By the numbers: Turnovers, lulls are behind Cardinals’ home field woes
It’s a fact that the Arizona Cardinals haven’t been great at State Farm Stadium. But making the case that playing at home is the cause of why they are 3-3 is, at best, a stretch and at worst, lazy.
The “why” to this conundrum is in the turnover numbers, and it’s hard to correlate those mistakes with anything about the warm, dry environment at home. It’s also not just the mistakes by Arizona but how little its defense turns over teams when playing in Glendale.
After a 30-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams that dropped the Cardinals to 10-3 on Monday, it’s even more skewed against Arizona, which has wild splits in turnover numbers on the road versus at home. The team also has a tendency to hit lengthy lulls in Arizona, failing to play complete games.
Let’s take a peek into what’s infected the Cardinals at home, by the numbers.
Arizona and its opponents through six home games are deadlocked with a score differential of zero, nada, zilch.
The Cardinals and their opponents are averaging 22.7 points per game at State Farm Stadium.
It’s drastically different from the road difference of 112 (230-118) in favor of head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s squad. Per game where Arizona is 7-0 on the road, the Cardinals are averaging 32.9 points while holding opponents to 16.9.
That’s 11 turnovers accumulated by Arizona at home for an average of 1.8 cough-ups per game.
The team only has turned it over twice all season in seven road games, a rate of just 0.3 an outing.
As the ESPN broadcast pointed out, quarterback Kyler Murray has a weird habit of turning the ball over coming out of halftime, which paired with the sluggish first halves at home hasn’t helped Arizona.
Murray has five interceptions coming on the first third-quarter Cardinals possessions. Three of those (Vikings, Packers and the second Rams game) came at home.
Arizona lost two of those games and were a missed game-winning field goal versus Minnesota from losing all three.
Murray also threw a pick to begin the second halves at Tennessee and at Jacksonville, both wins.
The Cardinals defense has as-impressive of home-road splits when it comes to forcing turnovers on opponents. It has just four forced turnovers at home versus 19 on the road.
That would be 2.7 turnovers forced per road game against 0.7 each home contest.
Add up the turnovers forced and possessions given away, and Arizona has a differential of -7 at State Farm Stadium to +17 on the road.
7 or less
There has been a trend of dry spells at State Farm Stadium.
The Cardinals offense has scored a touchdown or less over a whole half in three home games so far, two of which were losses. They got away with one win in a 17-10 affair against the San Francisco 49ers.
Somewhat relatedly, fast starts have come in giant waves on the road, but not at home.
Cardinals +56 in the first quarter on the road this season, -9 at home. Makes no sense.
— Luke Lapinski (@LukeLapinski) December 14, 2021