Rapid reactions: Cardinals offense held out of the end zone in Week 6

Oct 15, 2023, 5:02 PM | Updated: 9:15 pm

Cooper Kupp catches a pass...

Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams is tackled by Kei'Trel Clark #13 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at SoFi Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals couldn’t find paydirt on Sunday, falling 26-9 to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6.

Whether it be the absence of starting running back James Conner or multiple missed throws from quarterback Joshua Dobbs, Arizona’s offense just couldn’t cash in when it counted.

Instead, it walked out of Los Angeles with just three field goals in the fifth loss of 2023.

Arizona Sports’ hosts, editors and reporters dive into what they saw from the Cardinals in Week 6:

Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: Limitations. That’s the word of the day after watching the Cardinals struggle through another second half and limp to yet another loss. The roster has limitations. The defense has limitations. Joshua Dobbs has limitations. Their ability to rise above them during portions of the game is admirable. It speaks to the coaching squeezing every drop out of what they have. Ultimately though, what they got isn’t a lot.

The Cards have now been outscored 98-30 in the second half (credit to Doug Haller for pointing that out on social media). In fact, the only game they’ve won this year is the one game in which they didn’t get outscored in the second half (Dallas 7-6 in the second half). In the first half, they’ve outscored the opposition 87-64. All those numbers tell me that they’re competing and playing as hard as they can for as long as they can. But those limitations eventually catch up with them; there’s only so much this roster can do when faced with better stocked teams who make the necessary adjustments. Kyren Williams had 4 rushing yards at halftime, an adjustment here, a recommitment there, and he rushes for 154 yards in the second half and there isn’t a darn thing the Cardinals can do about it. Their competitive spirit was the story of the first few weeks, but the talent drain is too much to overcome.

Those limitations are especially evident with Dobbs. Likeable, smart, but ultimately limited. Bad reads, missed throws, turnovers that happened, turnovers that could have happened. There’s talent there but is it consistent enough to be able to win games on a Sunday? The obvious answer to that question has caught up to him and to the team as a whole. At first glance the schedule looks manageable enough but until Kyler Murray (and Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson) come back, we’re right back to wondering where the wins are going to come from.

John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: That was a painful watch on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Arizona. Matt Prater from 55. Matt Prater from 32. Matt Prater from 27. Good night everybody.

Dobbs was not good again and my only thought is let’s hope this is the week Kyler Murray gets activated and we can start the clock on him playing in a game. It seemed for much of this game like Arizona couldn’t get out of its own way:

– Fourth and less than a yard — offsides Elijah Wilkinson. Go for it on 4th-and-five and incomplete to Hollywood Brown.
– Third and three on first possession of the second half — false Start by DJ Humphries leads to a punt.
– First and 10 at the Rams’ 12-yard line and Dobbs throws just an awful pass behind Zach Ertz that is deflected and intercepted by Christian Rozeboom early fourth quarter — Rams turn that turnover into a touchdown and a 23-9 lead.
– Second and seven midway through the fourth quarter and Dobbs is sacked and fumbles and the Rams recover and turn that give away into a field goal and a 26-9 lead.

Just mistake after mistake after mistake. Not good football. Not smart football. Arizona led 9-6 at the end of the first half and scored zero points in the second half when they went 3-and-out, interception, fumble, turnover on downs, end of game. At this point in the season with a 1-5 record, Murray’s return is the one thing that could excite the fanbase. That or the NFL trade deadline.

Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: The warm and fuzzy feelings from the first four weeks of the season (even though the Cardinals started 1-3) are nearly all evaporated after a 26-9 loss to the Rams in LA on Sunday.

The Cardinals played a pretty good first half, dominated time of possession and still only led 9-6 at the break. The second half was all Rams.

Dobbs was bad again — missing throws to open receivers in the first half and again committing two fourth-quarter turnovers.

The defense, which was suspect to begin with, got dominated in the second half. Williams ran wild. Cooper Kupp did whatever he wanted.

Over the last three weeks, the Cardinals’ D has allowed huge games from Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk of the 49ers, Ja’Marr Chase of the Bengals and Williams and Kupp today. Jonathan Gannon has been mad about those results, but the truth is the Cardinals are severely lacking NFL-caliber personnel on the defensive side of the ball.

The defensive line is overmatched week-in, week-out. The offensive line, which is the most whole unit on the team right now, struggled mightily.

It seems like it’s going to be a while until the Cardinals taste victory again.

Tyler Drake, Arizona Sports’ Cardinals reporter, co-host of Cardinals Corner: Yikes.

The Cardinals offense reverted back to Week 1 in this one. Dobbs was off target on numerous plays that could have changed the outcome of a lopsided loss to a division rival.

While the run game managed to turn in a modest 4.3 yards per carry, no one really wowed me in terms of a complete game, though Dobbs had some solid runs.

And despite the strong showing from both the special teams unit and defense for a half of football, all the success seen across the first 60 minutes of action was for naught as Los Angeles made the proper adjustments and never looked back in the final two quarters.

The Rams effectively running the rock nine times to open up the second half after running the ball a handful of times in the first half was just a precursor of what was to come.

Entering Week 6, the Cardinals had been in most of their games for the most part. They had just one win but looked to be improving with each game despite a visible talent discrepancy.

But after dropping a pair of ugly losses in back-to-back weeks, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I’m very interested to see how this team responds at practice this week to this kind of adversity.

Kevin Zimmerman, editor: Sean McVay, a close friend of former Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, called a very Kingsbury-esque first half.

McVay called for three rushing plays against a — *Stephen A. Smith voice* with all due respect — no-name defensive front seven of Arizona. The Cardinals’ defense held up well, the special teams unit forced a turnover and there was a nice offensive mix of personnel and play-calls from Drew Petzing as Arizona led 9-6 at halftime.

And then McVay probably looked at the stat sheet like Fox analyst Jonathan Vilma, you and I all did, and realized he should try giving the run a try. Williams went off as McVay called nine consecutive runs to begin the third quarter, and that was that.

Dobbs’ limitations as a passer showed. His accuracy problems popped up on the deep ball to Hollywood Brown, the interception thrown behind Zach Ertz and a few other times. The Cardinals’ lack of roster depth was the big issue once again, as the effort, coaching and operations were there.

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Rapid reactions: Cardinals offense held out of the end zone in Week 6