"How could you not want that?"
That is what Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner said on Wednesday's episode of Hard Knocks when discussing the opportunity to play on Monday Night Football in Mexico City. The third episode of the HBO show, which chronicles the behind-the-scenes journey of the Cardinals' 2022 season, was all about the team's preparation for the highly anticipated showdown with the San Francisco 49ers.
It turns out, Arizona may not have wanted that.
San Francisco cruised to a 38-10 victory over the Cardinals with their seemingly unfair collection of weapons operating on all cylinders. George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk scored two touchdowns each, and Deebo Samuel also scored. Throw in impressive running from Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell to go with Nick Bosa leading the defense, and the Cardinals didn't have much of a chance.
Playing on Monday Night Football in Mexico is a dream for <a href="https://twitter.com/ColtMcCoy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ColtMcCoy</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLFilms?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLFilms</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HardKnocks?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HardKnocks</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AZCardinals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AZCardinals</a> | Wednesdays on <a href="https://twitter.com/hbomax?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBOMax</a> <a href="https://t.co/qL12Fqem77">pic.twitter.com/qL12Fqem77</a>
But the attrition started well before Arizona took the field.
Much of Wednesday's episode centered around injuries, whether it was Zach Ertz out for the year with a knee problem, Kyler Murray dealing with a hamstring injury or offensive lineman Will Hernandez missing the chance to play in front of family in Mexico City because of a pectoral injury.
Murray's setback was the most high-profile one, which meant more camera time for backup Colt McCoy after he led the Cardinals to a win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Another win was not in the cards, but it wouldn't be an episode of Hard Knocks if more than just the game took center stage.
Cornerback Antonio Hamilton opened up about the emotional journey back from the severe burns he suffered during a life-threatening kitchen accident that stemmed from a grease fire, and Hernandez still got to lead his team onto the field while waving the Mexico flag in a moment that clearly meant a lot to him.
"It took me seven years!"<br><br>This moment from Antonio Hamilton is everything. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HardKnocks?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HardKnocks</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AZCardinals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AZCardinals</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/UnitedSt8Of_Ham?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UnitedSt8Of_Ham</a> <a href="https://t.co/R0SbbcuAto">pic.twitter.com/R0SbbcuAto</a>
But everything always circles back to football, and the Cardinals are on the outside of the playoff picture and looking in at 4-7. If they don't turn things around in the next game against the Los Angeles Chargers, the postseason will be nothing but a distant dream.