When the Arizona Cardinals deferred to the second half after winning the opening coin toss, Steve Wilks wanted to send a message.
This team is built on defense and running the football.
After the first game of the Wilks era, the team may want to be built on those principles, but they don’t have the personnel to do that just yet, as the Cardinals were throttled by the Washington Redskins 24-6 in Steve Wilks opening game.
The Cardinals were manhandled in the first half, being out gained 261 to 36, and in the second half, while they were able to gain some yards and finally put some points on the board, they still did it through the air.
In the first half, after forcing a punt on the Skins first drive of the game, the Skins and Alex Smith went on scoring drives of 80 yards over 5:53, 73 yards over 9:06 and then 92 yards over 3:11.
That was what the Cardinals wanted their offense to look like, yet their defense could not get off the field defensively and could not establish anything offensively.
The Cardinals running game was limited, not by the Skins defense, but instead the inability to use it. They only were able to run the ball 15 times, only nine with David Johnson, for 68 yards and their lone touchdown, a David Johnson two-yard touchdown run.
Offensively, it was still the Cardinals passing game that dominated the day.
Yet, despite the accuracy and carefulness we heard about throughout the offseason, Sam Bradford was nothing short of brutal in his debut.
Bradford finished 20/34 for 153 yards no touchdowns, one interception and one fumble. 4.5 yards per attempt is not ideal for a quarterback.
Larry Fitzgerald finished with seven catches for 76 yards, the Cardinals wide receivers only had one other reception on the day.
David Jonson caught five passes for 30 yards, Ricky Seals-Jones had three catches for 19 yards, yet had a bad drop on a tough catch in the endzone late in the fourth quarter that would have made the game look a little more respectable.
It was a concern coming in and it remains a concern after game one.
The biggest concern for the Cardinals has to be their offense though, that had no flow, no momentum and no big plays.
We are on to LA for a matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.