For the fourth time in as many games, I'm having to write about a Cardinals loss. It's clear that this team had all of us fooled when they started the season 4-0. Week-after-week, we, as so-called "experts," couldn't stop praising their defense and quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Well, Kolb is now on the shelf with an injury, and Ray Horton's defense has taken a few steps back. Don't get me wrong, they are still playing out of their mind, considering the state of Mike Miller's offense, but the effects of being on the field all game long are starting to show.
Even after tonight's game, Horton's defense is allowing under 20 points a game. Yet, it's hard to win many football games when your offense is averaging a measly 15.8 points per game. Which is now the second-lowest total in the NFL—only the Jacksonville Jaguars are worse at 14.7 points per game.
How can head coach Ken Whisenhunt expect to win games without running the football? I know the Cardinals got behind early, but running the football a total of nine times is absolutely unacceptable. I don't care who's defense is lining up across from your team.
Throwing the ball 52 times with John Skelton should never happen, especially when you have the worst offensive line in all of football. Unfortunately, that sentiment rang true again tonight as they allowed four quarterback sacks and six quarterback hits.
Outside linebacker Aldon Smith worked over left tackle D'Anthony Batiste all night long. Tonight's two-sack performance helped him notch his second multi-sack game of the season. Not to mention, he now has seven quarterback sacks. His seven sacks ties him for fifth place among all defensive players in the NFL.
In other unsurprising news, right tackle Bobby Massie also got worked over by Smith's counterpart, Ahmad Brooks. By game's end, Brooks registered one sack of his own, two tackles for loss and one quarterback hit. I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but Coach Whisenhunt needs to fix this offensive line, or their season is officially down the drain.
Let's back up for a moment, though—after running the ball so effectively last week against Minnesota, why abandon the run at home? LaRod Stephens-Howling eclipsed the century mark last week, and this week, he finishes the game with six yards. A wee bit puzzling to say the least.
Sure, different games bring different opportunities and different results, but this is why Arizona's offense can't score any points. The inconsistency rears its ugly head every other week, and the offensive game plan doesn't seem suited for the personnel they put on the field.
Things don't get any easier in Week 9 either. This team could easily be staring down its fifth loss in a row after Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers get done with them. If Arizona wants any kind of shot at all on the road, they will stop throwing the ball 52 times with Skelton. End of story.
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