Cardinals vs. Rams: Defense Can't Keep Carrying Arizona

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 5, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 04:  Quarterback Kevin Kolb #4 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after being sacked during the game against the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome on October 4, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Perhaps what was more surprising about the Arizona Cardinals' 4-0 start this season was the fact that they did so averaging 22.8 points per game.

Saddled with a sluggish running game and confused quarterback, the Cardinals won three games before Week 5 by a combined nine points.

The St. Louis Rams scored a grand total of 17 points against Arizona in Week 5 but came away with a victory because the Cardinals only scored three points.

The Cardinals defense held Rams quarterback Sam Bradford to 7-of-21 passing for 6.7 yards per attempt while notching an interception. They limited running backs Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson to a combined 4.1 yards per carry yet lost by two touchdowns.

Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb had one turnover (a fumble) in his first three games but has had three turnovers in his last two games. That includes two interceptions against the Miami Dolphins in a 24-21 overtime victory and a lost fumble against the Rams on Thursday.

Part of that is Kolb and part of that is the offensive line. I can't say enough about how horrid Arizona's offensive line has been so far. They had allowed 14 sacks (tied for the second-most in the NFL) before Week 5 then went out and gave up nine sacks and 11 quarterback hits against the Rams.

When you couple a bad offensive line with Kolb's history under pressure, you get a nightmare. According to, Kolb threw an interception in 23.7 percent of dropbacks under pressure in the last three years. That ranked fourth-worst among qualifying quarterbacks.

Then there's Arizona's rushing attack, if you even want to call it that. The Cardinals ranked second-to-last in yards per carry before Thursday's game (2.7). Then they averaged 2.6 yards per carry versus St. Louis. That included second-year back Ryan Williams rushing 14 times for 33 yards.

Beyond Larry Fitzgerald, there is no one on Arizona's offense standing out at the moment, including on the offensive line.

A defense allowing just 15.6 points per game (third in the NFL) deserves better.

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