So where do I start? Yesterday, the Cardinals lost to the Seahawks 13-10 after being outplayed in almost every facet of the game. Whether it was defense, offense or even special teams, the Cards were severely overwhelmed by not only Seattle, but themselves as well.
I could probably give you about fifty different things the Cardinals did wrong, but instead I'll give you just five. Here are five of the biggest negatives coming out of the Cardinals week three matchup:
The Run Game:
Beanie Wells wasn't able to play in the game due to a hamstring injury and his absence was quite noticeable. Chester Taylor started in his place, but was abruptly replaced by Alfonso Smith after failing to do much of anything. Smith came in the game and rushed 17 times for 54 yards. All in all, the halfbacks took 25 carries for 74 yards, a 2.96 yards/run average.
It amazes me that Smith was able to get more carries than Beanie Wells did against the Redskins (he had 15). I, along with many of you, was confused on the play-calling throughout the game.
Taking 3rd Downs Off:
Both on offense and on defense, the Cardinals struggled on third downs. They were only able to convert 3 of 14 third downs, which lead to plenty of punting for Dave Zastudil. On the flip side, the Cards defense gave up 6-16 third down conversions to Tarvaris Jackson and the Seahawks, many of them being long conversions.
Whether Alfonso Smith was running it up the middle or taking pitches to the side, or Kolb was throwing quick passes out of the shotgun, first downs came at a premium. Poor play like that will lead to another disastrous season. The defense lacks talent and considering all of the aging players, it's difficult to say the future is bright.
Another thing that came at a premium was scoring the football. The Cardinals scored a total of zero points in the second half. The one touchdown that they were able to get in the game came via a great catch by Larry Fitzgerald in double coverage on a ball that never should have been thrown.
Jay Feely missed two field goals, one from 49 yards and the other from 51 yards out. If he would have made one of them, the result of that game could have been entirely different. I don't want to lay all of the blame on him though, as the offense as a whole was largely ineffective.
Choking In The Clutch:
Last week it was a Chansi Stuckey fumble that sealed the loss for Arizona. This week, Kevin Kolb had a chance to lead the Cardinals to a glorious comeback, but instead he threw a late game interception that all but ended the Cardinals chances of halting their now nine game road skid.
These players are paid big money to make plays at the end of games that lead their team to victories. We have yet to see that killer instinct from our offense and I personally don't see any help coming anytime soon.
Targeting Larry Fitzgerald:
Fitz had a huge advantage on the Seahawks porous secondary due to inexperience and lack of talent. For whatever reason, Ken Whisenhunt and offensive coordinator Mike Miller decided that going back to that well in the second half would have been a waste of time. Fitzgerald had no receptions during the entire second half after torching Seattle for 64 yards and a TD in the first half.
Again, poor play-calling can be blamed for this. Marcus Fitzgerald, the brother of Larry, said that his brother was used as a, "120 million dollar decoy" in the 2nd half. He also said that good teams find a way to get their #1 receiver the ball, even if he is in double coverage throughout. I tend to agree. The Cardinals can try and put him in motion and run plays that take the safety away, but I guess they didn't feel that was a good idea.
This was not a good game for the Cardinals and if they don't clean up their play and get the offensive line struggles worked out, the Giants are going to swallow them whole next week in Glendale.