The Arizona Cardinals lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-17, Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium and fell to 0-2 on the preseason. The team lost, but who were the individual winners and losers on the night?
Loser—The Cardinals First-Team Defense
For the first two defensive series, the Cardinals took backward steps on defense. They still showed an inability to stop the screen passes to the running back and that led to Peyton Hillis' touchdown to make it 7-0.
They also had big problems with trying to stop the Kansas City running game. The Chiefs' zone-blocking scheme looked to frustrate the Cardinals. Kansas City picked up 30 yards on eight carries on its opening drive to the end zone. All told, Kansas City wound up gaining 166 yards on 41 carries and scoring twice on the ground.
Also, the Cardinals weren't able to get off the field defensively. They gave up four conversions on third or fourth down in the opening quarter. The backups weren't much better as the Cardinals collectively allowed eight conversions on 16 third-down situations to the Chiefs.
Arizona put very little pressure on Matt Cassel and needs to find ways to get to the quarterback with its first-team defense.
Loser—The Cardinals' Wide Receivers
Arizona quarterbacks combined to hit a total of 12 different receivers with at least one pass. Andre Roberts (two catches) and LaRon Byrd (three catches) were the only receivers with more than one catch.
With so many receivers and tight ends fighting for roster spots, nobody really stood out. The Cardinals should be set on their first four receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Early Doucet, Andre Roberts) but the fifth and possibly sixth wideouts didn't get any help in this game.
Loser—John Skelton QB
Skelton was given the nod as the starter for this game and didn't take advantage of it. Skelton had a couple of sharp passes to Andre Roberts for 20 yards but didn't do much else. Skelton threw an interception that led to a field goal and a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Finishing 3-of-6 for 35 yards and that interception showed Skelton didn't step up to try and seize control of the race for the starting quarterback role. The only good thing for Skelton was that Kevin Kolb finished 1-of-5 for 21 yards and didn't perform any better. Keep in mind that Skelton was going against the first-team defense while Kolb faced second-stringers.
Winner—William Powell RB
Powell tore off a 67-yard run in the third quarter that led to Arizona's first touchdown of the night. Powell finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run and looked like a running back fighting for a roster spot. Early in training camp, highlight runs like that can boost a player's stock.
Winner—Ryan Lindley QB
Lindley did a great job executing the two-minute drill when the Cardinals got the ball back at the end of the first half. He went 4-for-4 for 40 yards to get Arizona into field-goal range and Jay Feely hit from 40 yards out to bring the Cardinals to within 17-3 at the half.
Lindley looked better than Richard Bartel and did more in the little playing time he got. Keep an eye on this race for the third quarterback spot as we go through training camp. Whoever wins that spot on the depth chart could be starting late in the season.
The Cardinals host Oakland next Friday in their third preseason game.