Outside of a few early defensive stops and a late Kyler Murray garbage time TD run, there wasn’t much for the Arizona Cardinals to call a “winner” or even “not a loser.”
It’s hard to even think of any one positive moment in the game for the Cards overall, and that might show how dreadful of a game it was. But let’s take a deeper look at who came out ahead and who came out behind:
Winner: Jared Goff
Goff hadn’t thrown a TD in the month of November. And still hadn’t through a quarter until the Cardinals defense gave up a score to tight end Tyler Higbee and ended up with two on the day and 424 yards of offense and completed 3 of every 4 passes he threw.
The Rams are still playoff contenders, albeit on the outside, but if they can bounce back against the Niners and Seahawks they could potentially push to get back, and while they aren’t the team that steamrolled to the super bowl, Goff got zero pressure on the day outside of one sack, and a confidence boost.
Loser: Cardinals Fans Watching This Defense
...any QB seems to get a confidence boost against this Cardinals team. It’s been a nightmare for the 2nd half of the season after a decent first four games was followed by a downpour.
And at this point it’s hard to call the defense a loser as they just can’t seem to do anything. Instead the loser’s the fans having to watch, almost like a small child watching a baby bird die in its arms.
The bird at least you know its suffering has ended...unlike the Cardinals, the fans who tune in and watch each week are having to deal with it now after paying, not being paid, to watch the weekly trainwreck.
Winner: Sean McVay vs. the Cardinals
Since Sean McVay was hired by the Rams the Arizona Cardinals are 0-5.— K1 + K2 (@SCoxFB) December 2, 2019
They've been outscored 164-32.
That's 3 HCs, 3 OCs, 3 DCs.
Only one constant is Steve Keim.
Sums it up.
Something about the Rams, either their players or tenacity or maybe just Aaron Donald has them running with their tails between their legs from the first snap of the game the last 3 years. McVay’s had his genius questioned but ultimately if he can show up against the Cards, it’s a big loss for the team and their coach...
Loser: Kliff Kingsbury
There’s complaints I’ve had with the coach and the offense but given the current product, there’s plenty of excuses to be had as far as the success the team’s had, a rookie playcaller (in the NFL) and quarterback.
But coming off of a bye week there was no excuse. Murray wasn’t able to get into a rhythm, nothing worked play wise and Kingsbury looked overmatched throughout the whole game. Perhaps it’s a fluke or perhaps the start of a concerning trend but Kliff, unlike many weeks this year, had a heavy burden to blame for this loss, along with his QB.
Winner: The 2018 Arizona Cardinals...for looking better by comparison.
The Cardinals have lost 5 games in a row and are averaging now 30 points per game being given up, along with the 2nd worst pass defense in the league (and it might be 32nd by monday night)
That’s worse than the 3-13 team that earned the #1 overall pick last year from a defensive standpoint.
Wilks looking more competent than Vance Joseph isn’t good, but it does show that the Cardinals last year had some strengths along with their issues. They’ve been blown out the same way and as a result, when there’s a better offense it makes your defense look worse and frankly, Arizona probably gave Steve Wilks a bad rap in firing him for lack of defensive progress.
To be fair though....it’s not looking like his fault.
The Cardinals are 3-8-1 and might not be favored in another game at all. And they might not even get more wins than last year if this game becomes a trend versus a one-off.
Loser: The Status Quo for the Arizona Cardinals.
I’ll call my shot. I believe #KeimTime has come to an end, or that it will be by the end of this season.
Forget Vance Joseph questions, as that’s probably a foregone conclusion.
No, the issue is that the Cardinals whenever they have issues always seem to have the blame go straight to the top. Not to the players or Vance Joseph or even the head coach but the GM.
And that’s because there’s been four years in a row, that GM has worked to sell a plan to win games to fans and the organization alike. And it hasn’t worked. In 2016, a veteran team underpaid special teamers and saw injuries and a lack of depth force them to come back into 2017 for one more shot (vs. a rebuild) and the team scraped its way to a decent record despite no Carson Palmer and declining talent.
Last year, Keim sold Mike McCoy on offense and Wilks on defense and moved up to take Josh Rosen to sit behind Sam Bradford. (it ended poorly)
And now, he came into this year wanting the team to get back to being a top 10 defensive unit and that a 3-4 defensive coach with a whiz offensive mind could do it...and even throwing in Kyler Murray at QB with a few veterans.
Unfortunately...there wasn’t anything good in this game from a talent perspective to speak of.
And it means that instead of saying “Arizona just needs an offseason. Vance just needs his guys.” “Keim finally has cap room” that instead the decision-makers have shown that they aren’t just bumbling or clueless but rather, have embraced an approach that is actively hurting the team.
And as a result, I think that since their owner wants to win games, that means the status quo of 2016-2019 will be washed away. Which, in many cases, means that the biggest winner tonight is the future...even if a loser is all that’s known in the present.