The Arizona Cardinals played as bad a game as they could have against the San Diego Charger Saturday night. They were bad on offense, defense and special teams. They made dumb plays. They had injuries.
The first half of play was, according to head coach Bruce Arians, "probably the dumbest first 30 minutes of football I've ever seen."
"I'm very disappointed, because you never see this type of game coming the way we've been practicing," he said. "Couldn't get off the field on third down defensively; couldn't convert on third down offensively."
They also had a punt blocked, a field goal blocked and allowed a 44-yard punt return on special teams.
Jerraud Powers was flagged three times for pass interference. Levi Brown gave up a pair of sacks and was called for three penalties. Rob Housler dropped a wide open touchdown pass. Kory Sperry dropped a pass and drew three penalties. Rashad Johnson picked up a fumble, only to fumble it when he tried to lateral the ball to Sam Acho and the play ended in a Chargers touchdown. Arians called that play "asinine."
Then there were the injuries. Seven players got hurt. Jonathan Cooper broke his leg and might be lost for the season. Running back Rashard Mendenhall hurt his knee (he reported some looseness). Rob Housler hurt his right ankle (perhaps a high ankle sprain). Dan Williams hurt his left ankle. D.C. Jefferson hurt his knee. Andre Roberts hurt his quad. Matt Shaughnessy had something happen to his ankle.
It was not announced by Arians, but I saw Kory Sperry (I'm pretty sure it was him) as he was leaving and he had a brace on his left arm, like there was something wrong with his elbow.
On the bright side, Arians noted that "we can correct the way we played." The message is simply "please don't do it again."
The players "need to learn from it and come back and go to work," he continued. "It was a preseason game and these are nice things to learn from."
Darnell Dockett even went as far as saying that this type of game is good for a team because it can set a team straight. Luckily, he noted, it is just the preseason.
Carson Palmer also looked at the silver lining, saying that happened with the mistakes "are easy to improve upon."
"It's not that we're getting physically beat, or that they're faster than us or more powerful for us," he said. "We have another two weeks. Another two weeks to clean a lot of these things up."
This was the warts game. All the warts came out. The defense couldn't stop Ken Whisenhunt's plays. Special teams was a mess and the offense couldn't move the ball. It is exactly the type of game that recalibrates expectations. We have seen how good they can play (overall against the Packers) and now we have seen the bad. Usually that means the team is somewhere in between.
So while there is a lot of spilled Kool-Aid on the floor, that doesn't mean we can't make new, albeit smaller batch to have ready soon enough.
More from Revenge of the Birds:
- Chargers vs. Cardinals final score: Arizona fall 24-7 in error and injury riddled game
- Jonathan Cooper injury: Arizona Cardinals rookie carted off the field
- Chargers vs. Cardinals: Keys to success for Arizona and key matchups
- Arizona Cardinals pass rush vs. Dallas Cowboys: How bad was it, really?
- Cardinals vs. Chargers preview: 5 questions with Bolts from the Blue