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Cardinals lose to Steelers in an ugly fashion

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Cardinals were outmatched by a Steelers team ravaged with injuries. The Cardinals are not a top five team.

What an ugly game. Not much to say other than we were out coached and out played by an injury ravaged, 3rd string QB led team. All those yards mean nothing if you can't score. Cardinals have lost my faith as a top tier team until proven otherwise.

First Quarter

Away versus the Steelers the Cardinals started hot with a 45 yard bomb to a double covered John Brown. But misfortune almost struck early as penetration on Jonathon Cooper forced a second down fumble when Carson Palmer couldn’t complete a handoff to Chris Johnson.  The Cardinals couldn’t convert on third and long and were forced into a longer punt on a dumb unnecessary roughness penalty by Bobbie Massie.

Against Michael Vick the defense came out and did their job forcing the Pittsburgh into a three-and-out with great field position for the Cardinals. Tyrann Mathieu dropped a sure pick on third down, but maybe it will be a harbinger of things to come for the secondary against Vick.

With great field position at the Steelers 47 the Cardinals offense started to hit its stride. Palmer hit Andre Ellington on the run for a big 32 yard gain setting up the Cardinals on the Steelers 7 yard line. Three players later and Michael Floyd scored his first touchdown of the season!

Cardinals 7 Steelers 0

The defense came out hungry, led by Calais Campbell who collected his first sack of the game with a near safety on Vick. The Cardinals almost had the Steelers kicking out of their own end zone but were bailed on out a terrible call. Markus Golden was credited for an unnecessary roughness that even the commentators were questioning.

With the penalty it seemed the Steelers were getting momentum behind a nice La’veon Bell run but Deone Bucannon ended those hopes with a great play, penetrating the interior and racking up a TFL on Bell.

With the Cardinals looking like they are going to take over Jermaine Gresham had the ball batted off his chest right into a defenders arms for an INT. But the defense continued to show strong and stopped the Steelers offense cold forcing another three-and-out!

The Steelers punted pinned the Cardinals deep. Not before Rashad Johnson almost gave the Steelers a TD on a really stupid decision.

With the offense backed up Johnson’s number was called again and on two runs he was able to get the first and give the offense breathing room. Overall on the day the offense line has played well giving Palmer mostly clean pockets and killing it in the run game with over 6 yards a carry in the first quarter.

Second Quarter

Through the first quarter the defense gave up a total of five yards. Not too bad.

After the defense continued their stifling ways the offense began to churn yards, led by a huge play from Larry Fitzgerald who took a short pass 44 yards. The offense stalled after two incompletions and were forced into a field goal. Chandler Catanzaro missed the 47 yard field goal to keep the score 7-0 Cardinals.

From here not much to write about other than a laundry party. Yellow flags er-where. One that stole an INT from Patrick Peterson. They pushed the Steelers back and they moved them forward. It was a very frustrating series of events to watch as a fan. Vick was pulled off the field to go through the concussion protocol but appeared to pass.

Eventually the defense was able to get off the field but not before giving up a 47 yard field goal.

The offense responded with some nice runs and a timely long third down catch by Michael Floyd. The drive was really the Michael Floyd drive who had three first down grabs, two of them on third down. However he negated his own TD by pushing off for an OPI. A very, very weak OPI call as the defender was all over him. Floyd had another chance at a TD but was unable to wrangle the ball on an uncalled PI.

I don’t normally complain about the refs but they are owning this game. The Cardinals had to settle for a field goal putting them up 10-0 at the half.

First Half Stats

At least the defense was setting trends, so far they have held the Steelers to the fewest passing yards in decades. On the day they have held Vick to 3/7 passing for 1 yard and Bell to 29 yards on 10 carries. The only offense really coming on 3 Vick carries for 30 yards.

The Cardinals offense has been clicking but not scoring.

Palmer has 233 yards on 24 attempts, completing 14 of them for a TD and another unlucky INT. The run game started hot but the Steelers were able to tighten up, giving the Cards 46 yards on 14 carries, 32 of those yards and 10 of those carries belonging to Chris Johnson. Fitzgerald leads the team at the half with 69 yards on 4 receptions with John Brown owning 60 yards on just 2 receptions.

Third Quarter

The Steelers started with the ball and were able to do enough on Vicks legs to get them into field goal range and cut the lead down to 6. Vick at that point has rushed 5 times for 47 yards, almost half their entire offensive yardage.

With the offense back on the field the Cardinals the offense started off nice with a good five yard run but promptly turned it over after a John Brown fumble.

Surprisingly Vick left the game with an injury and Landry Jones entered the game. They started with a big run to Bell putting them inside the ten yard line. Two plays later Jones throws a TD pass to Martavis Bryant to put the Steelers up 12-10. The Steelers opted to go for 2 but were thwarted as Patrick Peterson intercepted Jones.

The offense went backwards on the ensuing drive with penalties killing the Cardinals. This game is starting to look like the Rams game with the offense falling apart with stupid mistakes and turnovers.

The defense again buckled but didn’t break giving up another field goal, despite having Landry Jones throwing the ball on third and 13. Bettcher decided to give the kid all the time he needed to pass and allowed him to hit a wide open Bryant for the first. A bad pass on third saved the Cardinals from further damage but allowed the Steelers to push the lead to 5.

Cardinals 10 Steelers 15

With your author at his boiling point, Palmer hits John Brown on another 42 yard deep bomb to relieve some of the pressure and put the Cardinals in FG position.  The Cardinals had a chance but a missed TD to Floyd, who need to toe tap to score a TD and a bad run play later and the Cardinals were forced to kick a FG and lower the gap to just two.

Fourth Quarter

With a stop desperately needed the defense yet again buckled but didn’t break. However they gave up a lot of time on the clock unable to stop the Pittsburgh offense led by the 3rd year backup Landry Jones and Bell. The defense was able to hold and keep the score respectable with the Steelers taking a 5 points lead, 18 to 13.

Then the Cardinals blew it. Palmer threw a game ending INT and Landry Jones hit Bryant for an 80 something yard TD the ensuing series to put the nail in the coffin.

Arians, Bettcher and the Cardinals players have some soul searching to do because this team is what the media and other fans have been saying it is, overrated.