The 2014 season ends in Carolina for the Arizona Cardinals with a finish we would like to forget in a season that we never will. Were the stats as ugly as the what we saw on the field and on the scoreboard? Let's find out and take a look and at the stats that mattered.
Final score: 16-27
The score was closer than the stats, not even counting the intentional safety at the end by the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals held the halftime lead 14-13, but unraveled in the second half with no further scoring of their own. The Arizona Cardinals (11-5 regular season) fall to the Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) in the wildcard round of the 2014 season.
Total Yards 78-386
The Arizona Cardinals become record-setters with the lowest-ever total yards in a postseason game in NFL history. For the Panthers, big plays with the help of missed tackles was the undoing of the Cardinals defense.
Net Yards Rushing 27-188
The third time this year the Cardinals rush for under 30 yards, and in this case the lowest of them all. Another mobile quarterback burns the the Cardinals defense with long scrambles for first downs while handoffs result in over 150 yards for the Panthers.
Net Yards Passing 51-198
Not exactly what the doctor ordered on offense, but not bad numbers for a defense that was perhaps too busy chasing Carolina ball carriers.
First Downs 8-25
The Panthers 12 rushing first downs were countered by a total of 2 for the Cardinals. Third down conversions for Arizona was also poor with 3 of 12 for 25%.
Arizona really needed to win in this category (7-1 when they do) but it wasn't meant to be. A lost fumble and two interceptions by the Cardinals was matched with a fumble, interception and muffed punt by the Panthers.
Too many hurries and four sacks for -31 yards helped add insult to injury in net passing yards for the Cardinals. Arizona's defense recorded only one sack on the day and not nearly enough pressure applied.
Eight penalties by the Panthers for 80 yards was much more than the 38 yards on 7 flags by the Cardinals. Unfortunately, four of the Cardinals indiscretions resulted in Carolina first downs (only one first down by penalty for Arizona).
Time of Possession 22:54-37:06
The defense was on the field far too long and the offense far too seldom. Also refer to First Downs above.
Bad sign when you punt 9 times, especially when you average 34.8 per. And it doesn't help when a lost fumble on a kickoff return sets up the opponents on the 3 yard line.
Ryan Lindley passes for 82 yards on 16 completions on 28 attempts (57.1%). Add in one touchdown pass and two interceptions, then subtract 31 yards on four sacks and you get 51 net passing yards and a passer rating of 44.3.
Keywynn Williams gains 23 of the Cardinals 27 rushing yards on 10 carries, which makes the math easy for yards per carry.
Marion Grice says it's OK if you average 1.0 yards per carry if it results in a one-yard touchdown.
John Brown as the team's leading receiver with a whopping 39 yards on four catches, one of which is the Cardinals longest play of the day (21 yards).
Larry Fitzgerald in perhaps his last game in Cardinals red is right behind with 31 yards on three receptions.
Ted Ginn returns two kickoffs Saturday afternoon: The first a 48-yard scamper right before the half; and a second for 11 yards before losing a fumble to the Panthers at the 3-yard line.
Drew Butler punts nine times for an average of 34.8 yards per that would have been much lower if not for a 52-yarder in the 2nd quarter.
Rashad Johnson (6 solo tackles, 2 assists); Sam Acho (2 solo, 5 assists, 1 sack); Tony Jefferson (3 solo, 4 assists); Antonio Cromartie (interception, 2 pass defenses); Larry Foote (3 solo, 2 tackles for loss).
That's what the stats said and it's surprising the score wasn't more lopsided.
* Be sure to look for the 2014 season stats wrap-up coming soon to a theater near you.