TEMPE, Ariz. — Bruce Arians began his press conference Monday with a short thought on the officiating in his team’s 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, saying the team has followed the proper channels in response to the “very, very many problems” that occurred.
“That’s all I’ll say about the officiating in that ball game,” he added.
The coach did about as good a job of sticking to that plan as he believes the referees did calling Sunday’s game.
Arians said there were upwards of 15 plays sent to the league, which is a high number that is “considered a problem.” However, he said it’s important for his team to get past what happened.
“As long as every body owns up to it, you move on; it’s part of the game,” he said. “We’re here working our tails off this week; those guys are back at their other jobs.”
That final line was a doozy, perhaps a thinly veiled shot at the fact that the majority of the NFL’s referees officiate on a part-time basis.
Among the 15 plays the team sent to the league office were the holding calls on Tyrann Mathieu and Matt Shaughnessy and some no calls on passes to Michael Floyd. Each happened late in the game, and each impacted the Cardinals in a very negative way.
Arians said he already received a response from the league, but it didn’t bring him much satisfaction.
“I just get madder.”
Calls can’t be reversed and the loss will stand, so really, there’s little else for the Cardinals to do.
“You can’t really harp on what the referees do or how they call the game,” Mathieu said. “You’ve just got to capitalize on the plays that you were able to make.”
That’s essentially the message Arians is trying to get across to his team, because no matter how upset they may be over the officiating, being upset will only get a team so far. And with his team sitting at 7-5, Arians wants to make sure the team’s first loss in more than a month does not linger.
“It possibly could, but I think a lot of things have to happen here in the last four weeks,” Arians said of whether or not Sunday’s defeat could ultimately cost the team a playoff spot. “I would hope that we give up all that talk this week and just focus on the St. Louis Rams.”
The coach, who said his team made enough mistakes Sunday to be able to blame themselves for the loss, seems to have gotten the message across.
“I think it tastes even worse when you haven’t had it in a while and you lose a game, especially the way we did,” right tackle Eric Winston said of loss. “I think it tastes worse and I think guys are now eager to get back out there.”
Moving on from Philadelphia, the Cardinals’ next opponent is their first. The Rams, who won a Week 1 matchup between the teams, will visit University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday in what could be fairly characterized as a “must-win” game for Arizona. The Cardinals have not beaten an NFC West foe since Week 1 of 2012, and can ill afford to see that streak continue.
Win, and the faint playoff hopes will live to see another week. Lose, and the Cardinals may be about finished.
“That’s our only focus this week,” Arians said. “I don’t want to hear about anything else in our locker room except winning a division game, so that’s the message.”