Boy, was I wrong. I thought this was the week the Cardinals finally got over the hump.
After losing seven games in a row—including a narrow defeat at the hands of Atlanta last week—Arizona couldn't get out of its own way today. Big plays doomed Ray Horton's secondary from the second quarter on and rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley turned the ball over four times.
Lindley was average at best last week and got away with a couple of risky throws. This week, however, Jeff Fisher and the Rams defense weren't as kind to him. Any bad throw he made was subsequently picked off by St. Louis.
Safety Craig Dahl made him pay on one interception, linebacker James Lauriniatis made him pay on another and cornerback Janoris Jenkins made Lindley pay in the biggest way—he recorded two interceptions and returned them both for touchdowns. His first interception return for a score came in the second quarter and his second came in the third.
Both pick-sixes came from greater than 30 yards out. The first one was a 36-yard score and the second was a 39-yarder.
Moreover, Lindley's poor throws helped the Rams get off one of the longest turnover-less streaks in the NFL. Before today, St. Louis hadn't forced a turnover in six games, and if it would have gone another game without one, the team would have set the record for the longest consecutive streak without forcing a turnover.
The offensive line played okay, as it only allowed two sacks. It is still apparent D'Anthony Batiste was easily the biggest culprit when he was in the lineup. Outside of the two quarterback sacks, Lindley didn't take another hit.
In terms of the run game, blocking up front looked strong early on in the game, as Beanie Wells recorded two first-half touchdowns, but he didn't get many touches the rest of the game after St. Louis pulled out to a 28-17 lead.
A 375-yard performance as an offense is impressive, yet it just goes to show that turnovers do indeed kill. 99 percent of the time, losing the turnover battle results in losing the game.
Everyone's aware that playing a rookie quarterback involves growing pains and there's no question Arizona is playing for next year. Whether fans like to hear it or not, of the two quarterbacks available, John Skelton gives this team the best chance to win.
Obviously, Kevin Kolb should assume the starting role when he fully recovers from his rib injury.
Kevin Kolb will reportedly miss several more weeks nfl.com/news/story/0ap…— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) November 25, 2012
Unfortunately, right now there is no timetable as to when he will return. As losers of seven straight, it's hard to believe much more can go wrong for the Cardinals this year.
Next week, they head across the country to play the New York Jets. Luckily, the Jets are having problems of their own and are reeling faster than ever.
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