend this segment looking for the positives, because there were none. Let's do our best to tackle the biggest areas of concern for this offense.
The running game. Or lack thereof should I say. The running game was never a factor in this game from the opening kick off, to the end. After learning the recipe for success in the playoffs last year, you'd think the team would understand...run the football. If you can't run in the NFL, you will never go anywhere, literally. Last week they ran for over 100 yards and dominated their opponent. This week, they ran for a measly 24 yards and not one of those runs earned a first down for the team. Call it what you want, but they had success early running on the ground through two games. They also faced a team that had just given up 200+ yards the week before. Either the team was that discouraged running against the Colts, or they just never game planned for it.
- Zero rushing first downs
- 24 total rushing yards
- 12 attempts, 2.0 average
- 2 Fumbles
Offensive line. This unit, quite possibly had one of their worst games as far as I can remember. Both tackles appeared slow and were beat to the punch time and time again. After a great 2008, Reggie Wells has slowly fell out of the mix after Sunday. The other two interior lineman, Deuce Lutui and Lyle Sendlein, don't appear to be playing at the level of the opposing defensive lines. This unit already couldn't run-block, but the lack of protection for Kurt Warner against the Colts has to be alarming. The expectations for this unit were high heading into the season. They've started next to each other going on three seasons, and we hoped they had built more camaraderie after playing in the super bowl. There's not a lot to evaluate, after they were out matched and out played on Sunday. Russ Grimm won't be a happy camper this week, and will likely look to drive this unit to improve dramatically, or we may see some changes along the line.
- 2 holding penalties
- 4 sacks allowed
- 24 rushing yards produced
Turnovers. The two turnovers in the end zone were perhaps the biggest factors of the game. The first came when the Cardinals were very close to taking a respectable 10-0 lead after Antrel Rolle's pick from Peyton Manning. Instead, Hightower fumbles the ball after a solid hit from an opponents helmet. That alone sucked all the momentum out of the Cardinals as a whole. The next came after a solid looking hurry up offense led by Warner all the way down to the 1 yard line. Instead of trying of the run, which would've been successful, they called a pass, in which Warner was picked off after a bobbled incompletion. Had they scored, the Cardinals would've went into half time with the deficit cut in half, 21-10. The final turnover came after a pass from Warner to Stephen Spach. At that point, the game had long been over. The Cardinals need to become more disciplined with the ball, because this team is not built to win if they lose the turnover battle. Some teams can handle it, the Cardinals cannot.
- 3 turnovers, 2 in red zone
- 2 fumbles, 1 lost
The bye week couldn't have came at a better time(if you ask me). It not only gives the Cardinals time to heal, both physically and mentally, But it also gives them a longer time to prepare and gameplan for the Houston Texans, a win that has become a must-need. What other concerns do you have with the offense thus far? Is there any roster changes or play calling that you'd fix?