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Arizona have never had a top defence.
Traditionally, Arizona win games not through defensive stands, but with high-powered offence. We control games not through shut down defence, but through scoring, lots, and allowing offenses to make mistakes.
Our defence is set up to capitalise on those mistakes.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett, and recent additions and newcomers Joey Porter, Kerry Rhodes, and Greg Toller are high pressure, boom or bust sort of players. They are all capable of, and regularly make, big, high impact plays, game changers. Interceptions, sacks, forced fumbles, this is their bread and butter.
The problem, of course, is that this sort of defence struggles to stop the 'long march down field'. And that's exactly what the Falcons did.
All. Game. Long.
Their gains were rarely huge, though penalties often made them so, Michael Turner, and Jason Snelling were both able to break of a few longer runs, and Matt Ryan, who looked fantastic and composed all night, made a few of his longer passes, but in the main, they got their points from long, plodding drives.
On average, their scoring drives were 9 plays long, chewing up, on average, on average, 4 minutes per drive.
Arizona were still able to turn the ball over a couple of times, in spite of this, but the stuttering offence could not make anything happen from them.
Atlanta had Arizona's number all night, and played a perfect game to counter their defensive style.
Atlanta kept the chains moving with short passes and runs, and there was not a thing the Cardinals could do to stop it.
What is sad, is that these players, many of whom are pro-bowlers, possess the skills and talents to stifle this type of play, but they were unable to adapt to do so. Atlanta didn't play into Arizona's hands, and rather than changing their play calling to counter the plays they saw unfolding, these elite players stood around wondering what was happening, while Falcons third string running back Jason Snelling marched up and down the field.
Assignments were blown, coverage was shocking and The Cardinals defence didn't seem in the slightest bit bothered.
On both sides of the ball, but especially on defence, the Cards were just not prepared enough to know what the Falcons were going to do, and too inflexible to change on the fly.