As I entered University of Phoenix Stadium this past Sunday, the view of the opened roof renewed my sense of enjoyment for NFL football games. After all, I had never been to an Arizona Cardinals game while the sky was exposed. Everything felt right as the Cardinals took the field. Maybe it was the fresh air and sunny rays entering the atmosphere of the stadium. Regardless of what it was, my hope that the Cardinals could pull off the victory increased.
After taking a six-nothing lead in the first quarter, I found myself pondering that a defensive battle was on the horizon. The rushing game was taking off and the St. Louis Rams were denied on their first attempt to move the ball down the field. As most of the Cardinals games have gone this season, it didn't take long for the opponent to find the scoreboard. It also wasn't long before Derek Anderson reached the detrimental depths of Cardinals fan's anger. That would only be the beginning.
Something that became alarmingly evident on Sunday was the effort put forth by the Cardinals offense. After taking an early lead, the offense was never able to deliver another score. Maybe it was the play-calling, or maybe it was something else. For whatever reason, drive after drive stalled out.
Luckily my frustration was drowned out by the overpriced beer sold at the game. It also helped that I sat with fellow fans that felt my pain and anger. Screams and shouts fill the stadium after every incomplete pass or stopped run. After Anderson was booed to the sideline, it only took a drive for the angry mob to turn on Max Hall. Luckily, third string rookie John Skelton revived some energy throughout the stadium, by tossing both a 22-yard and 19-yard pass on the same drive in the fourth quarter. Still, it wasn't enough to motivate the rest of the offense. The Rams would later milk the time remaining on the clock and celebrate their 13-point victory.
Now I'm left with curiosity on how the remainder of the season will play out. With four games left, the Cardinals will split them between the road and home. They face a struggling Denver Broncos team next week, followed by the struggling Panthers, Cowboys, and 49ers again. Although all four of their opponents are not the strength of the league, I see only one win in that span -- you name it against who.
With a roof wide open, it's a shame the Cardinals couldn't take advantage of the perfect day. Although this team I've grown to love has lost seven straight games, I still hold confidence that they'll learn from this mess. It's no easy task supporting the Cardinals in 2010. That's something I've learned the last three months. Unfortunately that's called parity, and it's something we've been witnesses of this season.