It’s sound rather trite in the midst of a six-game losing streak, but the ingredients were present for a Cardinals’ upset in Atlanta Sunday.
They built an early 13-0 lead. The defense forced a season-high six turnovers, including a career-high five interceptions from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. LaRod Stephens-Howling ran for 127 yards on the ground. And despite a costly first half fumble return for a touchdown, Arizona was ahead going into the fourth quarter.
In the end it was all for naught, because the Cardinals gave up a go-ahead touchdown to Michael Turner with 6:40 remaining and never sniffed the end zone in the waning moments, as the Falcons went on to win 23-19.
“The most frustrating part is this was a game we should have won,” said outside linebacker Sam Acho, who forced a fumble and recorded an interception Sunday. “There are some games where you say you should have won, and there are other games where hands down everyone in the locker room and everyone in the stadium knows you should have won. That’s the toughest part about games like [Sunday’s].”
Although Ray Horton’s defensive unit executed a masterful game plan against Ryan Sunday, Acho said that in the end none of the turnovers forced matter if it doesn’t come in a win.
“Unfortunately, we were one stop too short,” said Acho. “It happens sometimes, but those are the little things we have to correct. It’s really hard to win in this business, so you have to find a way to come out on top, one way or another.”
While Acho didn’t give a clear-cut reason as to why the team lost for the sixth consecutive time, the former fourth-round pick said that adversity isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Cardinals moving forward.
“We realize that when you go through adversity, you have to rely on your faith and it builds your character,” said Acho. “We are going through a lot of adversity right now, but if we played the way we played today every other game, we have nothing to be ashamed of.”
The Cardinals will look to snap their six-game slide next Sunday when they host the St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Rams were actually the team that began the Cardinals’ losing streak taking it to the Redbirds back in Week 5 with a 17-3 win.