The four teams that Arizona beat this season have a combined record of 16-14; the four that the Cardinals lost to have a combined record of 17-14—not exactly a huge difference.
What has been the difference for the Cardinals this season was the presence of Kevin Kolb under center. John Skelton won the job in the preseason, but was injured in the first game of the year. Kolb took over and led the team to victory on 6-of-8 passing for 66 yards and a touchdown in relief duty.
After three more wins, Kolb was roughed up by the Rams, getting sacked nine times on Thursday Night Football in Week 5.
That’s where the wheels fell off, and more quarterback instability has plagued the Cardinals ever since.
Skelton wasn’t sacked, but he went 2-of-10 passing with an interception and the losses snowballed from there. The defense essentially stopped stopping people and the offensive line hasn’t stonewalled any team’s pass rush.
Adrian Peterson continued his ACL Comeback Tour against Arizona in Week 7, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. The Cardinals gave up 5.5 yards per carry combined against the Bills and Vikings in back-to-back weeks.
Skelton was sacked seven times by Minnesota and four more by the 49ers on Monday Night Football in Week 8. He hasn’t had a turnover-free game yet this season.
Arizona then abandoned the run in a comeback effort against San Francisco and finished the game with just seven rushing yards as a team—on an average of 0.8 yards per carry.
Meanwhile, Alex Smith enjoyed one of his finest days as a pro. The former No. 1 overall pick finished with 18 completions on 19 attempts for 232 yards and three touchdowns.