Cardinals Vs. Bengals: 5 Negatives From The 23-16 Loss

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Cardinals 23-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

In a battle between two teams trying to vie for a shot at the playoffs, the Arizona Cardinals came up shorthanded against the Bengals on Christmas Eve, despite a ferocious fourth quarter comeback attempt. The Cards' offense looked flat throughout the first 45 minutes of the game and by the time the fourth quarter came around, it was just too late.

Even though the scoreboard reflects a close game, this one had a plethora of miscues and mistakes in it. Let's take a look at five of them after the jump.

Acrobat Of The Year:

For those of you that watched the game, you probably saw Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson do a complete somersault over Daryl Washington, landing flat on his feet in the end zone. If you somehow haven't seen it, go ahead and click here. The Cardinals will finally get a chance to be featured in some highlight videos this week, but unfortunately, it will be for the wrong reason.

Simpson should have been stopped well before the goal line and since he wasn't, the Cardinals will get the chance to see the flip played on national TV about a million times over the next week.

Field Position:

It is no wonder to how the Cardinals got off to such a slow start. According to SB Nation Arizona, the Bengals were able to put 13 points on the board by starting four possessions already in Arizona's territory. They scored another seven points when they started on their own 42 yard line in the second quarter.

Through the first three quarters, the Cardinals offense was rendered incapable of crossing the 50-yard line. That is pretty much the stat that tells the whole story.

John Skelton:

Skelton put on a wretched quarterback display through the first three quarters of Saturday's game. Not only could he not move the offense down the field due to his inaccurate passes and poorly timed throws, but he also gave the ball away three times via interceptions. His stat line to finish the day doesn't look too bad, but believe me when I say, he was pretty awful. He did play well in the final period, but as aforementioned, it was too little, too late.

Skelton even acknowledged his poor play after the game via Twitter:

I was pathetic today. 3 ints, missed hot throws, bad balls. Never gonna win playing like that.
Dec 24 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply

Keep your head up, John.

Injuries:

The Cardinals sustained numerous injuries throughout the day, but luckily for them, most of the players were able to return to the game. They had two scares in the first half when Paris Lenon went down with an injury and soon after Kerry Rhodes left the game temporarily after spraining his ankle. The Rhodes injury was thought to have been much more severe, as he was grabbing the same foot that he had just broken a few short weeks ago.

The big injury of the day came in the second half when Patrick Peterson was forced to leave the game after straining his Achilles tendon. Darren Urban from azcardinals.com points out that Peterson likely won't be seeing the field for the season finale against the Seahawks next week. The good news is that it will not require surgery and should heal up with a couple of weeks of rehab.

Playoff Elimination:

With their loss to Cincinnati, the Cardinals have officially been eliminated from any chance at reaching the postseason. After starting the 2011 season 1-6, the Cardinals battled back to a respectable 7-7 record with hopes of possibly sneaking into the playoffs by grabbing a wildcard spot.

Arizona will finish up their season back at University of Phoenix stadium next week against the Seattle Seahawks.

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