We knew early on in the year the Arizona Cardinals would only go as far as their defense could take them.
Through four games, it seemed like the defense could take them a long way.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s group was allowing just 15.25 points per game, and had held both Tom Brady and Michael Vick in check.
They looked good — real good.
Things have changed, though, as the Cardinals have given up an average of 22.4 points per game in their last five games — all losses — and Sunday, against the Green Bay Packers, could be looked at as the reason for the defeat.
“Clearly it’s been the defense that has let them down as of late,” ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Thursday. “They make that a one score game in Green Bay, all of a sudden you’re there at 24-17 and bang, the Packers just march it right down and put that game away for all intents and purposes.”
The Cardinals, who had trailed most of the game, did get within seven points late in the third quarter. However, Aaron Rodgers hit tight end Tom Crabtree for one of the longest-lasting 72-yard touchdown passes you’ll ever see just a couple plays later, putting the game out of reach for Arizona.
It was only one big play, but it was the dagger and just another instance where the Cardinals defense could not get the job done Sunday.
“Clearly the strength has been the interior of that defensive line, yet Green Bay ran the football on them,” Jaworski said.
The Packers gained a season-best 176 yards rushing on 39 carries, with James Starks, Alex Green, Randall Cobb and Rodgers himself doing significant damage.