Defense Not The Problem In Loss

The new look Arizona Cardinals fell flat on their face in their first chance to establish themselves as a legitimate contender for the NFC West title. In a game after which they could have said "we've arrived" the Cards instead, squandered away practically every chance they had against the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.

As if the Cardinals needed any obstacles to overcome early in the game, because defeating the division champs on their home field wasn't hard enough, the Cards gave up two touchdowns in the first ten minutes.

            Scores by Shawn Alexander and Darrell Jackson jump-started a Seattle offense that managed only 3 field goals last week against the Detroit Lions and the stage was set for another lackluster outing by the Cards in a division game that absolutely refused to way live up to the shoot-out that Cards fans expected.

Alexander got into the end zone early and showed Arizona fans what a real rushing attack looks like when he ran off tackle for 2 yards to cap off an 80 yard drive that made the Cards D-line look more like blocking dummies than actual defensive lineman. Alexander only rushed for 89 yards on 26 carries, a 3.4-yard avg., but while the Cards did a decent job of containing him, they had no answer for the rest of the Seattle rushing attack. Mack Strong carried three times for 30 yards and Maurice Morris, 25 yards on 4 attempts caught a befuddled Cardinal defense off guard multiple times during the game.

            The Cardinals continued to showcase their all or nothing style of defense in Seattle, sacking Hasselbeck three times but also giving up big plays when coverage broke down. On the first play of the game from scrimmage, Cards DT Darnell Dockett sacked Hasselbeck for a 10 yard loss, two plays later it was third-and-12, and rather than capitalizing on a good situation, defensive back Robert Tate allowed Darrell Jackson to gain 47-yards on high school level seam route. While the Cardinals defense was absent and made to keep guessing, the offense poses the greatest concern for a team that's success is pre-empted by their ability to put up points in a hurry.

            For the second week in a row Edgerrin James was held under 100-yards and the passing game looked good only when the game was already lost. With no holes to run through James was stifled and only gained 64-yards on 18 carries, his long run was for 14-yards in the 3rd quarter that was immediately followed by a Leonard Davis false start penalty that the Cards couldn't recover from, leading to a Scott Player punt.

            Kurt Warner: 24/38 completions for 231-yards with 1 td and 1 interception, was sacked five times on the day and was under constant pressure. The only touchdown he had came with just under 12 minutes remaining, once the game was for all purposes out of reach, when he found a streaking Bryant Johnson down the middle of the field for 40-yards. But rather than follow up the score with another scoring drive after a Hasselbeck interception, Adam Bergen fumbled the ball and any hope of a Cardinals comeback.

            In the game that was supposed to be the measuring stick for the Cardinals they came up short, very short. The list of problems is long and they need to address every aspect of their game, with the exception of stellar punter Scott Player. They better hurry too, because the St. Louis Rams get into town in seven days and if they perform in Glendale, the way they did in Seattle, then there's going to be another bird besides the Cards taking up residence in the Valley, the boo-birds.

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