GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals are partying like it’s 2010, complete with a Monday night blowout at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.
But unlike a couple years ago, no one is laughing about this one.
Following a 24-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers Monday night in Glendale, it’s apparent that no matter how good a team’s defense might be, it will all be for naught if the same team’s offense is simply dreadful.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Arizona Cardinals.
Defensively, the effort put forth by the team in Monday’s loss was sad. The score was 17-0 at halftime and 24-0 before the Cards even got on the board.
Without a doubt, the first quarter defense stunk. The Cardinals gave up just seven points, but the 49ers racked up 116 yards of offense. The visitors had the ball for 11:27 of a possible 15 minutes.
“A lot of missed tackles; some mistakes,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the game. “We had opportunities to get them off the field and we didn’t do that. We didn’t tackle very well. Everybody’s got to be held accountable for those things.”
Whisenhunt may want to hold the defense accountable, but Cardinals fans should want to throw the group a parade. After all, the more they are on the field the less the offense is.
And for the Arizona Cardinals, who gained just 265 yards of offense on the evening, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Unfortunately, Arizona’s defense is simply not good enough to overcome the ineptitude on the other side of the ball. Miraculously they were able to come up with just enough plays over the last year or so to win — a lot — but their luck has run out.
The Cardinals have been exposed — twice on national TV — and there is no hiding from the fact that this historically bad offense will wreck things for this historically (at least, by Cardinals standards) good defense.
To their credit, no one on the defense is ready to point a finger at their teammates on the other side of the ball.
“I think that as a defense we know what we have to do to win games,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “It comes down to doing it.”
Campbell said the Cardinals did not play a good game against the 49ers, offensively, defensively or on special teams. He’s right, as the Cardinals were all-around terrible.
“It wasn’t like we played a good game so we can’t point fingers at all,” Campbell added. “We’ve got to look in the mirror and look at ourselves.”
Indeed, the defense could have played better. Alex Smith should never throw more touchdown passes than incompletions, and the tackling couldn’t have been much worse. But at some point it is simply unfair to expect Ray Horton’s players to be great every week. They should be allowed to have an off game, and in a perfect world the offense would be there to bail them out.
But this world is not perfect, and these Cardinals are far from it.
“We didn’t get the job done,” Whisenhunt said. “It was disappointing to say the least.”
It’s also to be expected. This team, quite frankly, is just not good enough to overcome its most fatal of flaws. It hasn’t been good for a while.
Two years ago Derek Anderson was quoted saying many things after a bad loss to the 49ers on Monday night. Part of his
meltdown tirade included: “It’s not funny. Nothing’s funny to me. I don’t want to go out there and get embarrassed in front of everybody.”
Quarterback John Skelton, who was on the team then but did not play in the game, was less combative yet equally upset Monday night.
“To only put up three points, that’s embarrassing, as an offense and as a team,” he said. “It’s in front of a national audience and we only put up three points and lost by 21.
“It’s frustrating and it’s humiliating to be honest.”
The more things have changed, the more they’ve stayed the same. And for the Arizona Cardinals, that’s not a good thing.