Kliff Kingsbury had never experienced the relief of an NFL bye week.
The first year head coach had been mostly solid this season, so many of us were excited about the upcoming adjustments that were in route following a two week absence.
Four quarters later and a 34-7 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Kingsbury’s bye week grade should be fairly clear.
A resounding “F”.
Goodness. Where to even start?
The Cardinal defense gave up over 400 yards passing (and two touchdowns) to Jared Goff, who had previously gone three games without a passing touchdown. He did this all in a little more then three quarters of play.
They allowed a clearly hampered Todd Gurley to run for 95 yards with a touchdown while averaging over 4.5 ypc.
The Rams offense was routinely left wide open by the Vance Joseph led Cardinal defense, who looked completely uninterested in putt up a fight.
Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee were laughably open to the point where it appeared the Cardinal defensive backs had simply given up.
And this was in the first half.
Please keep in mind, this result comes a mere five days following LA’s humiliating 45-6 shellacking on national television against Baltimore.
Meanwhile, the Cardinal offense gave a stirring tribute to the 2018 Mike McCoy led unit.
Arizona finished with under 200 yards of total offense and Kyler Murray was clearly out of sync due to a hamstring injury he suffered on Friday.
Or perhaps it was the stifling Wade Phillip defense that maul Murray and company for seven sacks.
There was no point during this game when it appeared as if Arizona would put up any kind of competitive effort.
With the loss, Arizona drops their fifth straight game and sits at 3-8-1.
Player of the Game: NONE
Improvements Needed: Everywhere?
Even with this lopsided result, I do not think Vance Joseph will be fired. At least not during the season.
The Cardinals had a chance to part with Joseph prior to the bye following the defensive collapse against San Francisco. They opted not.
My guess is Kingsbury will (and should) take the heat for the Cardinals being completely unprepared to play. For as bad as Arizona was defensively, they were just as egregious on offense.
What I do think this will reignite is the continued concern surrounding this roster and the status of General Manager Steve Keim. Following Arizona’s surprising three game winning streak, Keim appeared to be safe for another season.
And even with the Cardinals dropped every game over the past month, they were still incredibly competitive and especially captivating on offense.
Now, after yet another epic beatdown at the hands of a mediocre Rams team, Keim’s standing with the organization (mainly Michael Bidwill) will be questioned again.
And should be.
The Cardinals may secure another victory before season’s end, but it appears as if the team will go winless in the NFC West.
That’s the barometer for success right now.
- Via Kent Somers: From 1970 through 2018, the Arizona Cardinals yielded 500+ yards of offense in a game 17 times. They have done it twice in the lat five weeks (Saints, Rams). The Cardinals gave up over 550 yards against the Rams in what was roughly three quarters of play.
- The 2018 Arizona Cardinals never lost five straight games.
- The last time the team lost five straight was in 2012 when they lost nine in a row. No coincidence that President Michael Bidwill promptly fired GM Rod Graves and Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt following that disaster of a year.
- The Cardinals are 0-5 since Sean McVay become the head coach of the Rams. Their last victory was week 17 of 2016. Every loss has been non-competitive.
- WR Christian Kirk was left completely in check by CB Jalen Ramsey. The second year receiver managed a mere three catches for 23 yards on seven targets.
- LB Haason Reddick has been permanently benched for ILB Joe Walker. When he did enter the game, he promptly gave up a touchdown to Ram TE Tyler Higbee.
- CB Patrick Peterson was beaten late against Ram WR Cooper Kupp for the LA’s final score. Peterson has looked completely uninterested in competing in recent weeks. He also allowed Jared Goff to block him downfield on a long reverse to Robert Woods.
- Speaking of Tyler Higbee, the backup TE netted a career high 107 receiving yards.
- The Rams were a dominating 8-15 on third down and that number is significantly skewed by the backups entering the game late. Arizona was a dismal 2 for 13.
- At the writing of this article, the Cardinals have the 7th overall pick in next April’s NFL Draft. However, they are tied with five other teams who only have three wins.