Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians greets Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 31-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin
December 07, 2016

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) These Arizona Cardinals are not morning people.

The team heads east again this weekend, a direction that has not been kind to the Cardinals this season.

Arizona enters Sunday's game at Miami with an 0-3 record on the road against teams in the Eastern time zone. It's 0-4 if you throw in a game at Minnesota that also had an early start.

The games have started at either 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. Arizona time, depending on whether they were played before daylight saving time ended. The state does not observe daylight saving time, preferring to end those torrid summer days as quickly as possible.

The Cardinals' lone road victory thus far was at San Francisco, a team with the worst record in the NFL at 1-11.

The road losses include blowouts against Buffalo and Carolina and closer games against Minnesota and Atlanta.

''Poor starts, really poor starts,'' coach Bruce Arians said of the two one-sided defeats. ''A dropped pass in Buffalo, a busted assignment to a 50-yard run. A so-called fumble in Carolina that's a pick six. They picked it up and ran for a touchdown. It wasn't even a fumble.''

The officials said it was.

Against Minnesota and Atlanta, Arians said, ''I thought we were in both games and played very well in spurts. ... We've just got to make plays in the second half and handle the crowd noise when it's chaotic.''

The Cardinals, coming off one of their best performances of a disappointing season in a home win over Washington, take a 5-6-1 record into Miami, with a kickoff at 11 a.m. Arizona time. That's the same time the team practices during the week.

''That's why we practice so early and meet so early,'' Arians said, ''just so we're acclimated to Eastern time zones.''

The situation is puzzling, as is the entire Cardinals season, because most of the players were on a team that went 7-1 on the road last season.

Quarterback Carson Palmer sees no common denominator in the road losses.

''They're just games we haven't won,'' he said. ''... You need to quiet the questions and you do that by winning this one.''

At least the slow start problem seems to be solved.

The Cardinals scored on their first possession in the 38-19 loss at Atlanta and took the opening kickoff and used up more than eight minutes in a touchdown drive in Sunday's 31-23 victory over the Redskins.

''It's something we've got to continue to do,'' Palmer said. ''Something we've put a ton of focus on the last four or five weeks and finally the last two weeks we've done it. You go on the road like this it's huge if we can win the coin toss and get the ball and go down and score. It's a huge momentum gainer and we've got to do it this week.''

Notes: Running back David Johnson was named NFC offensive player of the week for his performance against Washington. ... Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Frostee Rucker - ''old guys,'' Arians called them - had the day off as has been the case on recent Wednesdays. ... Arians said ''your guess is as good as mine'' as to when safety Tyrann Mathieu returns from a shoulder injury that sidelined him against Washington. ''Range of motion is a little bit of a problem right now but the strength is coming back.''


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