Well that sure wasn’t the game we were hoping for. I don’t think most Cardinals fans actually thought we would win against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, but everyone was expecting more than the lackluster 27-10 loss we got. It was just a poor effort all around—planning, effort, execution.
It was a bad performance that got ugly at times—but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything good about the game at all. So let’s start with that.
Larry Fitzgerald’s Record: Fitz had a quiet game (5 receptions for 47 yards), but he passed Tony Gonzalez for 2nd on the all-time NFL receptions list late in the 4th quarter. You know he’d have traded the record for a team win, but it was still a nice moment in an otherwise depressing game. What a tremendous accomplishment for the best, most beloved player in Valley sports history.
Byron Murphy’ Play: The rookie’s play was the lone bright spot for the secondary yesterday—he was a major factor in limiting the impact of Seattle’s talented WR duo (5/57 combined from Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf). He was seemingly always around the ball and made a couple nice plays in the red zone. You could argue there was a ball or two he could have intercepted, but it was still an encouraging effort from the 2nd-round pick.
- Kyler Murray scored his first career rushing TD. Kyler’s usage in the running game continues to expand. He could have a field day in Cincinnati next week.
- David Johnson had a big day as a receiver, catching 8 balls for 99 yards. He might be needed as a receiver more than ever next week if Christian Kirk’s injury proves serious (see below).
- Terrell Suggs had a vintage game off the edge, racking up 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, 2 TFLs, and a QB hit (to go along with 8 combined tackles). We won’t get this from him every week, but he was a force out there yesterday.
Zane Gonzalez’s Misses: The former Sun Devil’s run of perfection finally ended, as he went 1/3 on field goals in the loss. Neither of the misses were gimmes (43 and 48 yards), but the game could have looked a lot different in the second half if he had been able to convert those kicks. Let’s just hope this was a one-week blip and that he’s reliable again next week against the Bengals.
The Defense: The defense showed a bit of improvement, holding the opposing offense to under 400 yards for the first time all season and only giving up 20 points (the other 7 were on Jadeveon Clowney’s impressive pick-six). But no one watching the game should have come away impressed. Chris Carson ran the ball at will, another TE ate us alive (Will Dissly went 7/57/1 TD) and Russell Wilson was surgical even if his overall numbers weren’t gaudy (240 yards and 1 TD). You got the feeling that the Seahawks brought their B-game but still got just about everything they wanted against a defense that routinely missed tackles, took poor angles, and blew coverages. It’s time to phase out veterans who aren’t pulling their weight (I’m looking at you, D.J. Swearinger and Tramaine Brock) and see what we have with younger players. Oh, and if someone could figure out how to properly use Budda Baker, that would help, too.
- The offensive line is still a massive liability. The effort is there, but this unit is severely lacking in talent. An offseason overhaul is badly needed—too bad there are still 12 games left to play.
- Our wide receivers were absolutely smothered yesterday, with Fitz, Kirk, KeeSean Johnson, and Trent Sherfield combining for just 12 receptions for 118 yards. We need more out of this group if we expect to win.
- As good as DJ looked in the passing game, he was a dud in the running game, gaining only 40 yards on his 11 carries and looking decisively less explosive than Chase Edmonds. Will Edmonds see more usage moving forward?
Christian Kirk’ Injury: Christian Kirk’s leg bended in ways legs aren’t supposed to bend late in the loss. He actually stayed in the game and caught a pass on the next play, but he headed to the locker room after that. Kirk had shown signs of breaking out the first few weeks, and the offense can ill afford to lose a player of his caliber. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery.
We’re Still Winless: The team has show obvious signs of progress, at least on offense, and we’ve been in every game into the second half. But this team still has the same number of wins at the end of the first month of the season as last season’s vastly inferior squad: a big, fat ZERO. (We do have a better winning percentage this year though by virtue of the tie versus Detroit. Hurray?) An improved offense, better QB play, and a solid rookie class are all good things, but eventually wins are going to have to follow to get people believing in the direction of this rebuild. If the wins don’t start coming, people’s jobs are going to be on the line—and not just on the field. Vance Joseph’s seat is probably the hottest of anyone’s right now, but the guy who hired him might be starting to sweat as well. If the team can’t win 2-3 more games than last season, would Michael Bidwill send Steve Keim packing? At 0-3-1, it’s not to soon to start asking that question.
- Kyler Murray’s pocket awareness didn’t look much better this week—he took a couple more of his now-patented “run backward and lose an extra 5 yards” sacks. That needs to stop.
- The Cardinals were 3-9 on third down, keeping their conversion percentage at a putrid 33.3%. We simply have to stop getting into so many 3rd-and-longs.
- Tramaine Brock’s unnecessary roughness penalty was ultimately meaningless, but penalties like that are totally unacceptable from a veteran like Brock.
For a season that started with such promise, it’s getting harder and harder to see the silver lining as the losses pile up—especially with the last two losses at home. Next week’s road trip to Cincinnati suddenly has a hint of desperation about it.
How are you feeling, Cardinals fans? Did you see anything good out there yesterday? Or was it mostly bad/ugly? Give us your own GBU in the comments.