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Cardinals vs. Titans: Live Game Grades, Player Analysis for Arizona

Andrew NordmeierContributor IIIJune 11, 2016

Cardinals vs. Titans: Live Game Grades, Player Analysis for Arizona

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    The Arizona Cardinals fell to the Tennessee Titans 33-27 Thursday night in Nashville. Arizona drops to 1-3 in the preseason while the Titans improve to 2-1. 

    The Titans lost return specialist Marc Mariani for the season to a compound tibia fracture, but no other players were injured in the game. 

    Let's check out the Arizona Cardinals' final postgame grades and analysis. 

Quarterbacks

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    Overall Game Grade: C-

     

    First Quarter: Skelton (C-)

    John Skelton threw a pick in the first quarter that resulted in a touchdown for the Titans just 3:13 into the game. He completed a six-yard pass to TE Todd Heap on his second series and found Jeff King for a 22-yard completion. Skelton had issues with the offensive line holding blocks and allowing him time to pass. WR Larry Fitzgerald was not targeted in the opening quarter.

     

    Second Quarter: Skelton (D), Kolb (B-)

    Skelton finished 4-of-10 for 41 yards with an interception. Kevin Kolb came in with 9:20 left in the half. Kolb made a terrible pass to RB Javarris James on a screen that didn't fool anyone. Kolb had struggles behind a weak offensive line and made a terrible decision on a pass downfield that was intercepted.

    Neither quarterback looks like they want the starting job. Kolb gets a higher grade since he utilized Fitzgerald for a couple nice gains and got the team in the end zone late in the half.

    Kolb finished the half 9-of-12 for 95 yards with a touchdown and an interception.  

     

    Third Quarter: Kolb (D), Lindley (D)

    Kolb threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown on the second play of the half to make it 23-10 in favor of the Titans. He rebounded nicely when the Cardinals went to a no-huddle look to keep the defense off balance, but it can't white-out the pick-six. 

    Rookie QB Ryan Lindley came in with 4:40 left in the quarter and nearly threw an interception of his own. He also had a bad exchange with his center and nearly fumbled the ball away to the Titans.  

     

    Fourth Quarter: Lindley (C)

    Lindley lost a critical fumble on a sack-strip play that led to the Titans' go-ahead touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. He kept coming out firing into the final two minutes of the game. Lindley led a drive with no timeouts in the final two minutes to get Arizona in range to win the game, but his Hail Mary pass fell short.

Offense

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    Overall Game Grade: C+

     

    First Quarter: D

    The offensive line got caught with pressure up the middle early on, leading to a sack and pressure on Skelton. Running back Beanie Wells made his preseason debut and promptly ran up the middle into the teeth of the Titans defense. The rushing attack didn't have any impact since the runs mainly went up the middle. 

    They got placekicker Jay Feely in position for a 49-yard field goal, which he hit for the only points of the quarter. The Cardinals managed only 23 total yards in the quarter.

     

    Second Quarter: C-

    The offensive line continued to struggle when Kolb came in. D.J. Young kept getting beat as he filled in at left tackle for the injured Levi Brown. Despite a personnel change to get rookie OT Bobby Massie into the line, it still looked to be weak at best. 

    Larry Fitzgerald picked up a 53-yard pass from Kolb to show a little life for the offense. He reeled in another one for 16 yards on the last drive of the half. That drive ended with an Andre Roberts three-yard touchdown catch.

     

    Third Quarter: C

    The offense seemed to be more comfortable in the no-huddle but failed to put up another touchdown. RB William Powell had a couple nice runs in the quarter and looked to be a spark to the offense. Jay Feely hit another long field goal for the only points.

     

    Fourth Quarter: B

    Powell scored a five-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. He picked up 66 yards on the ground on the drive. Javarris James scored a touchdown with 12:30 to go in regulation to take their first lead of the night.

    The downside was the offense couldn't put up the last few points needed to take the win. Scoring 27 points is a plus, but wasn't enough to win.

Defense

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    Overall Game Grade: C-

     

    First Quarter: C-

    Tennessee took an interception return into the red zone and put the Cardinals defense against the wall. Jake Locker completed a nice pass to Kendall Wright for the first score of the game. Patrick Peterson whiffed on the tackle at the 1-yard line and was burned again by Wright late in the quarter. 

    Arizona failed to get any pressure on Locker in the opening quarter, giving the second-year quarterback plenty of time to throw. The run defense was good, holding Chris Johnson to just nine yards.

     

    Second Quarter: C-

    Locker found Nate Washington for a 26-yard touchdown pass early in the quarter. Looking at the replay, the Cardinals were nowhere to be seen and got burned by a simple crossing route. The Cardinals also allowed a field goal. They've allowed 159 yards at the half with 124 of them coming via the air.

     

    Third Quarter: C

    The defense didn't allow any points this quarter, so it's a plus for them. 

     

    Fourth Quarter: C-

    The Cardinals defense wasn't able to hold a late lead and it cost them the win. The defense was given a 27-23 lead to protect with 12:34 to go. The defense gave up a field goal and a touchdown in a three-minute span midway through the quarter to let the Titans retake the lead.

Special Teams

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    Overall Game Grade: B-

     

    First Quarter: C

    The special teams unit didn't have any spectacular kick returns but was OK. There were no field-goal attempts on the quarter. Dave Zastudil had a 51-yard punt in the opening quarter. Feely tried a 49-yard field goal and hit it.

     

    Second Quarter: C

    Ricky Schmitt punted out of his own end zone and got the ball past midfield. He was about the only Cardinal to do anything positive in the second quarter. Kick returns made it out around the 20-yard line and were just ho-hum.

     

    Third Quarter: B

    Feely hit a 49-yard field goal which was his second of the game from 47 or more yards out.

     

    Fourth Quarter: C

    The Cardinals made a key play on special teams by Zach Nash as he forced returner D.J. Woods to fumble the ball. Arizona recovered at the Titans' 19-yard line and cashed it in for the go-ahead touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Woods nearly took it all the way back if not for Ricky Schmitt knocking him out of bounds.

Coaching

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    Overall Game Grade: C+

     

    First Quarter: D

    Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt seemed content to call run plays up the middle. Unfortunately, they went for little yardage. He showed a lack of variety which hampered the Cardinals.

     

    Second Quarter: C-

    The coaches need to do more to get the offensive line help, and they need to keep a back in to help with blocking. They also have to call more plays out of the shotgun formation on offense to give their quarterbacks time with a porous line blocking for them. It also helped that plays were called for Fitzgerald.

     

    Third Quarter: C

    The decision to go no-huddle looked to be a good one, but it didn't result in more than a field goal. Perhaps the Cardinals need more no-huddle looks, but they looked more comfortable in it.

     

    Fourth Quarter: C+

    The coaching staff did an OK job in the fourth quarter. They called decent plays to give the Cardinals a chance to get back in front but didn't get the on-field execution.

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