Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians agreed Sunday's loss against Buffalo was the team's worst road start during their tenure.
The Cardinals started the game with five straight three-and-outs, and Arians highlighted a critical drop by veteran receiver Michael Floyd on the first series of the contest as a pivotal play in Arizona's demise Sunday.
"I thought our defense did a great job of setting up field position, getting a three and out, getting a sack and we drop a pass," Arians said. "It was as simple as that, you want to start fast you catch the ball. Because now you're at the 30, you're going to get points so that to me was a big critical play as far as starting fast."
Floyd's drop was not the only play that drew the ire of Arians, as a late interception thrown by quarterback Carson Palmer at the goal line was a result of a poor route from the former first round draft choice. Even though Arians placed the bulk of the blame on his quarterback for Palmer's interceptions, he did single out the interception Palmer threw to a cornerback in front of Floyd as one that represented a communication breakdown between the quarterback and wide receiver.
"He (Palmer) threw them all, they're all on him," Arians said. "He was expecting Michael Floyd to break in front of that guy on the flag route which he should have. He gave Jaron (Brown) a 50-50 ball twice, stared the first one down, but the second one he just didn't get it high or deep enough. He was taking chances to try to get us back in the game."
A rough Sunday turned into a concerning Monday for Floyd, who woke up with a headache after hitting his head against the turf on a jump ball in Buffalo. Though he cleared concussion protocol from an independent specialist during the game and was allowed to return to the field, the Cardinals are taking precautions with Floyd and having him enter the concussion protocol process again.
"We are putting Michael Floyd through the concussion protocol, he cleared it on the sideline from the independent guy but he had a headache today and we just want to be very safe with him," Arians said.
Aside from Floyd, Arians mentioned a handful of other offensive players who turned in disappointing performances for Arizona Sunday including replacement right guard Earl Watford and second-year offensive tackle D.J. Humphries. From the start of training camp, Arizona emphasized the developing relationship between veteran guard Evan Mathis and Humphries as critical for Humphries' development, because Mathis does an excellent job with communication along the offensive line.
Mathis was forced to miss Sunday's contest with a turf toe injury, and as a result, Arians said communication broke down on the road in a loud environment.
"First time on the road in the crowd noise, there were some communication issues as far as just talking to the guy next to you and you have to learn from that, especially with Earl (Watford) and D.J. (Humphries) over there."
Mathis was listed in Arians' injury update Monday, as the Cardinals' head coach said the 34-year-old guard is progressing and feeling better. While the team was encouraged by the news of Mathis, Arizona may be without tight end Troy Niklas and punter Drew Butler this week, who both suffered significant injuries in Buffalo.
"Troy Niklas has a wrist, it could be severe, Evan Mathis is getting better and Drew Butler is going to miss some time with the sprained Achilles and foot combination," Arians said. "Other than those guys, Frostee (Rucker) is still going to be down for another week, but I think Kareem (Martin) will be able to get back into some action, we'll see how that goes."