With the Arizona Cardinals having won their 2011 regular season debut, we can look back at the game as a success. They beat the Carolina Panthers 28-21 despite a record-breaking performance by rookie and number one pick Cam Newton. There were big plays, there were positives and there were certainly negatives to come out of the game.
We have even posed the question what was the game-breaking play of the game? Now we pose you another question -- what was the biggest bonehead play of the game?
There were a few big mistakes. Here are the ones I nominate:
Jay Feely's missed 36-yard field goal in the second quarter
Feely spoiled us a year ago with his flawless kicking. At this point in the game, the Cardinals had driven down the field only to stall in the red zone after a crucial penalty by Andre Roberts. His field goal attempt looked just horrible. It wasn't a case where he just missed. It was way off line from the start. It completely deflated the team and the defense promptly allowed Cam Newton and Carolina to score a touchdown before halftime.
Andre Roberts' red zone penalty
This penalty led to the field goal attempt that Feely missed. Roberts was called for a crackback block -- or simply blocking too low on a pass play. It was a 15-yard penalty.
In the other of two pointless red zone trips, the Cardinals were set to get some points. Kevin Kolb pitched the ball to Beanie Wells, who dropped the ball. If he makes that exchange cleanly, Wells walks into the endzone and the Cards have a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. Kolb got credit for the fumble and said it was a bad pitch, but Beanie had no excuse for dropping that ball.
Carolina's defense leaving Jeff King wide open for his 48-yard touchdown reception.
Yes, the Panthers blitzed on the play and Kolb made a great read and throw, but no one was within 20 yards of King. If you watch the play, you could tell once he got the ball he was expecting to get caught and tackled. It was quite funny to see him look around and realize that no one was anywhere near him.
The final nomination goes to the referees for their call of "roughing the passer" on Richard Marshall.
We saw the play. He didn't hit Cam Newton late. He didn't hit him in the head. The call did, though, wipe out a Daryl Washington interception. Two plays later, Newton hit Steve Smith for a touchdown that gave Carolina a 14-7 lead before halftime.