Wallowing in the wake of Arizona’s lost football weekend
Mondays stink. They stink even more in the wake of a lost football weekend that started with defeats for Arizona State and Arizona, and ended with a loss by the Cardinals and what looks like a significant injury for running back David Johnson.
A moment of perspective is required here to recognize that something far more significant was lost 16 years ago on this day than a trio of football games by local teams.
Maybe that memory can remind us not to focus on trivial things.
Not much was expected of the ASU and UA football teams anyway, but having those concerns validated with home losses to Mountain West Conference and American Athletic Conference teams stung no less for the Sun Devils’ and Wildcats’ fan bases on Saturday night.
San Diego State and Houston are good college football programs. Houston was ranked last season until a season-ending loss to Memphis and Las Vegas Bowl loss to San Diego State that vaulted the Aztecs into the final AP poll. Houston lost just one game two seasons ago, and defeated Florida State in the Peach Bowl to end up No. 8 in the nation. San Diego State has won back-to-back conference titles on the strength of consecutive 11-win seasons.
Those credentials aside, when you’re a Power Five conference team, you’re supposed to win those games, especially at home, and especially if you hope to play in a significant bowl game — or any bowl game. The respective performances of the ASU and UA offenses raised valid questions about these teams’ ability to make it to the postseason.
Speaking of poor offensive performances, much was expected of the Arizona Cardinals offense this season. Coach Bruce Arians believed that a more rested and better-managed Carson Palmer, a healthy John Brown, a maturing Johnson and a more effective offensive line would put the Cards but back on the high-speed track they occupied in 2014 and 2015. None of those beliefs were realized in a sloppy, 35-23 road loss to the Detroit Lions.
With Palmer approaching his 38th birthday, the calls for Blaine Gabbert were predictable and pitiful. Palmer had a good season last year when you dive into the stats and take into account the state of his protection. He had a bad game on Sunday, and that happens in Week 1 of the NFL season.
“I just didn’t do a good enough job,” he said in simple summation.
Palmer will bounce back. He’s still the Cardinals’ best option, but that bounce back had better occur in Week 2 at Indianapolis against the Andrew Luck-less Colts, and it will become far more difficult without left tackle DJ Humphries (knee) for maybe two weeks and Johnson (wrist) for what could be 12 weeks with a sprained wrist. The Dallas Cowboys await in Week 3, with a motivated running back and a young quarterback who is out to prove his rookie season was no fluke.
If a turnaround doesn’t happen, we may have to look to the same team that offered us solace 16 years ago in the wake of our national tragedy. The Diamondbacks are hot and the Dodgers have lost 10 straight and 15 of their last 16.
That’s a hopeful thought for a Monday morning.
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