Updated Oct 24, 2011 - 9:28 am
Cardinals still struggling to make plays
Ken Whisenhunt spoke for three minutes and 20 seconds.
The Cardinals head coach didn't say much after the Cardinals' 32-20 loss to the Steelers, the team's fifth straight, other than the same thing he has since Week 1.
"It was a good football team that we played, and they made the plays today and we didn't make enough," Whisenhunt said.
The Cardinals may say their theme is "We do this together," but in reality it should be something about not making plays. Because if there's one thing to take away from the team through six games, it's that they are not lacking in chances.
Take, for instance, QB Kevin Kolb failing to connect with a wide-open Rob Housler for what would have been a game-tying touchdown in the second quarter. Make that play and the Cardinals have momentum. Instead the ball fell incomplete and a couple plays later (following a punt) the Steelers scored on a 95-yard pass to Mike Wallace.
Instead of being tied at seven the Steelers held a 14-0 lead.
"That's what I'm talking about," Whisenhunt said. "We have to be able to make those plays."
Have to be able to, yes. Physically capable of making them? The jury is still out on that one.
Then again, it would be unfair to point to one moment in a game that featured many critical situations. Even with Arizona's sluggish start, the team was able to get to within three early in the second half, but the Steelers responded with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to push the lead back to 10. The Cardinals would get no closer.
"It is important that we work in concert as units," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said of the drive. "When things are going well, to stack positive things on positive things, and likewise when things go south it is important that you pick each other back up.
It hasn't happened like that for the Cardinals, not in a long while. Even the very next series, with the Cardinals still in the game, began on the team's seven-yard line after a penalty nullified a solid return by LaRod Stephens- Howling, and on the first play from scrimmage Kolb was flagged for intentional grounding. In the end zone. For a safety.
"Maybe there were one or two things I could have done better on that play," Kolb said. "That was a critical play in the game."
Just one play over the course of a 60-minute football game, but they can add up pretty quickly. Have more bad than good and you get the Cardinals, losers of five straight and left simply searching for answers, hoping things will turn around.
"What I said to [the team] after the game today is that the league is about making plays," Whisenhunt said.
Problem is the Cardinals are failing to do just that.
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