Despite knowing that wins would be at a premium with a rookie head coach getting his first run in the NFL and a rookie quarterback, yesterday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers feels worse than expected.
That’s what happens when you clearly are the better team and still find a way to lose.
It wasn’t all bad.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers coming out of the Arizona Cardinals 30-27 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kyler Murray - Murray is the real deal. He gives the Arizona Cardinals a chance to win every game simply because he is on the field.
Yesterday, he was able to stretch the defense, get multiple receivers involved and give the Arizona Cardinals a performance on the road that was more than enough to win. In his last two games he’s thrown for 565 yards, five touchdowns and one interception and scored 52 points. The team is 0-2. This offense is better, and that was the first key to this season.
Christian Kirk - Finally healthy and thriving in an offense designed around his unique abilities to win at all levels, Kirk was a monster. Six catches 138 yards and three touchdowns.
Larry Fitzgerald - Not only did he have a phenomenal catch on fourth down, he was the workhorse all day. Fitz caught all eight of his targets and finished with eight catches for 71 yards. He’s on pace for over 900 yards this year at the tender age of 36.
Andy Isabella - The last two games Isabella has four catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. He’s finally earning the trust of his coaches and the team and playing well.
Offensive Line - They didn’t get much push in the run game, no one does against the Bucs, but they were able to give Murray time and when they didn’t he was able to buy some. Dropping back 45 and only giving up two sacks for eight yards is a nice day against a very good pass rush.
Chandler Jones - Continues to just rack up sack numbers.
Rodney Gunter - Gunter’s two sack game gets him to 10 on his career. A nice number for a fourth round pick who has been a part time player for most of his career.
Vance Joseph - Joseph’s defensive design continues to perplex. Moreover, his defense gave up two drives at the end of each half for touchdowns. The Bucs defense is good. They’re not that good.
Patrick Peterson - His coverage was better, didn’t give up any touchdowns, but he gave the Bucs three points simply by not paying attention. His offsides on the missed Matt Gay 46-yard field goal is inexcusable and makes him the biggest loser on a day where the team was close to a win.
David Johnson - He clearly was not healthy and ready to return and it cost the team. A fumble down by the goal line after the second Jameis Winston interception of the day ended another scoring opportunity. He can’t run right now and if he’s not a receiving threat, he can’t be on the field.
Steve Keim - The losers are all decisions Keim has made that are clearly not working out. The DJ extension, not being able to see the decline in Peterson’s play enough to get something for him (especially if the alleged offer from Philadelphia was true for a 1st and Nelson Agohlor) and the hiring of Vance Joseph have been flops. I’m not on the fire Keim train again (most of the winners were his moves as well) but he needs to answer some questions.