Cardinals vs. Vikings: Arizona's OL Implodes as the Vikings Dump the Cards

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterOctober 21, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 21: Brian Robison #96 of the Minnesota Vikings sacks John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter of the game on October 21, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 21-14. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

For the second straight week, Mike Miller's offense topped the 300-yard mark. That number may not be a big deal to some teams, but when you put together back-to-back 300-yard efforts for the first time all season, it's appropriate to cheer.

Unfortunately, Arizona's strong run game was negated by its poor pass protection. Are you surprised? With the way the Cardinals' offensive line has played this season, you shouldn't be. Coming into today's game, they had allowed an absurd 28 sacks and 14 hits.

How does that happen?

By game's end, the sack total had ballooned to 35 and the numbers of hits had skyrocketed to 22. The biggest culprits on the offensive line were right tackle Bobby Massie and left tackle D'Anthony Batiste. Which has proved to be the same story week in and week out.

On 36 pass plays, Massie surrendered three sacks to Brian Robison and Batiste allowed Jared Allen to take down John Skelton twice. Others to get in on the sack party were cornerback Antoine Winfield and defensive tackle Kevin Williams.

According to Kevin Seifert of, Minnesota's seven sacks came without blitzing once.

Impressive, yet the Vikings shouldn't have to blitz against the league's worst offensive line. Considering Pro Football Focus has their defensive line as one of the best pass rushing units, four down linemen should get the job done every time. 

Outside of the putrid play upfront, the Cardinals actually didn't play that poorly. As I mentioned earlier, LaRod Stephens-Howling had the running game cranked up to the tune of 104 yards on 20 carries, and Ray Horton's defense only gave up 209 yards of total offense.

For most of the game Christian Ponder was running around with his head cut off. He finished 8-of-17 for 58 yards with one touchdown and two picks. His lone touchdown pass came in the second quarter from three yards out. Yet both interceptions came in the second quarter as well.

Even though Arizona had the ability to capitalize on both interceptions, it only managed to turn the first turnover into a touchdown. With five seconds left to go in the first half, Jay Feely missed another makeable field goal—he pushed a 47-yard kick wide right.

Pass protection issues and self-inflicted wounds have marred this team the last three weeks. If they want to kick their three game slide, they will have to take down the San Francisco 49ers next week on Monday Night Football.


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