Rapid Reactions: David Blough’s performance not enough in Cards’ loss to Falcons

Jan 1, 2023, 3:06 PM | Updated: 8:07 pm

The Arizona Cardinals inched ever closer to the end of a regular season that has been filled with injuries with a 20-19 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Arizona turned to David Blough on Sunday, its fourth starting QB in as many games, who passed the eye test in Atlanta. Blough completed 24 of his 40 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown pass to Trey McBride.

The 20-19 last-second loss to the Falcons was the 12th loss of the year for a Cardinals squad that currently holds the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

If the Chicago Bears or Denver Broncos win either of their last games, the Cardinals could see their draft position change.

With one game remaining in the season, Arizona Sports’ hosts, editors and reporters react to the Cardinals’ loss:

John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo:

Wow, that was close but in the end, the Cardinals did what they needed to do – LOSE. That 57-yard field goal by Matt Prater with 4:57 left that gave Arizona a 19-17 lead had many of us fans who are rooting for draft positioning sweating. But Atlanta came right back, driving 72 yards on 12 plays to set up the winning chip shot field goal that sent the Cardinals to their 12th loss of the season and prevented them from tying Atlanta at 5-11.

Look, I understand some of you cannot root against your team but this season has long been over. And in fact, it has been pure torture with all the losing. The reward? That top four pick! Yup I want it. Gotta have it. The better the pick the better options you have for drafting a player or making a blockbuster trade for someone who covets a quarterback where you are picking. What good does a win really do anyway? A decision on the future of the head coach and GM was not coming down to what happens in these last two weeks – Michael Bidwill has to know what he is doing and has probably known for some time now. Yes, I get losing sucks and it’s hard to watch your team suffer so badly but if you are going to be bad you might as well be awful, and that these Cardinals are. Sure, it’s a good sign that Hollywood Brown and Trey McBride played well. And that J.J. Watt got another sack. But give me the loss and one more next week and get the best draft pick possible in each round you are picking!

Kevin Zimmerman, lead editor:

A game-winning field goal by the Falcons at this moment probably felt like another gut-punch to the guys in the Cardinals locker room. Considering the losing skid, and how a bunch of backups in the defensive backfield and at quarterback played, it had to rank up there in terms of feeling especially bitter. Arizona showed a lot of fight, didn’t turn it over and despite eight penalties didn’t have that usual shooting-self-in-the-foot feeling throughout.

Fans, on the other hand, probably nodded their heads. The tank is rolling and not in an embarrassing way, even if it came against a now-six-win Atlanta team. Maybe the Cardinals found a quarterback who has a bigger arm and can grow into a backup option if Kyler Murray isn’t back to begin next season. Isaiah Simmons got experience playing more on the backend, tight end Trey McBride had his best game as a pass catcher and you can at least point to one young guy in each position group to be excited about.

Tyler Drake, co-host of Cardinals Corner and editor:

On one, you have to feel for David Blough and James Conner. The QB said what he told us this week and “cut it loose” in Arizona’s offense. He provided a bigger arm and looked much more poised as opposed to Trace McSorley in his spot start last week. Then you have Conner, who once again put up 100 yards from scrimmage for the fourth time in five games, but didn’t finish the outing due to a shin injury. With how much passion and drive that dude brings on the regular, you better believe he was not pleased that he couldn’t end the game on his terms. It was also good to see Matt Prater given the opportunity to at least attempt a deep field goal, something I think he should had last week at the end of regulation, but I digress.

Then there’s the other side, the one with a much bigger look into the future. Loss No. 12 means Arizona is primed to be picking inside the top 10 of this year’s NFL Draft. Obviously, no player is going to want to play for the loss to get better draft position, especially when 28 or so players are headed for free agency this offseason. But at this point in the season, losses are actually worth more with where Arizona sits in the standings. The Cardinals are going nowhere this year, time to turn the page.

It’s now onto to San Francisco before an offseason filled with questions and change takes hold.

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Rapid Reactions: David Blough’s performance not enough in Cards’ loss to Falcons