With the 23-19 loss the Arizona Cardinals suffered at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons, considering the defense allowed only one touchdown and took the ball away six times, the blunders would logically come on the offensive side of the ball, right?
In this case, there is no surprise.The offense looked awful, despite 127 rushing yards from LaRod Stephens Howling, who is looking more and more like a player that could shoulder a running game load.
However, what was the biggest blunder of all the blunders?
Here are some choices:
John Skelton's miss
It was first down at the Atlanta 18-yard line. Larry Fitzgerald made a great move and Skelton just plain missed Fitz in the end zone. It was not a hard throw and there was not a small window to put the ball in. He just had to get it there and hewas wide right by a lot. The Cards settled with a field goal and that would signal the end of Skelton's time on the field.
Larry Fitzgerald running off the field on fumble
Now, he made no such claim after the game and called it "idiotic" that he didn't pick up the ball, Ken Whisenhunt said several players said they heard a whistle. But there was no whistle on the replay. On the play in the second quarter when Ryan Lindley was hit and the ball was ruled a fumble, Larry Fitzgerald simply ran off the field when the ball touched the ground. The defensive players were alert and realized no whistle had sounded so Jonathan Babineaux picked it up and scored. If Fitz does as much as grab the ball there, the Falcons lose. He had a mental lapse and it cost the team the game.
Ken Whisenhunt's decision to bench Skelton
The team was up 13-0, but it was not because of the Skelton's play. He was 2-7 for six yards and missed on a couple of easy throws. I don't think it was a terrible decision, especially considering the message taht was sent during the previous two weeks. You might think it was what lost the game eventually.
Mike Smith's challenge penalty
This was the weird thing of the game. Greg Toler makes an acrobatic save of a fumble going out of bounds and Rashad Johnson recovered the ball. Mike Smith screwed up and threw a challenge flag, clearly forgetting that all turnovers are reviewed automatically. The result is that the do not review and the team is penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. The challenge would have been in vain anyway because it really did not look like Toler was out anyway.
Larry Fitzgerald's drop
Fitz failed to hold on to the ball when he landed out of bounds on the Cards' final offensive play. Lindley made a great throw, Fitz made the grab, got his feet down and then just did not hold on as he tumbled and rolled. Game over.
Which is your call for the biggest boneheaded play of the game? My pick is when Fitz ran off the field on the Lindley fumble. Smith's challenge penalty was the stupidest, but it did not hurt his team. Fitz' mental lapse did.
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