Rapid reactions: Cardinals offense struggles historically in loss at Browns
Nov 5, 2023, 2:55 PM | Updated: 5:35 pm
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
In Clayton Tune’s first career NFL start, the Arizona Cardinals were blanked 27-0 on the road by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Plenty of pieces were missing on offense for the Cardinals, who were without running backs James Conner and Emari Demercado, receiver Michael Wilson, starting offensive linemen Elijah Wilkinson and Trystan Colon and starting tight end Zach Ertz.
The absences along the offensive line were heavily felt as Tune was sacked seven times.
Arizona Sports’ hosts, editors and reporters gave their biggest takeaways after the Cardinals’ sixth straight loss of the season.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta:
I’ve seen pretty much every game the Arizona Cardinals have played since they moved to town in 1988.
This might have been the worst of them all.
Clayton Tune got his first NFL start and it was incredibly hard to watch. He looked completely out of sorts at this level, but it wasn’t all his fault. The offensive line didn’t block anybody all day and Cleveland’s excellent defense feasted. The Cardinals mustered 58 yards of offense.
The Browns had 59 on one play when Deshaun Watson found Amari Cooper running free in the Cardinals’ secondary in the first half.
It’s the lowest total yardage figure ever for the Arizona Cardinals and it’s the first time they’ve been shut out since 2018.
I’m very curious to see what happens with Kyler Murray. Putting him behind this offensive line might be derelict, honestly. The Cardinals haven’t been exactly competitive during this six-game losing streak; their losses have come by an average of 15.7 points. I want to see Murray play, but it would be nice to see him play with a little more help.
P.S. – I’m sorry I said anything critical about your play, Josh Dobbs. Truly sorry.
Tyler Drake, Arizona Sports Cardinals reporter and Cardinals Corner co-host:
That was historically bad. Easily the worst offensive showing for the Cardinals since they came to the Valley.
I didn’t have a ton of expectations for the Clayton Tune-led Cardinals offense, but man, that was rough.
Not getting the run game established early on and relegating Tune to mostly screens and short passes spelled the end for any hope this team had against a dominant Browns defense early on.
This Cardinals team is built on the run game. When it’s not existent like it was today, this is the type of result you’re gonna get.
I think a lot of people viewed this as a throwaway game with Kyler Murray’s return expected next week (at the minimum an activation), but what we saw in Cleveland is going to be a hard taste to get out of the mouths of the Cardinals.
Defensively, the score doesn’t look great, but the unit held in for as long as it could with the offense again sputtering and unable to stay on the field.
Like it or not, it’s time for K1 to take the reins of this offense and hopefully give this team a boost in the process. It is desperately needed.
Kellan Olson, ArizonaSports.com editor:
It’s hard to look past anywhere else in this game but what the Browns defensive line did to the Cardinals offensive line. The run game was going to have to get established in order for Tune to have any level of success and that didn’t get anywhere. When Tune was dropping back, mostly in the short passing game, he didn’t have much time.
The early script to let Tune settle in didn’t do him any favors, either. Cleveland was all over the majority of the screens set up to gain a handful of yards here and there to help the rookie get in a groove. When he was able to find time in the pocket, he wasn’t able to locate the right read or anyone open. It was just ugly, ugly, ugly. Kyler can’t come back soon enough.
Dave Burns, Burns & Gambo co-host:
You’re a Cardinals fan and you wanted to know if it could get any worse with Clayton Tune under center than Joshua Dobbs? Give the guy a chance and see what he’s got? Welp…the Cards checked that box further proving that yes, things can get worse.
The Cards never had a chance in this game despite the good early work from their defense to keep them in this game. The turnovers. The sacks. The lack of any kind of productive offense. Nothing worked. It was pointless (see what I did there). As they alluded to several times throughout the broadcast you have to figure this is Kyler Murray week. After what we watched today, heck it better be Kyler Murray week.
Are you setting him up to fail? With the injuries they’re dealing with I suppose you could make that argument but I’m not buying it. If you sit around and wait for the perfect time to do it, it might never present itself or by the time it does, you lose out on valuable evaluation time. If he’s ready, he’s ready. If he’s a franchise quarterback he’ll elevate the performance of those around him as best he can. The whole season has been heading in this direction. It’s the only question that ever needed to be answered. Hopefully next Sunday it happens. I don’t know if I can handle another game like this one.