The Recap Week 5: Chiefs @ Cardinals

Despite the success they enjoyed the previous Sunday, the Cardinals seemed more determined than ever to focus on the task at hand. They knew that as talented a team as they faced in Atlanta, they faced an even more dangerous foe with Kansas City coming into town.

RB Larry Johnson came into the contest having already racked up over 700 yards in total offense and no team had come close to figuring him out so far this year. The same could have been said at the conclusion of this game, as well.

From the beginning, Arizona fans knew they were in for a long day. KR Daunte Hall returned the opening kickoff all the way to the Cardinals 33. From there, QB Trent Green and Johnson went to work, needing only 2 plays to get into the endzone. The first, a pass to WR Sammie Parker, got the Chiefs' offense down to the 12 and Larry Johnson took the handoff on the next play to go nearly untouched across the goalline. It was frightening how easily the Chiefs marched into the endzone as there was no pressure or penetration by the defensive front whatsoever.

Things only got worse from there. After starting their drive deep in their own territory, thanks to a holding call against LB Brandon Johnson, the Arizona offensive unit promptly gave up their first sack of the day. LB Kendrell Bell formally introduced himself to QB Kurt Warner at the Arizona 6, nearly recovering the ensuing fumble before Warner was able to regain control. The Chiefs defense never allowed Warner to get into a rhythm by keeping him on his heels with effective blitzes from every direction. On the very next play, CB Patrick Surtain met RB Edgerrin James in the backfield as he was taking a handoff, again causing a fumble, this time recovered by Warner. As has become customary, the Cards were forced to punt after running only thee plays on their opening drive when WR Larry Fitzgerald dropped an on-target pass. That also became a trend for the remainder of the half, as Arizona would not record a first down until their first series of the second half.

The Kansas City offense, on the other hand, was on cruise control, only being forced to punt twice in 9 series. In both of those cases, it was clear that poor execution was the culprit and not anything the Arizona defense was doing. The offensive line play was tremendous, keeping the Cardinals defense away from QB Trent Green as well as keeping defenders off the line of scrimmage. Essentially allowing Johnson a 3-4 yard running start on every rushing play, the line played a key role in his 220 yard, 3 TD performance. By the halfway point of the game, the Chiefs held a 29-0 lead.

When the game resumed, it looked as if the Cardinals would be able to at least save some face by having a respectable second half, but just as in the first half, the wheels fell off. The Cardinals collected their first first-down on an 11 yard rush by RB Marcel Shipp, who was lined up alongside James in a Pro-set formation. After 11 plays and 68 yards on the 5:15 minute drive and at the Kansas City 12, QB Kurt Warner was sandwiched again by a blitzing Bell and DT Ryan Sims. Warner fumbled again and this time wasn't as fortunate as the fumble was recovered by DE Jimmy Wilkerson. It was the last time the Cardinals offense would cross the Chiefs' 40 yard line. 

As in the first half, the Kansas City offensive unit had very few problems, none of which was a lack of point production. They continued the rout even after the starters were pulled following the end of the 3rd quarter. QB Damon Huard actually finished with more passing yardage (9-11, 181 yards) than Kurt Warner (13-30, 175 yards), while only participating in the final quarter. By the end of this laugher, the Cardinals were content with inserting QB John Navarre to hand the ball off to Shipp to eat up the clock.

Cardinals lose 49-0.

On tap:

The Cardinals will embrace the extra day of rest they'll get this week due to their first appearance on Monday Night Football in more than 10 years. They'll be preparing for the 3-2 Chicago Bears while trying to shake off this embarrassing loss. They'll have their hands full with the defending NFC North champs and the surprisingly productive QB Rex Grossman, who has thus far avoided the injury-bug that has bitten so often in his career. The Cardinals will need to dust themselves off quickly and prepare for yet another formidable offensive attack if they are to have a shot in the bright lights of Monday Night.

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