The NFL's Four Horsemen of Disappointment

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
The NFL's Four Horsemen of Disappointment
IconAfter eight weeks of NFL games, it may be too early to predict who's going to win the Super Bowl, or even who's going to make the playoffs.  However, it's not too early to talk about which teams are this season's biggest disappointments. These teams' fans went into the season with high hopes, but now find themselves shaking their heads and wondering how the NFL season went so terribly, terribly wrong.
 
ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-7):
 
Why were they supposed to be good?
No one was predicting the Cardinals were Super Bowl-bound, but this was supposed to year they started winning and possibly made a run at a playoff spot.  They spent the big bucks to add RB Edgerrin James to an offense that already featured two of the best young WRs in football.  All Kurt Warner had to do was steer the ship in the right direction.
 
What's the problem?
Kurt Warner steered the ship into an iceberg.  Before being benched after four games, the former league MVP racked up twelve sacks, five INTs, and ten fumbles.  To be fair, some of the blame might lie with the Cards' horrific offensive line, but Warner's statuesque presence in the pocket probably didn't help.  In addition to letting too many teams pounce on their QBs, Arizona's O-line isn't giving Edge the space he needs to produce.  
 
First-Half Lowlight: 
It's a tie.  In week six, the Cardinals pulled a gut-wrenching choke job on Monday Night Football when they blew a twenty-point lead and lost to the Bears 24-23.  They followed up that embarrassing performance with their week seven debacle, losing to the lowly Raiders 22-9.  Arizona fans suffered more humiliation in a seven day period than most fans experience in a lifetime.    
 
What's the future look like?

Dennis Green is as good as gone, but they do have a strong nucleus in place.  If they can bring in the right coach, shore up their offensive line, and add a little more to the defense, they might be the team of the future.  Matt Leinart has Pro Bowl-type talent and Pro Bowl-type receivers to throw the ball to.  However, if history tells us anything, it's that everything the Cardinals do manages to blow up in their face.  Why should that stop now?

 
DETROIT LIONS (1-6):
 
Why were they supposed to be good?
The Lions offense looked to improve by dumping perennial underachiever Joey Harrington at QB in favor of seasoned veteran Jon Kitna.  With Mike Martz in as offensive coordinator, Kitna, along with talented returning players RB Kevin Jones and WR Roy Williams, was gearing up for a banner year.  This high-octane offense was going to win games and put Detroit in position to finish second in their division and challenge for a wild card berth into the playoffs.
 
What's the problem?
Defense wins championships...and it also loses them.  Detroit's D is giving up 27 points per game — second-worst in the league — and they're the fourth-worst team against the pass.  They've also had a tough schedule to start off the season.  Four of their six losses came on the road against good teams: at Chicago, at St. Louis, at Minnesota, and at the New York Jets

First-Half Lowlight:
Going into week two, Roy Williams predicted a victory over the Bears in Soldier Field.  Instead, the Lions lost 34-7, giving up 383 yards through the air and fumbling the ball three times.  Whoops.  That prediction went so well, Williams recently predicted this team could go 9-0 down the stretch.  I don't like their chances.      
 
What's the future look like?
Steady as she goes.  They're getting better offensively, but eventually this franchise needs to find their quarterback of the future.  Harrington obviously wasn't the guy, and Kitna's too old to be a long-term solution.  The good news? At the rate they're losing, the Lions should have a high enough draft pick to address the QB need come April. 

 
MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-6):
 
Why were they supposed to be good?
The Fish finished 2005 with six straight wins.  Then they bolstered a talented offensive unit by bringing in QB Daunte Culpepper.  Chris Chambers was set to emerge as the next superstar wide receiver.  And with Ricky "the Chronic" Williams suspended by the league, RB Ronnie Brown was ready to follow up an impressive rookie campaign as Miami's number-one ball carrier.  Combine this lethal offense with Miami's always formidable defensive unit and you had prognosticators in a lather, with some even predicting a march into the Super Bowl.
 
What's the problem?
Did I mention Culpepper just came off having major knee surgery?   No?  Unfortunately for Dolphin fans, the former Pro Bowler didn't look right from game one.  He was immobile, made bad decisions, and was mercifully benched after four games.  The offense, now being led by Joey Harrington, never got going - and will probably never recover.
 
First-Half Lowlight: 
It's not often that a win qualifies as a lowlight.  In week three, the Dolphins looked to turn things around against the lowly Tennessee Titans at home.  Instead, they struggled, with Culpepper throwing for only 168 yards and zero TDs.  Miami squeaked by with a 13-10 victory...and their fans realized they were in for a long, painful season.
 
What's the future look like?
If Culpepper can get completely healthy and return next season as the QB everyone thought he'd be, the Fins might have something to get excited about.  But that's a big "if" at this point.

   
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-5):
 
Why were they supposed to be good?
Because they're the defending Super Bowl champs.  They brought back their hard-hitting defense and have great young offensive players in QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB Willie Parker.
 
What's the problem?
Has any player ever had a rougher six months than Roethlisberger?  In a half-year span, the guy was in a horrific motorcycle accident, had an emergency appendectomy, and then suffered a concussion in the week seven loss to Atlanta.  He hasn't looked sharp all season, throwing 11 INTs in six games.  After eight weeks of NFL play, Pittsburgh has the same record as predictably bad teams like the Raiders, the Browns, the Texans, the Titans, and the Niners.
 
First-Half Lowlight: 
Some fans and experts assumed Coach Bill Cower would use week eight's game at the Raiders to rest Roethlisberger and get an easy win.  Instead, Big Ben started, threw four INTs, and led his team to an embarrassing loss.  How embarrassing?  Oakland only gained 98 yards of total offense and still pulled out the 20-13 win.  
 
What's the future look like?
Steeler fans should look at the rest of this season as gravy time.  Just enjoy the fact that Pittsburgh is the defending Super Bowl champion.  They'll miss the playoffs this season, but next year, once Big Ben gets back to being a hundred percent physically, they'll be right back at the top of the AFC.  
 
Load More Stories

Follow Arizona Cardinals from B/R on Facebook

Follow Arizona Cardinals from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Out of Bounds

Arizona Cardinals

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.