Cardinals defense fails to contain Christian McCaffrey in loss to Panthers

Nov 14, 2021, 7:32 PM | Updated: 8:41 pm
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, left, steps out of bounds as he runs past Arizo...

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, left, steps out of bounds as he runs past Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Zaven Collins (25) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The Arizona Cardinals defense failed to stop the Carolina Panthers offense on Sunday afternoon at State Farm Stadium.

In a 34-10 home loss, Arizona allowed a total of 351 yards and three touchdowns — although two of those scores were a result of a short field after a Cardinals fumble and turnover on downs.

Carolina posted 166 yards on the ground — the second-most Arizona has allowed this season — and 175 through the air between backup quarterback P.J. Walker and recently signed QB Cam Newton.

Walker threw for 167 yards and one interception, while Newton went 3-for-4 with a touchdown. The former MVP also had a two-yard rushing score.

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who was in his second game back from injured reserve, ran for 95 yards on 13 carries (7.3 per rush).

He also added 66 receiving yards on 10 receptions to bring his all-purpose yard count to 161 yards on the day.

Compare that to the Cardinals, who only managed to muster 169 of total offense with the likes of starting quarterback Kyler Murray (ankle), wideout DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) and running back Chase Edmonds (ankle) sidelined.

As a team, the Panthers averaged 4.5 yards per carry, which was the fifth-highest average for any Cardinals opponent in 2021.

“We knew we didn’t play our best game, not even a good game,” safety Budda Baker said postgame. “So for us, it’s get back to work.

“There’s only so much you can do. We’re not going to be sad and dwell on it. When we win games, it’s 1-0 mentality. Same thing when we lose. We weren’t good enough today. Hats off to Carolina and we’re gonna get back to work.”

Minnesota has had the most success running the football against Arizona in terms of total yards and average yards per attempt, as the Vikings ran for 177 at a 6.6 per rush clip in Week 2.

However, the last three games have now seen the Cardinals give up 150-plus yards on the ground and a minimum 4.2 yards per carry.

And coming into Sunday afternoon’s contest, Arizona was middle of the pack allowing an average of 111.1 rushing yards per game.

The Cardinals will look to right the defensive ship as the team prepares for a divisional matchup on the road against the Seattle Seahawks before the Week 12 bye.

“There have been games where the focus was obviously on the run,” DL Zach Allen said postgame. “We’ve shown what we can do versus some of the top running teams but I think just a defense we just have to take pride in doing that week in and week out.

“So there’s definitely going to be some conversations to be had and I’m just excited to get back to work. I know everybody else is just to correct it because it can get corrected, that’s the thing.”

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