Rapid reactions: Cardinals outclassed on both sides of ball vs. Rams

Nov 26, 2023, 5:56 PM | Updated: Nov 27, 2023, 8:48 am

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

Any promise from a great opening drive out of the Arizona Cardinals quickly faded on Sunday in a 37-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Following a 12-play, 75-yard drive resulting in eight points, Arizona’s offense massively struggled to make any progress up the field. In the rest of the first half, the Cardinals generated just one more first down and trailed 21-8.

Drives to open the second half racked up yardage counts of six, 37 and -18. Arizona got its offensive numbers up after that with 141 of its 292 yards on the final two drives when the Cardinals were down 37-8.

The Cardinals now have a record of 2-10.

Arizona Sports hosts and editors react to the poor performance:

John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: We can sit here and say the Cardinals were overmatched. They don’t have enough talent.

The defense got torched for 37 points, 457 yards –228 rushing at 6.9 yards per carry. That same defense failed to record a sack and missed more tackles than I can count. It also gave up four touchdown passes to Matthew Stafford who in his previous nine games never threw more than two in a game and only did that once.

We can whine about how the wide receivers are too small. How Hollywood Brown, who got targeted 12 times but had just six catches, is not a No. 1 wideout. Or that the offensive line needs better players. We can agree on all these things.

But the storyline of the season will continue to be Kyler Murray and whether he is worthy enough to be the franchise quarterback going forward.

This game was not going to give any ammunition to those who believe in Kyler. He was just not good. His inability to move the offense was on full display Sunday. Murray threw one touchdown pass in garbage time and ran for another in the first quarter. He completed 27 of 45 passes for 256 yards and was sacked four times. He constantly threw into double coverage, underthrew some targets and at times threw too high for his receivers to make a play.

This was his third game back after a devastating knee injury. And if you are keeping score at home, the first one was very good, the second one was just average and this one was not good. There is still time, five games left for Murray to convince the Cards brass that he is the right guy for the job. But as of right now, he has not done nearly enough to make keeping him a no brainer.

Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: The Cardinals are nothing more than a speedbump for the Rams. That’s true even when the Rams aren’t good. They’re not good this year, but still dominated the hapless Cards at State Farm Stadium.

I picked the Cardinals to win two games this season and scratching out another one to surpass that total is going to be a chore.

So let’s focus on the biggest question surrounding this team: the quarterback and what to do with him moving forward.

After a splendid return to the field two weeks ago in a win over Atlanta, Murray has been dreadful in two straight games. Sunday, Murray displayed nothing to convince anyone that he’s the long-term solution at the quarterback spot. He wasn’t helped by a porous, penalty-ridden offensive line and play-calling that made me feel that Kliff Kingsbury was still calling the shots, but K1 looked lost.

He underthrows deep balls. He threw to several well-covered receivers, but then again, Cardinals receivers don’t exactly create separation. He was inaccurate and ran only once — a two-yard touchdown in the first quarter. That was it.

We’re down to five games of Murray evaluation and that process might be a difficult one because it looked like the desire to compete by the guys in the black uniforms (this week) is at rock bottom.

And one non-Murray note…Jonathan Gannon’s decision to go for it on 4th-and-2 from his own 48 was ridiculous. Murray’s failure to recognize an open receiver (James Conner) or easily run for the first down was worse. An incomplete pass to Trey McBride followed and 57 seconds later, Matthew Stafford hit Kyren Williams on a 15-yard touchdown pass. A five-point deficit became 13 and the game was pretty much over before halftime.

Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: Riding the rollercoaster of the 2023 season. You’re saying…“What rollercoaster? They’re 2-10!”

Too competitive at the start of the season to get the top pick in the draft. Then gravity kicks in and they plummet. Kyler’s back and he’s too good for them to lose a bunch of games. Or not. Ride the coaster. Here we are and once again they look like one of the two or three worst teams in the NFL. If you had to decide right now…I don’t think Kyler Murray gets the part. But it’s not a three-game audition, it’s an eight-game audition. No one is deciding anything right now.

Game three of the Kyler experiment was a big step back. The first Cardinals drive gained 75 yards on 12 plays and seven first downs. The next eight drives? 32 plays, 54 net yards and four first downs. The offense wasn’t on the field long enough to get much of a read on anybody but that reflects on the quarterback who missed his fair share of throws and couldn’t muster much of anything. Between his hand in the middle of the game and the way he was limping a little at the end you do wonder how well he’s going to hold up. It’s a lousy situation for him to be in but it’s all we’ve got.

Some things don’t change, though. The Rams are the best at making the Cardinals look their worst. If not for a couple of garbage time possessions at the end, Kyren Williams was threatening to outgain the Cardinals all by himself; an encore performance after their week six matchup. It’s hard to be disappointed in a team with such low expectations but Sunday’s performance hit the mark.

Tyler Drake, Cardinals reporter and editor: Yuck.

Even with a score, this game rivals the Browns shutout as the Cardinals’ worst offensive showing this season and third place (Commanders loss) isn’t even close.

After finding a blueprint of a healthy split of under-center and shotgun looks in the opening drive (5-7) that resulted in a K1 TD run, Petzing and Co. abandoned what worked and paid for it, scoring just one more time in the matchup when the game was well out of reach.

On the other end, Matthew Stafford and the Rams made things look relatively easy against a youthful Cardinals secondary that featured three rookie starters.

Despite shocking a lot of people in Murray’s return a few weeks ago, the Cardinals have once again taken multiple steps back.

On a positive note, both the Cards and Texans lost today. And at this point, the draft can’t come soon enough for a team that needs an influx of talent in a big way.

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Rapid reactions: Cardinals outclassed on both sides of ball vs. Rams