The Arizona Cardinals go back to the drawing board again this week as they come off a 23-19 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta. It was their sixth consecutive defeat and it came despite an incredible performance by the defense. Arizona forced six Atlanta turnovers Sunday with five Matt Ryan interceptions and one Jason Snelling fumble.
On the other side of the ball, the offense was 2-for-16 on third down and recorded only 178 yards of total offense. The defense repeatedly put the offense in good field position, and repeatedly the offense failed to capitalize.
Yet, don’t expect any finger pointing to take place.
“That’s all you can try to do is stay together,” linebacker Daryl Washington said. “You don’t want to do that finger pointing and saying ‘well they need to pick it up, we need to pick it up.’
“We gotta just stick together and stay together as a team. We’re a team before anything. We win and we lose as a team.”
Washington was also mighty generous when saying that perhaps the defense could have done more in Sunday’s loss. He alone had 11 combined tackles, with one interception and one pass defended.
“We left some plays out there on the defensive side of the ball as well,” he said. “We could’ve made some stops at the end when they got the field goal going into halftime and it would’ve been a 13-16 game.”
Washington did acknowledge that the defense is playing at a high level right now, and when you force your opponent to give up the ball six times, you normally come away with a win.
“When you play like that you kind of think that nine times out of 10, you’re gonna win the game,” he said. “I think that’s the most frustrating thing that when you do play well on the defensive side of the ball like we did against a good offense and you don’t come out with the win, it’s just difficult, it’s frustrating.”
The Falcons’ Matt Ryan became the first quarterback since Green Bay’s Bart Starr in 1967 to win a game despite throwing five interceptions and zero touchdowns, a statistic that has made the rounds over the last day or so.
Washington and the rest of the Cardinals’ defense is not taking the bait that the media and other analysts are putting out there; they instead will continue to shoulder some of the blame for the losses and still feel they have room to improve.
“You try to figure out what can you do better next time to build momentum,” Washington said. “Defensively as a team we played pretty well, they just made more plays than we did.”