The Arizona Cardinals suffered an agonizing loss yesterday when they were defeated by the Washington Redskins, 22-21. There were a few things that the Cards did well during the game, but overall, there were too many mistakes for them to overcome the Hogs.
The five biggest negatives from yesterday's game are after the jump.
Tight End Coverage:
I sound like a broken record when I say that the Cardinals have a really difficult time covering opposing tight ends. Fred Davis was able to haul in 6 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Not to pat my own back, but I recommended him as a fantasy option before the game and needless to say, he probably scored your team plenty of points if you picked him up. He was able to terrorize the Cardinals secondary for some huge gains, including a 40 yard pickup in the 3rd quarter.
I am not sure what Ray Horton has planned in terms of defending these players, but putting Joey Porter on them in single man coverage is not the answer.
I am a huge fan of Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Miller, but the play-calling seemed a bit odd to me yesterday. There was a 66-33 pass:run ratio and I feel like it could have been the other way around the way Beanie Wells was running. Kevin Kolb had 30 pass attempts and by all means did very well (especially when he had time to throw), but Beanie should have had more than 14 touches. The draw play was really working well and I think Cardinals fans would have liked to see more plays like that.
Arizona needed more balance in their offense and the only thing all those passes did was give fans flashbacks of 2010. Having Beanie Wells take only three carries in the first half is not the solution.
Time of Possession:
Since the Cardinals decided to pass a lot more than they ran the ball, they were not able to have long drives that took up the clock. The time of possession favored the Redskins, as they had the ball for over 37.5 minutes yesterday, while Arizona only had 21.5 minutes of time on offense. Not only did this give more time for Rex Grossman to make plays, but our defense was worn down by the end of the game. The play-calling really could have helped balance this statistic out.
For as good as the Cardinals were at defending the run last week against the Panthers, they were equally as bad against Tim Hightower's 'Skins. Both Hightower and rookie Roy Helu were able to gash the Cardinals defense, picking up a total of 170 yards on the ground in 30 attempts. That comes out to an average of 5.67 yards/carry. The offensive line for Washington was creating holes on every play and Arizona just couldn't seem to figure out how to stop it.
Turning the Ball Over In Crucial Situations:
The Cardinals were down by one point with about 1:45 still to go in the game, but all hopes were shattered when wide receiver Chansi Stuckey fumbled the ball after catching a pass from Kolb, turning the ball over to the Redskins. Darren Urban caught this quote about the fumble from head coach Ken Whisenhunt after the game:
"I was sick to my stomach," Whisenhunt said. "I saw it on the board and it was a crappy feeling."
Those are the kinds of plays that can get you cut from a team. Stuckey does not have a firm hold on a roster spot, so he better be more alert and protect the ball next time he gets the chance. That said, his mishap should not be something the team dwells on before heading into Seattle next week. Both the offense and defense have things they need to improve upon and if they do, the Cardinals should be able to come out 2-1 from Emerald City next weekend.
Also of note: The Cardinals were penalized 10 times for 97 yards. The flags helped Washington sustain drives and halt the drives of Arizona. I felt like I was watching the Sun Devils from the night before, so cleaning up the infractions is a must.