The Arizona Cardinals finally put a tally mark in the win column of the chalkboard last night as they showed their best effort to date, defeating the Oakland Raiders 31-27. Both the offense and defense looked much improved and the sense of urgency that Coach Whisenhunt was looking for was clearly there.
However, not all was gravy coming out of this game. After the jump, take a look at my five negatives from the game.
Kolb Takes A Safety:
The whole play was just kind of ugly. Adam Snyder got absolutely destroyed by the Raiders defensive line and Kevin Kolb just didn't feel like getting rid of the ball. On the previous play, he was called for intentional grounding. Instead of that, Kolb just decided to take the sack in the end zone on the next play. Instead of throwing the ball down the field to a guy like Larry Fitzgerald (who is going to jump over his defender anyhow), he took the sack. Bad, bad play.
The First String Offensive Line:
Putting D'Anthony Batiste in at right tackle did little to solve the Cardinals' pass protection woes. As usual, the right side was getting manhandled by the Raiders' front four all night long. The odd thing is, they seemingly played better once John Skelton entered the game. Weird if you ask me.
Levi Brown's Injury:
Speaking of the offensive line, starting left tackle Levi Brown left the game early with a triceps injury. There is no word on the severity of it yet, but due to something I saw from Darren Urban on Twitter, I'm not exactly optimistic. The last two times the Cardinals had players sustain triceps injuries (Bertrand Berry and Oliver Ross) they went down for the season. That would leave either D.J. Young or Jeremy Bridges to fill the gap. Eek.
Lack of Downfield Throws:
Besides Ryan Lindley, the two lead quarterbacks really didn't target players down the field. Sure, Skelton only had three pass attempts, so it's hard to judge him for that, but he still didn't show off his big arm. As for Kolb, well, he looked a little bit like his opponent and former Cardinal, Matt Leinart out there. All he did was check the ball down. I would have liked to see them try for their big receivers in Fitz and Michael Floyd, but that will hopefully come with more time.
This was probably the biggest negative of the game. The referees were absolutely dreadful. They consistently missed calls and were forced to review them. After the review, they eventually got overturned, but they made the game drag on much longer than it needed to. Please, NFL, just pay the regulars what they want.
What were your negatives from the game? Tell us in the comments section.