Five fumbles plagued the Arizona Cardinals offense last night, in a loss to the now 6-7 San Francisco 49ers. It was a painful pill to swallow, and after hearing some of the praise the media(ESPN to be exact) was giving the Cardinals, this one hurt.
Ball security has been a problem at this point in the season as the Cardinals have fumbled the ball a league-leading 15 times. Tim Hightower- who had 2 fumbles in all of 2008(both were recovered by the Cardinals) - has a team-high 5 fumbles on the year. Four of the five have been lost, and all of them happened in the 1st quarter. Beanie Wells is a not-far second, with 4 fumbles, and only 2 being lost(Wells lost two fumbles against the Rams and Titans, but they were credited to Warner and Leinart). Wells fumble also came at a critical time when the Cardinals were driving at their 11 yard line.
"It was definitely hard, knowing they were counting on me, giving me the ball in crunch time, and I came up short," Wells said. "I felt I had the ball as tight as I could but it was a hell of a play. You try to (move past it), but at times like this you can’t ignore it, you have to really focus on it," Wells said. "It all comes down to focus on that ball. Obviously I felt I had it as tight as I could but something wasn’t good enough."
Last night should have been proof enough that the Arizona Cardinals are clearly not a team that can overcome turnovers. In their 5 losses this year, the Cardinals have an astonishing -13 turnover differential. Ken Whisenhunt faced the same issues last season when the Cardinals couldn't clinch the division at first opportunity. With the Detroit Lions(2-10) up next, the Cardinals can still clinch the division with a win and a 49ers loss at Philadelphia next week.
"We’ve worked on it earlier in the year and it hasn’t been as much of a problem," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "Each one of our backs had a fumble and that’s certainly unacceptable, so we will have to work on how they are carrying the football. We just can’t do that."
Unacceptable might be an understatement. What are your thoughts and how can the Cardinals solve this problem? Who gets the start at running back next week?