The Cardinals' defense did everything it possibly could, but their team still came up on the short end playing the Falcons on the road.
Well... that was no fun. There are going to be about 1,000 questions we can ask coming out of this game. Such as: who will be the Cardinals' starting quarterback next week? Are more changes to come? Can the team recover from such a huge loss? All of these questions are valid and they will have to be answered by Coach Whisenhunt at some point or another.
For now, we will take a look at five negatives that I noticed from the game. As always, these aren't the only negatives that were present. If you would, please leave yours in the comments section below.
1. John Skelton
This is an easy one. Skelton looked absolutely terrible during his time in the game and it was about time that the coaching staff decided to do something about it. It wasn't until he missed a wide open pass to Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone that they realized a change would be necessary. When he left the game, Skelton was 2/7 passing for 6 yards. The good news is, at least he wasn't able to tie Ryan Leaf's record for 13 straight games with an interception.
2. 3rd down
The Cardinals struggled on third down -- both offensively and defensively. The defense allowed Matt Ryan to convert a few key third and longs in the first half, allowing them to put points on the board. At one point, according to team writer Darren Urban, the Cardinals gave up three straight 3rd and at least 6 yards to go conversions.
Even more troubling was the offense, though. They went 2-16 on third downs on Sunday and 0-1 on fourth down attempts. There really isn't much more you can say about this.
3. The passing game
Up until just after the 2-minute warning in the first half, the Cardinals had recorded a total of 1 pass yard in the game. That was with both Lindley and Skelton spending some time at the QB position. After that, it didn't get much better. The team had a total of 41 net yards passing on the day against a defense that was allowing them to do as they wanted.
As usual, the team shot themselves in the foot. The craziest thing is that with the success of the running game and having a rookie QB in the game, it is surprising that they didn't continue to give the ball to LaRod Stephens-Howling. Again, bad play calling hurt their chances.
4. Nate Potter
Potter certainly didn't have the same magic on the field against the Falcons as he did against the Packers a couple of weeks ago (see what I did there?). He struggled mightily trying to contain veteran pass rusher John Abraham, allowing him two sacks and multiple pressures off the edge. Abraham also had 3 QB hits. Surprisingly, even though many complained about Potter's lack of strength, it was the speed of Abraham that beat him on most occasions.
Is D'Anthony Batiste back in line to recover his starting job? I don't think so... yet.
5. Lost chances
Putting field goals instead of touchdowns up on the board is not going to cut it against a powerhouse offensive team like the Falcons. I already mentioned Skelton's missed pass to Larry Fitzgerald for a TD, but that wasn't all. The team couldn't score touchdowns in the red zone off of turnovers. They were all set up for the score, but couldn't manage to punch it in. That is what inevitably lost them the game.
On a side note, Patrick Peterson left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. No word has been given as to the severity of the injury.
What do you think? Can the Cards bounce back from this? Is there still time to make a miraculous playoff run? We shall see.