Spread the blame for the Cardinals’ 1-2 start
So where do you start with this debacle? Losing to an 0-2 Bills team in turmoil after the firing of their offensive coordinator, playing without their star wide receiver Sammy Watkins and with a secondary that had just made Ryan Fitzpatrick (he of the six-interception game Sunday) look like Joe Montana the last time they had played.
There are games where you can point to one or two reasons why a team lost. But not this one. Right from the get go it was mistake after mistake after mistake. Sloppy football. Embarrassing football. Football that made Cardinals fans want to throw up.
It started right from the first series when Michael “Pay me like Dez, Demaryius and Julio” Floyd dropped a ball in his bread basket. It continued with poor coaching when Bruce Arians and his staff failed to realize Robert Woods did not catch that ball for a 24-yard gain, and on the next play LeSean McCoy ran for a touchdown.
Special teams was — I had to look up opposite of special for this one — undistinguished, improper, insignificant, uncertain, unimportant, unnoteworthy, least or worst. Or we could just say they sucked. Yeah let’s go with that one — special teams sucked.
You can pick a play or several. How about Brandon’ Tate’s 31-yard punt return on a 40-yard punt that gave the Bills the ball at the Cardinals’ 39 yard line. Or Andre Ellington deciding that he figured it was better to start deeper in Cardinals territory than at the 25 yard line on every kickoff. That 19-yard punt by Drew Butler which gave the Bills the ball near midfield and led to a touchdown was a doozy. And the long snapper who shall remain nameless because they better have a new one by the time you read this column, snapping the ball over Butler’s head and having it returned for a Bills touchdown. Yeah special teams sucked.
How about that Cardinals defense that gave up big play after big play. Tyrod Taylor had runs of 29 and 20 yards, Woods had a 24-yard reception, McCoy had runs of 18 and 24 yards and Walter Powell had a 14-yard catch.
My favorite was the sequence before the fumbled snap in which Arizona had the ball second-and-1 from the Bills 7-yard line. David Johnson ran for no gain after tripping over his own guy, Troy Niklas, who was getting pushed back like he was a dummy machine and not a person. On third-and-1 it got worse as Kyle Williams and Jerel Worthy were in the Cardinals’ backfield before the handoff even got DJ for a 1-yard loss. Cards OT Jared Veldheer may not want to look at the film of that play. Deciding to go for it on fourth-and-2, the Cardinals don’t get a play off and get hit with a delay of game, forcing the field goal attempt that will cost the player who shall rename nameless his job.
Let’s not leave Tyrann Mathieu out of this. He must have thought we were playing European style football, not American football, after he poked the ball away from Taylor. And that is not a throw-in for the Bills at the spot you kicked it out.
We can blame East Coast time, “No Risk It, No Biscuit” philosophy, abandoning the running game and even Carson Palmer’s four fourth-quarter interceptions. They were only down by 14 when he threw the first one to Stephon Gilmore.
This will be a long week having to relive this nightmare over and over again until they play the Rams. At 1-2 we are disappointed with the Cardinals’ start, but certainly not giving up on the season. This is still a really good team and yes, they will go to the playoffs. But if they really want home field advantage in the playoffs they better start playing like it. Giving games away like this usually come back to haunt you when you have to go on the road for a playoff game.