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Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals lose more than a game 31-21 on the road against the Panthers

“The Cards aren’t who we thought they were” writes @blakemurphy7

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. That was bad.

Through the first half of the Cardinals game they looked at over 240 yards on offense while Arizona had 54 passing yards from Murray and looked hapless on offense.

The team let the Panthers march down the field on two consecutive drives to go up 14-0 and it didn’t look good.

In fact, it was just as bad as the Panthers game last year.

On offense, the Cardinals looked sluggish, with a lack of running north-south and preferring these short, horizontal passes and a lack of rushing attack.

Kyler had a long run to spark a scoring drive that ended with a touchdown to Christian Kirk but the question was, how would Arizona respond?

Terribly.

It’s hard to pick out what went well rather than what was bad.

Kyler missed a wide open Fitzgerald, looked slow on the trigger and couldn’t seem to make plays with his legs but was bottled up.

Kirk did nothing outside of catch a 3 yard touchdown.

The offensive line was terrible and Kyler got hit all game...like hit after hit even though he wasn’t sacked.

Kenyan Drake went from looking special to looking like that injury from camp was affecting him and Chase Edmonds wasn’t able to break many long gains but did have a clutch 3rd down conversion. They were off all day. He was just inaccurate.

The other side of the ball was even worse.

Patrick Peterson looked slow in covering Robby Anderson.

The run defense was atrocious, with multiple missed tackles.

They couldn’t stop a runny nose on 3rd down, with all day for Teddy Bridgewater seeming to throw.

Chandler Jones was missing in action again.

In short—Arizona let up pressure with their 5 linemen versus the Panthers 4 rushers and they couldn’t get pressure with their four guys.

It looked like a game out of 2019...but even in 2019 Kyler looked better.

It was a gut-check game that kind of...changes everything.

Fans went into the Detroit game expecting for the team to win the next two games and have a chance to start 5-0.

Instead they had a sloppy game to Detroit with three interceptions and followed it up by an absolutely atrocious showing.

And that might alter expectations. Gone are playoff expectations for fans. They might now be hoping for a win against the Jets next week and to not get blown out in Primetime by Dallas.

No part of the game went well.

Outcoached.

Outplayed.

Overmatched.

The “same old Cardinals on the east coast” narrative hasn’t changed yet this season and for a fanbase that was in sore need of a jolt in the arm provided by Kliff, Kyler, Hopkins and a resurgent defense, it felt like they took two steps back.

There’s no one free of blame except Deionte Thompson, who had a solid game replacing the impact of Baker.

GM Steve Keim is gonna come under flak again having not been able to find depth at the safety position and for depending on drafting Isaiah Simmons rather than addressing the offensive line.

It seems the Cardinals’ weren’t too big for their britches from Week 1 and 2. Now without their stars in Chandler/P2/Budda playing or playing well they seemed unable to stop anyone.

Goes without saying—football is about blocking and tackling and Arizona did neither. Why?

Is it talent? Coaching? All of the above?

The team has a lot of questions and in the toughest division in football, for a team that wants to escape the basement and find themselves on the side of success, today was a game that might have some fans questioning if there’s ever any hope for a light at the end of the tunnel.

For now?

There will be ripping and gnashing of teeth by fans who’ve seen what looked like a special season now evaporate as we’re left with one truth after the Cardinals failed to compete on offense and couldn’t stop anyone on defense.

For all intents and purposes the season isn’t over...but it feels like it is.

And for once, we get to say with disappointment:

“The Cards aren’t who we thought they were.”