Four Down Territory: Too good to be true
Things that are too good to be true.
It's banter straight out of the old $10,000 Pyramid game show.
There is a reason it was difficult to believe what you were seeing in the first half of the Cards/Ravens game. We are, after all, seasoned, experienced Cardinals fans; expecting the worst and hoping for the best is passed down among generations. How they lost is stunning. That they lost isn't.
The benefits from a potential signature victory over the Ravens are hard to quantify. Certainly some buzz would have been restored. Instead the Cards are 1-6 and the great tune-out of 2011 is set to begin any moment now. Here are my four main thoughts from this game, as we enter (cue dramatic music) four down territory.
First Down: The Big Tease
From 9:07 to 3:52 in the second quarter the Cardinals were stunningly good. Pressure on the quarterback from the young Cardinals linebackers, forcing turnovers, turning those miscues into touchdowns, pocket presence from Kevin Kolb, protection up front, Patrick Peterson's jaw dropping punt return for a touchdown. During those remarkable five minutes and 15 seconds the Cardinals were like a defibrillator, shocking a pulse back into themselves and their fan base. The whole thing felt like a dream. Maybe it was.
Second Down: Surprise, Surprise
Credit where credit is due: I never thought Beanie Wells would be available for this game after suffering the knee injury. Instead he played and played well at the beginning of the game. He appeared to wear down as the game went on but the fact that he played was commendable.
Third Down: That loud beeping noise you heard……
….was the Cardinals going in reverse in the second half. In every phase. The offense gained only 56 yards in the 2nd half while the Ravens racked up 249 yards after halftime. Kevin Kolb was under intense duress all while holding the ball in a manner that practically invited someone to knock it out of his hands, receivers dropped balls. All told, Kolb threw for only 27 yards in the second half. The Ravens, meanwhile, went into a shotgun formation and shredded the Cardinals defense, which leads us to……
Fourth Down: Today's game brought to you by the letter Q
Anquan Boldin dismantled A.J. Jefferson, Patrick Peterson and Richard Marshall to the tune of seven targets, five catches and 117 yards in the second half. Not to mention the number of flags he drew or the personal satisfaction he seemed to take in the dominance over his former employer. Meanwhile, Larry Fitzgerald was targeted only five times the entire game with three catches for 98 yards.