Why Offensive Line, Not Kevin Kolb, Prevents Cardinals from Contending

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IOctober 5, 2012

October 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb (4) is sacked by St. Louis Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis (55) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated Arizona 17-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Even at 4-1, even with seven touchdowns and two interceptions and the highest QB rating of his career, you have to feel for Kevin Kolb. 

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback is running for his life whenever he takes a snap behind the team's atrocious offensive line, and his situation has got worse each week. 

In Week 1, after filling in for an injured John Skelton, Kolb emerged unscathed in a thrilling win over the Seattle Seahawks

He was taken to the turf on two occasions in a Week 2 stunner over the New England Patriots. The following week, Kolb was sacked three times in a home victory over the Philadelphia Eagles

Then, disaster struck. 

The Miami Dolphins harassed Kolb en route to an eight-sack performance. 

On Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams, Kolb was essentially incapacitated by the St. Louis Rams. 

He was sacked a whopping nine times.

What's funny is, Kolb demonstrated marvelous pocket awareness all night and avoided another five sacks. 

That's being generous. 

The Cardinals were down in this one, and because the running game simply never got going, Kolb was forced to throw it 50 times. That figure is far too high for a quarterback of his caliber.

On top of those nine sacks, he was hit a ridiculous 11 times and rarely had ample time to deliver the football down the field. 

Anyone watching the Cardinals game in St. Louis could plainly see that Arizona's permeable offensive front would have severely hindered the production of any quarterback. 

Despite the copious amount of pressure he faced, staying true to his 2012 form, Kolb played admirably.

Sure, he missed some throws that may have led to big gains, but based on the precarious circumstances, completing 56 percent of his passes and throwing for 289 yards was far from disappointing. 

Frankly, the Cardinals defense did enough to win as well. 

The Rams converted a mere 12 first downs and accumulated a rather pedestrian 242 total yards. 

We have grown accustomed to blaming Kolb for the Cardinals' failures, and while it may be true that he'll never live up to the lucrative deal he signed with the team in 2011, Arizona's first loss of the 2012 season is certainly not on him. 

It's on the team's poor excuse for an offensive line. 

Something must change, or the 4-0 start will easily fade, and the Cardinals will not contend in the NFC.