Rapid Reactions: Arizona Cardinals blown out by Rams in home finale

Dec 23, 2018, 6:43 PM | Updated: 7:39 pm
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is hit by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Ta...
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is hit by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (43) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals’ 2018 home schedule is complete.

The Cardinals lost to the Los Angeles Rams, 31-9, to finish 1-7 this season at State Farm Stadium.

One of the only positives in Sunday’s loss was Larry Fitzgerald’s first career touchdown pass, a 32-yard trick play to running back David Johnson.

Arizona (3-12) finishes its season next Sunday on the road against the Seattle Seahawks and can clinch the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft with a loss.

Here are the rapid reactions from the 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station hosts.

Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta

To be succinct, this Arizona Cardinals team just isn’t equipped with the personnel or coaching to be competitive on a consistent basis against NFL teams.

The depth, which was identified as a weakness by some national pundits in the summer, has been affected by injury — especially on the offensive line.

For the second straight week, the defense couldn’t stop the run. C.J. Anderson, who had more appearances on transaction reports than carries before Sunday, ran wild against the Arizona defense to the tune of 167 yards on 20 carries.

The only two real Cardinals highlights came on gadget plays — Larry Fitzgerald’s first career touchdown pass and a fake punt run by Chase Edmonds. Those were the only two plays to cover 20 or more yards on the day for Arizona.

A long, trying season has just one game remaining — Sunday in Seattle. Why do I get the feeling that the Arians-era magic at CenturyLink Field won’t be present against the Seahawks?

Kevin Zimmerman, editor and reporter

Larry Fitzgerald’s first touchdown pass had been in the Cardinals’ tool kit for a few weeks, and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich just decided to pull it out in what might be the future Hall of Fame receiver’s last home game with the Cardinals.

That possibility aside, Sunday’s Week 16 loss against the Los Angeles Rams felt like a broken record for most games and even worse.

Arizona was undisciplined with early penalties on offense by guard Colby Gossett and two personal fouls penalties later by safety Tre Boston. The run defense allowed midweek pickup C.J. Anderson to pile up 167 yards on the ground on just 20 carries. That all for a unit with what we believe is relatively solid talent is a testament to  how much the Cardinals have failed to grasp and/or function in whatever this current first-year coaching staff is trying to install.

Parse through equally ugly statistics on offense that saw more regression — at least in box score terms — from quarterback Josh Rosen, and the larger picture was hammered home. Head coach Steve Wilks’ fate looks all but decided.

The Cardinals had best just get through the final week of the year without any more injuries to key players.

Tyler Drake, editor and reporter

If the Cardinals are looking to the future, they need to start now.

There’s no reason that quarterback Josh Rosen should have be in there with just two games left to play.

The reps are needed but when it’s this late in the season with seemingly nothing to play for, an injury would just add more grief to the organization.

And with an O-line that is constantly in flux, it’s no surprise he got banged up trying to avoid Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh all day.

Adding to that, the run defense was atrocious.

The Arizona Cardinals caught a break before kickoff when Rams star running back Todd Gurley was officially inactive, but that didn’t stop the Rams from obliterating Arizona’s run defense to the tone of 41 rushes for 269 yards and three scores.

Much of that came from C.J. Anderson, a running back who was signed by Los Angeles on Tuesday. He was just one yard away from tying his career best at 168 yards.

Oh yeah, he did that in 2014.

And with a defensive-minded coach at the helm, the questions — that already linger in the locker room and front office — loom larger with the latest blowout loss at home.

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Rapid Reactions: Arizona Cardinals blown out by Rams in home finale