Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Despite entering the fourth quarter with a 24-13 lead, the Arizona Cardinals managed to lose their opener to the St. Louis Rams, 27-24, in what had to be a bitter disappointment for new coach Bruce Arians.
Even though the team lost in crushing fashion, there were positives to be gleaned.
New starting quarterback Carson Palmer played well, actually looking the part of a legitimate NFL signal-caller. That's a significant improvement over the slop the team trotted out at the position in 2012 (Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley).
Palmer's play revived the team's otherwise moribund passing attack, as receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts each accumulated over 80 receiving yards, to go along with two touchdown catches for Fitzgerald.
But in a turn of events that will surprise no one, the team had difficulty protecting Palmer, who was sacked four times. The Cardinals offensive line is a mess, especially when considering the season-ending injury suffered in the preseason by guard Jonathan Cooper, the team's first-round pick in this past April's draft.
Next up for Arizona is a home date with the Detroit Lions, and you have to believe that Detroit's front four is ready to feast. The Cardinals are nowhere close to being Super Bowl contenders.