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Four Down Territory: Too good to be true

The attractive woman that you think is looking at you from
across the room……a bank statement that lists too much
money in your account…..your slacker kid with straight A’s
on a report card….the Arizona Cardinals with a 24-3 lead
against the Ravens on the road……

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.