In a game that the Cardinals needed to win they laid an egg not seen in the Bruce Arians era of Cardinals football. The offense looked terrible against a bad defense and the defense was unable to stop the Falcon’s top rated pass offense. Patrick Peterson was the main culprit on the day, getting eaten alive by Julio Jones.
It was the ugliest game I have seen in years.
If there is a way you do not want to start a game, it’s giving up a huge 55 yard run to Steven Jackson after the commentators start the game discussing the Cardinals prowess in run defense and the Falcon’s woes attempting to both run the ball and stop the run. Starting the game the Cardinals gave up a five-yard run to Jackson followed up by a completion to Julio Jones for the first down. The next play Jackson rumbled for 55 yards inside the Cardinals five-yard line.
Falcons ran it again, were stuffed, passed it on a play action and missed, ran it again and were short, finally deciding go for it on fourth and inches. Again running play action the again the Falcon’s were able to hit TE Levine Toilolo for the TD.
Oh boy, please do not let it become one of those games. 0 - 7 Falcons.
The start for the Cardinals could not have gone worse, the offense went three and out, not gaining a single yard. Not, one, yard. After writing this statement I was proven wrong.
It COULD get worse from there. Devin Hester returned the ensuing punt for a TD, only a stiff arm to the facemask on the punter saved it from being a TD.
There was some hope as the Falcon’s special teams coach Keith Armstrong went ballistic and got himself flagged for another 15 yards. Breath
First and 25 it seemed assured the Cardinals would force at least a field but again we were let down. After a short run the Falcon’s passed the ball on second, hitting Julio Jones for a first down. The Cardinals defense found their selves pinned yet again in their own end zone.
Thankfully for Cardinals fans this defense has a backbone. Jerraurd Powers stepped up and seemingly intercepted a Matt Ryan pass to Julio Jones. It was ultimately overturned and the Falcons settled for a field goal. 0 – 10 Falcons.
All of this in just seven minutes.
The Cardinals on offense again started poorly with two runs for a total of two yards but thankfully on third down the Cardinals were able to get a first. The good feelings ended there as Drew Stanton threw high on Jarod Brown resulting in a tip and an INT.
Two plays later, Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for a long TD right over Patrick Peterson. 0 – 17 Falcons.
All of this with 5 minutes still left in the first quarter.
Not much else to say besides the offense played like dirt and Atlanta looked like the 9-2, not the 4-7 team.
The quarter ended with Atlanta in the Cardinals red zone with Peterson getting absolutely abused by Julio Jones. 0 – 17 Atlanta
Did I mention the defense has a backbone? On the first play of the second quarter, Rashad Johnson stepped in front of a Matt Ryan pass and took it 88 yards for the TD. The run back was the INT was his fourth of the season, his fourth of Matt Ryan in his career and the big play the team needed (and my fantasy team since I started Arizona). Arizona 7 – Falcons 17.
On the ensuing series the Cardinals defense bent but did not break forcing a Falcon’s punt, but the momentum was not entirely swung back into the Cardinals favor as the Falcon’s were able to down the ball on the Cardinals four yard line.
The offense showed some life with a play action on the first play, hitting TE John Carlson for a big gain to the Cardinals 31. But today was one of those days with the next pass play getting broken up and Andre Ellington potentially injured while pass blocking. The offense didn’t stall despite the Ellington injury, as Stanton was able to hit Michael Floyd for another first down conversion.
But the Cardinals were dead set on beating themselves.
The next pass play Stanton hit Floyd for another potential first down but Floyd loses the ball, which rolls right to a Falcon’s defender.
In the words of a teenager: I just, I just can’t even.
In other news we found out that both Ellington and Tyrann Mathieu were also questionable for the rest of the game.
What have we done wrong as Cardinals fans?
I feel like I say thankfully a lot and thankfully the defense held, making the turnover not as costly as it could have been.
With the ball back in hand it feels that Stanton has gained some control of this game hitting Ted Ginn Jr. on his first pass after the punt. The run game was still ineffective but we did see a screen to Marion Grice! The way he held the ball made me swear his name but the first down he got gave me some hope for the offense.
Also looking good on the last two drives was the Cardinals offensive line, giving Stanton tons of time to hit Ginn again for another first down.
The offense stalled with Stanton throwing a near interception after again, starring down his intended WR from the snap. An extremely frustrating trait Stanton has.
The Cardinals were forced to kick a field goal but at least were able to move the ball into scoring range.
The rookie Chandlar "Catman" Catanzaro hit the 44 yard field goal to make the game Cardinals 10 – Falcons 17 with just under three minutes left.
The defense wasn’t able to hold those last three minutes with Patrick Peterson continuing to get his lunch eaten by Julio Jones as the Falcons were able to sling their way down to the four yard line and only a dropped pass by Devin Hester saved the Cardinals from being down more than 10.
Cardinals 10 – Falcons 20.
For the half Atlanta had 13 first downs to the Cardinals 7.
In the half Atlanta gained a whooping 309 yards to the Cardinals 151.
Julio Jones had 8 catches for 132 yards and 1 TD on 10 targets. In. The. First. Half.
Some how the game isn’t a blowout with the Cardinals still unable to score an offensive TD since the first quarter of the Detroit game.
The Cardinals started the half with the ball and were able to move it to their 40-yard line but penalties killed the drive. The Cardinals we at least able to flip the field position and pin the Falcon’s deep in their own territory. With a defensive stand the Cardinals could get the ball back with good field position.
But alas the Cardinals continued to get beat on 3rd down giving up a big catch to Harry Douglas. The next play the Falcons hit yet another deep pass to Julio Jones, again beating Patrick Peterson for 41 yards. The play could have been overturned if Bruce Arians had challenged it but it wasn’t that kind of day for the self-defeating Cardinals.
Some of the worst football I’ve seen since the John Skelton and Ryan Lindley days. The defense held yet again and much like the Seattle game it started to feel like the game is over with a 13-point differential.
That’s what I get for saying the Falcon’s wouldn’t score more than 21 points. Ugh.
Again the Cardinals began to move the ball well but when approaching the midfield they again stalled, again pinning the Falcon’s deep with their put. But with the defense playing like its 2008 all over again, it doesn’t seem to matter.
And as expected the Falcon’s again had no trouble moving the ball, continuing to convert third downs and continuing to run out the clock. 429 yards given up in just three quarters of football.
End of the third Arizona 10 – Falcons 23
With the announcers talking about how the Cardinals have owned the fourth while the Falcon’s have not, on cue the Falcon’s convert a first down. The Cardinals were able to stop the drive and hold it to a field goal making the game Cardinals 10 – Falcons 26.
Not much to say at this point but it seems like the game is over unless Stanton figures out how to play QB.
The offense went three and out, giving the Falcon’s the ball again.
The defense held, forcing a punt but not like it matters with the horrid display of offense we have seen today.
Again the Cardinals began to move the ball and again Stanton sucked it up throwing another INT.
Honestly, I turned it off at that point. If this is the level of play we can expect from Stanton the season is going to end horribly.
From what I saw on the ESPN the Cardinals were able to score a garbage TD. Yay, the streak of TD-less quarters is over...
9-3, with the Kansas City Chiefs coming in next weekend, the future for the Cardinals looks sour.