Big Red Blog: Cardinals' Slide Continues

Following a 4-0 start, the Cardinals have now dropped three consecutive outings and are on their way to digging an insurmountable hole in the NFC West.


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Cardinals' slide continues

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, October 23 - 9:00 AM


Following a 4-0 start, the Cardinals have now dropped three consecutive outings and are on their way to digging an insurmountable hole in the NFC West. Arizona's latest setback against the Vikings continued to expose the team's most glaring shortcomings, particularly in the trenches.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Cardinals allowed seven more sacks and have now given up 35 sacks through the first seven games of the year. Despite the constant pressure, QB John Skelton played a respectable game completing 25-of-36 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown. Skelton, however, took a handful of punishing hits and never looked fully comfortable against the Minnesota pass rush.

Defensively, the Cardinals held their own and certainly would have had a chance to win if the offense pulled its weight. Arizona limited the Vikings to just 43 yards through the air but couldn't stop the run at critical points in the game. Minnesota racked up 166 yards on the ground, led by RB Adrian Peterson who accounted for 153 of those yards on 23 carries.

Opponents have identified a simple game plan to beat the Cardinals: run the ball and rush the passer. Over the past three games Arizona is allowing seven sacks per game and 147 yards per contest on the ground. Regardless of the opponent, those numbers won't equate to many victories in the NFL.

Despite the loss, a major positive was the Cardinals ability to run the ball against a tough Vikings front four. LaRod Stephens-Howling led the way, even though there were major concerns about him being a feature back. Stephens-Howling put those concerns to rest for the moment, racking up 104 yards rushing on 20 carries. He ran for a score and added four catches for 45 yards out of the backfield.

Another bright spot was the continued emergence of WR Andre Roberts. Roberts reeled in a team-high seven passes for 103 yards along with a touchdown. Roberts seems to have finally provided the Cardinals with a legitimate target opposite of All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald. The next item up for Arizona is for Fitzgerald and Roberts to be productive in the same game. Back in his home state, Fitzgerald was limited to just 29 yards receiving on four grabs.

In the surprisingly stiff NFC West division, the Cardinals are a loss or two away from being in a must-win situation on a weekly basis. Monday night's home tilt against the 49ers could be a make-or-break game for Arizona, something that would have been unthinkable just a few short weeks ago.


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Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com



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