Rapid reactions: Offensive lull dooms Cardinals against Ravens

Oct 29, 2023, 7:39 PM | Updated: Oct 30, 2023, 4:13 am

Head coach Jonathan Gannon of the Arizona Cardinals and head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore R...

Head coach Jonathan Gannon of the Arizona Cardinals and head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens hug after Baltimore's 31-24 win at State Farm Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Despite a late rally from the Arizona Cardinals, they still fell 31-24 to the Baltimore Ravens at State Farm Stadium on Sunday.

The offense started fast, scoring on the first drive of the game and jumping out to a 7-0 lead.

However, it wasn’t until the middle of the fourth quarter when they’d find the end zone again.

Arizona Sports’ hosts, editors and reporters gave their biggest takeaways from the Cardinals’ fifth straight loss of the season.

John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: So Carolina won, that’s a good thing. And Houston lost, you will take that. And Arizona is just biding their time waiting for Kyler Murray to make his long-awaited return.

This one was not as close as the final score indicated. Arizona was down 24-7 after a Ravens field goal with 9:27 left. And 31-15 after a Gus Edwards 1-yard touchdown run with just under three minutes left.

Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs threw two really bad interceptions that the Ravens turned into 14 points and I did expect that that Jonathon Gannon would turn to the rookie Clayton Tune after the second one – a Geno Stone pick that gave Baltimore the ball at the Arizona 23 and three plays later led to a Edwards touchdown run that made it 21-7 Baltimore. But Gannon stuck with Dobbs and the Cardinals got a late touchdown and a field goal after an onside kick to make the score respectable.

So, if you are counting at home that is another one-score loss — their third this season.

If you want positives, I have some.

— Trey McBride had 10 catches for 95 yards on 14 targets — definitely showed that he is capable of being a focal point of this offense.

— Emari Demercado had 20 carries for 78 yards, almost 4-yards a pop vs. the Ravens defense.

— Arizona’s defense held Lamar Jackson in check throughout the game, sacking him four times and limiting him to just 157 passing and 17 yards rushing on five carries.

I don’t believe the Cardinals are that far away from competing. Once they get their quarterback back and if he proves worthy of being the franchise signal caller. If that works out and Monti Ossenfort has another good draft and hits on some free agents, Arizona could be back to being a good team sooner rather than later.

But for now the losses are piling up and the draft can not come soon enough.

Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: There’s not really any mystery as to why the Cardinals fell to 1-7 on the season with a 31-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Two throws by the quarterback. Dobbs is a great guy. He’s got an unlikely story and a long non-football career ahead of him. And for as well as Dobbs played in the first month of the season, he was equally as bad on Sunday. The Cardinals had a tiny chance to beat the Ravens under perfect conditions, but Dobbs’ two interceptions even eradicated that.

Dobbs was decent on the first drive of the game, going 3-for-4 for 24 yards and capped the 12-play, 75-yard possession with a one-yard touchdown run on a tush push play and the Cardinals had a 7-0 lead.

After that? Not so much.

In a 7-7 game in the second quarter, Dobbs air-mailed Michael Wilson under medium pressure and the ball was picked off by Baltimore’s Brandon Stephens. Six plays later, Edwards crashed into the end zone on a one-yard run and the Ravens grabbed a lead they would never relinquish.

In the third quarter, trailing only 14-7, Dobbs inexplicably threw into double-coverage while rolling to his left and Baltimore’s Stone picked it off at the Cardinals’ 23-yard line. Two plays later, it was Edwards running in for another score and it was basically over.

Dobbs was able to engineer a couple of fourth-quarter touchdown drives, but that was all just heavy makeup.

Many Cardinals fans were clamoring to see rookie Clayton Tune get some playing time after Dobbs’ string of gaffes, but the the truth is Monty Ossenfort sent a fifth-round draft pick to Cleveland for 9-10 weeks of Dobbs because deep down, he and the coaching staff knew that Tune wouldn’t cut it. That Jonathan Gannon didn’t turn to Tune in the second half on Sunday affirms it.

You can’t start a massive roster rebuild, absorb embarrassing losses and still keep your fanbase engaged. Thus, the Dobbs trade.

With Carolina’s win over Houston, the Cardinals now have the worst record in the league. And Murray will be back in a week or two. Dobbs ultimately delivered exactly what was hoped for: staying competitive and not messing up what could be valuable draft position for next April.

Tyler Drake, Arizona Sports’ Cardinals reporter, Cardinals Corner co-host: Another game, another multi-turnover game for Dobbs. His two interceptions did the team no favors Sunday. He continues to regress in this offense and it’s evident.

Despite Arizona’s defense playing some decent football for much of the afternoon, the offense could not find a consistent rhythm until it was too late. Scoring on the opening drive is great! Not scoring again until around the 6:30-mark in the fourth quarter is not and will signal a loss at the end of the day more times than not.

Losing five-straight games is a tough look after exceeding expectations earlier in the season. But I will say this, the team continues to fight through all the mistakes and miscues. That kind of buy in can go a long way once the right pieces are in place. When that happens, though, is anyone’s guess.

As for those calling for Kyler Murray or Clayton Tune next week, I hear you. But at the same time, do you really want to kick Murray’s ramp up into overdrive this week after taking a patient approach this whole time? And if the rookie wasn’t ready earlier in the season, what makes him fit to take over now?

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