What was once a strong 4-0 start to the season for the Cardinals has quickly spiraled downhill, after they suffered their third straight loss, 21-14, to the Vikings in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday.
What went wrong for the Cardinals in this game?
1. The offensive line, which looked good early in the game, reverted back to their recent form, allowing John Skelton to be sacked seven times (they’ve given up 35 sacks in seven games).
2. John Skelton threw a pick six to rookie Harrison Smith, which proved to be the difference in the scoring on the day.
Skelton also fumbled the ball away as well.
You can’t turn the ball over in the NFL, let alone allow the opposition to score off the turnover(s).
3. The Cardinals had nine penalties for 82 yards. Too many penalties, too many yards. Unacceptable.
4. The Cardinals allowed Adrian Peterson to run ragged on them. He had 153 yards and a touchdown. His longest run was 27 yards.
5. Christian Ponder had two turnovers and the Cardinals couldn’t take advantage of either one.
6. On 4th-and-5 late in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were called for a delay of game penalty, dropping them back five yards. On 4th-and-10, Skelton was sacked, killing their drive.
What were the bright spots I saw?
1. Despite its inability to generate points, the offense moved, gaining 356 yards. If only they could’ve scored more.
2. LaRod Stephens-Howling played extremely well. He had 104 yards rushing and another 45 yards through the air. He gave a definite spark to the offense.
3. Daryl Washington was his usual vicious self, with a team leading nine tackles and two sacks. It’s his first multi-sack game of his career.
4. The defense as a whole was on its game, Peterson’s performance not withstanding. Ponder had only 58 yards passing and the two picks.
The Vikings offense was 1-for-10 on third down for the game.
5. The Cardinals had 21 first downs to the Vikings’ 12, and held the ball for 35 minutes.
Things don’t get any easier for the team, as the 49ers come calling next Monday night in Glendale, Ariz., followed by a trip to Green Bay, Wisc., to take on the Packers before the bye.
Things have to get fixed and fixed in a hurry before the season is lost.