A 19-3 loss to the division rival Seattle Seahawks raised several red flags while the comfortable lead in the NFC West shrunk.
Let's take a look at the (few) good and (many) bad from the game.
1) The Sack Lunch
The Cardinals turned on the pressure against Wilson, sacking him a season high 7 times. DE Calais Campbell led the pack with 3 of his own, while S Deone Buccannon, LBers Alex Okfaor and Kevin Minter, and DT Tommy Kelly all brought Wilson down once themselves. In a game with few things to cheer for, this was nice to see.
2) The Run Defense
The Seahawks leading rusher was QB Russell Wilson, who had 10 runs for 73 yards. This itself is more on the negative side, but it still highlights the defense's efforts against opposing RBs, or more specifically, Marshawn Lynch, one of the best RBs in the league. Lynch only had 39 yards off of 15 attempts; this is a crazy stat when you take into consideration just how dangerous Lynch as been this season.
3) John "Smokey" Brown
Brown continued his strong rookie campaign Sunday by leading the team in yards, with 61 off of 3 receptions. He also had a big pass interference that got called on one of his deep targets. It wasn't his flashiest showing, but he was easily the best receiver on the team, and made good of a bad offensive day.
1) Drew Stanton
To put it simply, Stanton really wasn't that good. He completed 14 of 26 passes for 149 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception that was taken back deep into Cardinals territory. I'm not going to pin the entire loss on Stanton. He received poor protection, there were numerous drops that killed drives (like the Jarron Brown TD drop), and he had essentially no run support. But he was definitely a major factor in this loss. Stanton has been pretty ineffective since the 1st quarter of the Lions game, and if this continues, it will definitely be concerning.
2) The run game
Like I mentioned above, Stanton received no help from his RBs. It seems to me like the run game's ineptitude this season has been a combination of poor offensive line protection, bad play calls, as well as an injured Andre Ellington. Whatever the case may be, Ellington rushed 10 times for 24 yards. You don't win games when your starting RB puts up numbers like that. Seattle may have an elite defense, but this has been a recurring theme over the season. I can only hope that Arians and his staff can figure out what to do next, because showings like this are going to hurt the team down the line.
3) Dropped Passes
Also mentioned above, this is becoming pretty annoying. It was especially bad in the Denver Broncos game where Stanton received absolutely no help from his receivers, but it was equally devastating against the Seahawks. I can think of two instances where a dropped pass changed the momentum. One was when Ellington dropped an easy 1st down pass. You catch that, the drive goes on, and perhaps the Cardinals can get some points on the board. The second was the most frustrating: At the end of the 2nd quarter, Jarron Brown dropped a pass that was so easy it was almost impressive, in a terrible kind of way. If Brown caught that pass, the Cardinals would've entered the 2nd half only down 9-7. If you're a receiver in the NFL, you make that pass, and you get the momentum back to your team. Football games can be changed on single plays, and the Cardinals receivers have not taken advantage of that.
4) Special Teams
K Chandler Catanzaro's glorious run of 17 straight field goals ended last week, and he extended his missed FGs streak on Sunday by kicking a 49 yard attempt too far to the right. While he did nail his 2nd attempt, it was still a little disheartening to see. In addition, P Drew Butler continues to show us just how important Dave Zastudil was to the team, as his punts all seemed to give the Seahawks great field coverage. And to top it all off, return man Ted Ginn Jr. received little blocking, rendering the return game essentially useless. The only bright spot of the day from the Special Teams unit was a blocked field goal by DE Tommy Kelly.
5) The 49ers won
Almost as if it were a cruel joke, the Redskins held on to the 49ers in their match-up, even owning the lead late into the game, only to give up the win to San Francisco. The 49ers and Seahawks are now only two games back from the Cardinals, and as both teams play each other on Thanksgiving this week, one of them is going to have 8 wins after Thursday. The Cardinals suddenly find themselves looking over their shoulders. I'm definitely not saying that all hope is lost, but if you're feeling just a little bit anxious, you are completely justified.