Thoughts on Arizona Cardinals Loss the Morning After Tampa Bay
The Arizona Cardinals played another ‘should be able to win’ game on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which unfortunately turned into another ‘could have won’ loss. With another big game against the still undefeated 49ers, let’s take a look at some of the crucial aspects of Sunday’s game that the Cardinals will need to address.
Peterson seemed to be playing well throughout the game, it wasn’t until the 3rd quarter he seemed to have suffered some type of lower leg injury after being tripped up. Kingsbury substituted him with Kevin Peterson for a short time, then he was quickly back on the field. Until later in the 4th quarter, he appeared to have worsened the injury and was taken out again. We won’t know more about his injury until Wednesday.
Bucs kicker Matt Gay missed a field goal but unfortunately, Peterson committed a penalty which gave the Bucs another shot. This time it was good for 3 points. Reminder: Cardinals lost by 3 points today.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. Murray had a fine game. He’s making smarter choices, is better at scrambling and getting out of tackles, which is giving the receiver time to get down the field. Jameis Winston ran for a first down on Sunday, but he didn’t look comfortable doing it. Those kinds of plays make you realize how special Murray really is. K1 also broke a record today for having the most passes without an interception as a rookie. He surpassed Dak Prescott’s record of 177 set in 2016. Murray ended his streak at 211 after Tampa Bay rookie Jamel Dean picked him off. Arizona is 0-3-1 when Murray has an interception.
I’ve had a difficult time understanding why the past three Cardinals coaches have not utilized Larry Fitzgerald more. He has shown time and time again that he is beyond elite and his ability to control the ball and his body is second to none. On Sunday we got to see his talent on display. He made two huge receptions when it mattered most. We need to see him utilized more.
Again, let’s start with the positive. The punt fake that was drawn up for Andy Lee to chuck the ball down field – was nice! It ignited momentum and kept the drive going. Kingsbury deserves some credit for this play for sure. Like Murray, I think it’s fair to say we’ve seen
improvements in his coaching as well. Kingsbury seems to have a better understanding of what his players abilities and designing plays to maximize those benefits. He’s had to get creative with the roster given the injuries. While the injuries are to be expected, coach’s ability to develop players quickly (Kenyan Drake, Jalen and Deionte Thompson to name a few) is above average.
What I’d like to see him improve is clock management. The final drive of the game Kingsbury continued to push down the field instead of utilizing a time out or spiking the ball. This isn’t the first time he’s received this criticism because it isn’t the first time that it affected the outcome of the game.
Cardinals had both offensive and defensive penalties that, once again, contributed to the outcome of this game. Back-to-back false starts that made seemed reminiscent of the whole clap controversy in the beginning of the season. Defensive pass interference calls seemed to be the penalty of the day, for both teams.
While the Cardinals easily have an argument that the final play of the game could be reversed, the previously mentioned poor time management left them with no time on the clock. While this also brings up the topic of inconsistency amongst NFL officiating, the Cardinals need to work on discipline. It’s not just the rookies making these mistakes. D.J. Humphries, Patrick Peterson and Kevin Peterson all cost the team yards today.
Rodney Gunter walked off the field Sunday after an injury. We’ll have to monitor if anything comes from it.
It’s been fun watching Andy Isabella get more game time. He showcased his ability to turn on the jets again today.
There were times he appeared to need some direction on the field, but hopefully he can continue to grow and get make more big plays.
Christian Kirk continued his campaign for Pro-Bowl today with 3 TD’s. He and Murray communicate well. Probably all the history they have together. Whatever the case, it’s nice to see him back.
While we’re on the topic of pro-Bowl, Andy Lee, who is having an outstanding year can now add a passer rating of 118.8 to his resume.