The Arizona Cardinals offense has its share of issues, just like the Vikings offense. There are issues in the red zone, on third down and with Kevin Kolb feeling comfortable with the offense.
The Cardinals might not have plugged every hole in their defense, but things aren't leaking as badly as they did in the first two weeks.
Now, they have to find a watch to patch up the offense.
The defense wasn't great against the Giants. It did yield two touchdowns in the final five minutes in the 31-27 loss. But it also played well in the first three quarters, and forced turnovers that resulted in 10 points.
It's the offense's fault that it wasn't more. The Cardinals had three possessions inside the Giants 20 in the first half, yet came away with only six points.
The biggest problem is converting on third downs. The Cardinals are 6 of 26 in their last two games, including 1 of 8 in the fourth quarters of those two games.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb
is going through growing pains with this offense. While he's made some good throws and led some impressive drives, he's also made poor decisions.
Many of his passes haven't been sharp, and he still seems conflicted about when to move from the pocket and when to hang in.
Even with the defensive collapse, the Cardinals had the ball in their hands with a chance to win late. That's been the case in each of their three losses. They've failed each time, and the last two failures are largely due to Kolb's mistakes.
He had an interception in Seattle, and against the Giants he took a sack on a screen pass that was perfectly set up. That turned a second-and-1 situation into third and 11. The Cardinals couldn't gain a first down in two plays, effectively ending the game.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt was diplomatic when discussing the officials ruling that Giants Victor Cruz "gave himself up" at the end of the game rather than fumbling. "I'll be perfectly honest with you," Whisenhunt said. "It really doesn't matter what I think. I threw the challenge flag and they wouldn't allow me to challenge it, so they made the ruling and I have no choice but to live by that ruling. But I'll tell you this, it shouldn't have come down to that play. It shouldn't have mattered with that play. If we had done some of the things better that were in our control in that game, it would have never come to that."
WR Larry Fitzgerald had 102 yards receiving, enough to pass Roy Green and become the franchise's all-time leader in receiving with 8,565 yards. It was also Fitzgerald's 28th game with at least 100 receiving yards. That's also a franchise record.
"The only record I'm concerned about now is 1-3," Fitzgerald said. "That leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. What's important is winning ballgames. That's what we're paid to do, and that's what the people who come to watch us play expect."
The Cardinals think they are better than their 1-3 record indicates. But they aren't making excuses, guard Rex Hadnot said. "Nothing being said, or crying about it, will change it. The only thing that will change it is the 60 minutes we get on Sundays."
NT David Carter, a rookie, made his first sack. He also forced a fumble on the play and the Cardinals recovered at the 5. They scored two plays later. "I got to make a name for myself," Carter said. "I'm a sixth-round draft pick. I've got to make people wish they got me in the first. That's what I'm trying to do."
RB Beanie Wells set career highs in rushing attempts (27), yards (138) and touchdowns (3) last week. He didn't seem to be slowed by a hamstring strain and should be ready to play against the Vikings.
RB Alfonso Smith likely would become the featured back if something happened to starter Beanie Wells. Smith is small (210) pounds but he's fast and has shown explosiveness. He has passed Chester Taylor on the depth chart.
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling played last week after missing two games with a hand injury. Stephens-Howling played a little on offense and on coverage teams. He didn't return kicks, however. A.J. Jefferson is handling that job, at least for now.
RB Chester Taylor appears to have dropped to fourth on the depth chart. He started in Seattle but looked slow, or at least indecisive.
WR Larry Fitzgerald is seeing double teams on most every play. The Cardinals are using him on shorter routes and trying to identify the times when he does have single coverage.
WR Andre Roberts is a starter, but Early Doucet, the third receiver, is a more dangerous target. Roberts did not have a catch against the Giants and was not targeted.
TE Todd Heap is starting to emerge as a receiving threat. The team is trying to get him open deep down the middle but has failed so far.
TE Jeff King will catch a pass or two a game, but his main job is blocking.
K Jay Feely made two short field goal attempts last week after missing three of four in the first three games. The short ones may have been what Feely needed to get in a groove.
ILB Stewart Bradley still can't get on the field. The Cardinals signed him to a five-year, $30 million deal, but Bradley can't beat out Paris Lenon. Bradley is making the transition from the 4-3 to a 3-4, and his learning curve is steeper than expected.
NT David Carter is backing up Dan Williams but they are playing a similar number of snaps. Carter, a sixth-round pick, has been a huge surprise. He had the first sack of his NFL career last week, causing a fumble in the process.
C Lyle Sendlein continues to play well. He's the steadiest offensive lineman on the team, and his ability to adjust protections has helped quarterback Kevin Kolb.
DE Calais Campbell continues to play well. He had 2.5 sacks in Week 3 and added seven tackles against the Giants.
DE Darnell Dockett doesn't have huge tackle or sack numbers but he's making an impact. For instance, Dockett had four tackles against the Giants, but two of them were for losses.