It’s hard to know where to start with the Arizona Cardinals’ game today.
What’s there to talk about?
Kliff Kingsbury’s unit suffered injuries, yes, brutal injuries to their starting offensive line.
With Rodney Hudson out, and with a Justin Pugh injury along with their top 2 running backs out, the Cardinals offensive struggles were about to meet a Seahawks defense that had been allowing pretty much all the points to every team and was 32nd against the run.
The defense did their job, holding Seattle to 19 points (under 20 again!) and the special teams even forced a critical score with a blocked punt for a touchdown to put the Cardinals back into the game.
Instead of seeing success…the Cardinals offense saw their head coach refuse to trust their kicker from 40 yards, go 1⁄4 on 4th down and put only 3 points on the board.
And the idea of Kliff Kingsbury, his offense or even developing quarterbacks will continue to be under fire.
There’s going to be a lot of talk about if Vance Joseph’s coaching got Keim and Kliff their extensions, but not nearly as much talk as for how Arizona came into a game that was full of opportunities.
They had a chance to go and be tied for first in the division. Instead?
They’re in last place in the division and heading into a Thursday Night game and probably without Hollywood Brown.
Despite DeAndre Hopkins coming back, it feels like despair is about to set in for the Cardinals’ fanbase.
This team was supposed to be better, especially on offense. And instead, there’s nothing but questions and revocations.
I’ll be honest—I had wondered if this team was going to look like this in 2021, and they went on a 10-2 tear until Hopkins & Watt went down and it fell apart. Michael Bidwill, I think, looked at the Cardinals and saw it as a talent deficiency and ran it back.
Instead, we have to wonder if simply the Cardinals had caught a bit of lightning in a bottle and were healthy…and if the real key issue wasn’t just overall talent, but rather talent AND depth.
And that’s all on GM Steve Keim.
Let’s look, however at how the season isn’t over. There’s no doubt that the Cardinals have shown the capacity to win games and heck, they’ve been close! They took the Eagles to 3 points and were this game away from going back to tied in the lead for the division.
Instead, however, the feeling of despair is starting to set in for fans who are looking at the Cardinals and how they’ve not only failed to meet those 3-3 expectations…they’re lucky to have a win on their schedule (besides, you know, the one coach who was already fired).
It begs the question: can the Cardinals overcome this?
Tenacity and grit is the ability to overcome adversity, and the defense has seemingly shown improvement, while the offense…has regressed as long as Hop hasn’t been on the field.
So to me, I think that Kliff and Keim need to “earn” their way back into their jobs through a strong finish to the season.
If you see the Cardinals fail again and end up with a top 10 pick or finish 4th in the division….then that’s what we expected in 2019 from them.
It’s not what we expected in 2022, four years later!
And that’s central to where Kliff is but in the end, we saw Arizona go and put up a score, come out strong…and then once they lost Justin Pugh, it all went downhill.
This is Steve Keim’s offensive line. Has been since 2018 with Pugh, Humphries (who have played well) and his trade for Rodney Hudson and signing of Kelvin Beachum. The Cardinals had a lot of trouble, and we’ve seen Kyler Murray be under duress, making mistakes and missing targets.
And at the end of the day, if the Cardinals drop a Thursday night game, even winning the next 3 games in a row against a red hot NFC East team it might not matter if the team’s able to push for a wildcard spot.
The league, thankfully, is at an all-time low.
It’s just a regret that Arizona can’t take advantage of it thus far.