The Arizona Cardinals hit the road and headed west for Week 12 and were blown out, losing 45-10 to the Los Angeles Chargers in Carson, California. With the loss, the Cards fall to 2-9. The Chargers improve to 8-3.
Here are five things we learned Sunday in SoCal.
1. Lightning Bolt…After jumping out to a quick 10-0 lead, the Chargers stormed back scoring 28 unanswered points taking a 28-10 lead into halftime. It was the most points the Cards have allowed in one quarter since 1940. The Bolts averaged close to seven yards per play in the first half, while Arizona’s offense bogged down as LA nearly doubled the Cards’ total yards as the wheels started coming off on a sunny day on the west coast. Josh Rosen didn’t have 100 yards passing into the fourth quarter and Larry Fitzgerald was targeted just twice, one a 25-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.
2. Olay!…Is late November too late to go back to the basics? The struggle was real on both sides of the ball for Arizona. Defensively, the Cards looked a step slow and, most of the time, out of position as LA’s skill players ran over and around Al Holcomb’s defense. Los Angeles finished with over 400 total yards and most of the Chargers’ offensive starters sat out the entire final quarter in what turned out to be easily the most lopsided NFL game of the weekend.
3. Rolling Rivers…Philip Rivers isn’t always mentioned among the “elite” modern-day quarterbacks but no one can argue the incredible Hall-of-Fame-worthy career numbers he’s put up during his time with the Chargers. While maybe not the most athletic, Rivers is certainly one of the smartest QB’s and Sunday was no different as he picked apart Arizona’s secondary with precision throws from different arm angles all over the field. He was a perfect 19-19 for 187 yards and two touchdowns (both to Mike Williams) in the first half. Rivers was a jaw-dropping 25-25 midway through the third quarter, tying an NFL record for consecutive completions.
4. Robert the Rubik’s Cube…Ah, the mystery that is Robert Nkemdiche took yet another turn. The former first-round pick was, at times, unblockable. He registered 2.5 first-half sacks and was a frequent visitor in LA’s backfield all afternoon. Nkemdiche finished tied for second with eight tackles in what many would consider his best all-around game as a pro. Now, what will he do for an encore?
5. Now What?…Cardinals’ President Michael Bidwill has been radio silent most of this disastrous season. The team is not improving and some would argue even Rosen’s progress has flat-lined a bit, getting little help around him from a mis-matched, injury-riddled offensive line and lack of consistent playmakers around him, sans Fitzgerald and rookie Christian Kirk who again led Arizona in both receptions (four) and yards (41). Is the clock ticking on first-year coach Steve Wilks? More importantly, should it be, considering the hand he was dealt in 2018? That’s up for Bidwill to decide moving forward. The road gets no easier next week against the desperate Packers at Lambeau Field.