There are not many ways to lose that are tougher than this. In the 4th Quarter, the Cardinals had a 24-10 lead against the Vikings with around 6 minutes left, and they stopped the Vikings on 4th down at the Arizona 1 yard line. After that, everything went downhill. They went 3 and out, then the Vikings scored on their next two drives, and forced overtime. Then the Cardinals lost in overtime after a 3 and out followed by a quick field goal drive by Minnesota. Lets take a look at some of the good and some of the bad....
Joey Porter had his best game as a Cardinal. After promising that he would get more sacks, he racked up four of them in his last three games, and he got two of them tonight, along with several big hits and pressures on Brett Favre, including one that forced a pick in the Endzone by Rashad Johnson. He now leads the Cardinals with five sacks on the year.
More return Touchdowns. With a 96 yard Kickoff Return by LaRod Stephens-Howling, and a forced fumble by O'Brien Schofield on the opening kickoff of the second half that was returned by Michael Adams for a TD, the Cards now have 8 return TDs on the year. That leads the NFL. To put this in perspective, they also have six Passing Touchdowns, and either three of four them Rushing.
The Defense until the midway point of the 4th Quarter. What else needs to be said here, up until that point they were pressuring Favre, stopping the run, and forcing Turnovers.
Derek Anderson got off to a great start. He completed 14 of 20 passes at one point, and he made several big plays on a late drive in the first half where he ended it with a 30 yard Touchdown to Andre Roberts. But, he tailed off late in the game finishing the game with 15 completions for 179 yards on 26 attempts along with the 30 yard Touchdown.
Larry Fitzgerald had 7 catches for 107 yards in his return to his home state.
The Vikings had the ball for 27:13 minutes, and the Vikings had it for 38:05 minutes (counting Overtime). Now, having two return Touchdowns does affect the time, but the offense could not sustain very many drives, and this resulted in the Defense getting worn out. This could also be part of the reason that everyone forgot how to cover a receiver or tackle late in the game.
Kerry Rhodes had an early Interception that he could have returned for a Touchdown, but Greg Camarillo (I believe) forced a Fumble at the Vikings 1 yard line and it went out of the endzone for a Touchback. This cost the Cardinals 7 points, and they turned out to be vital.
The ground game was anemic. At one point Derek Anderson led the team in rushing with 16 yards. They ended the day with 21 carries for 53 yards, Beanie Wells only had one carry for a loss of two yards, and Tim Hightower only had 13 carries for 39 yards.
The Defense at the end of the game was horrible. With about four minutes left in the game, the Vikings score two Touchdowns to tie the game with 34 seconds left in the game. When you have a 14 point lead with four minutes left in the game, you have to be able to rely on the Defense to preserve the lead.
Offense in the 4th Quarter. They just could not sustain anything. I was hoping to see them run the ball a lot because I had no faith in Anderson to keep the evil little turnover machine in him from showing up, but the Cardinals could not run the ball at all. And I believe that the choice to throw a screen pass that fell incomplete was a horrible call. Just call a sneak or a run there, and you can run off 30 or 40 seconds, and Favre threw the game tying Touchdown with 34 seconds left. Horrible call, it could have even cost the Cardinals the game.
Brett Favre had a career high 446 passing yards with two Touchdowns, and he was 36 out of 47 passing. Most of his damage was one late in the game too. While the Defensive collapse made me sick, having to hear about Brett Favre leading a Favreian comeback late in the game when it felt like the Cardinals threw the game away instead of the Vikings winning it will make me even sicker. It will be tough to watch ESPN or any of the other sports analysts tonight....
So, what did you like, and what did you not like from this game?