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The Setup
What we weren't sure about the Cardinals is whether they had the juice to remain competitive against the very talented teams on their second half schedule and whether they could stay consistently sound throughout the balance of the year.

Apparently, they're not consistent enough to be considered anywhere near the NFL elite.

A talented young Cardinal team team went up against an even younger Miami team led by an extremely talented rookie QB. It was a seesaw affair with Miami grabbing an early lead and the two teams exchanging scores well into the 2H, with the Cards finally grabbing a lead late in the 3Q but unable to hang onto it when Gonzalez's 11th-hour FG attempt fell short

Cards played well enough to win it...but they didn't. Good teams don't let Lady Luck determine their future. The irony is that Gonzalez was predictable in being unpredictable. That's why they play the games).

"Cards fall FG short in 3-point loss to Miami"

The Bottom Line:
Dolphs surprisingly were 4 & 3 and occupied second place in the very competitive AFC East. They made a gutsy (and somewhat controversial) move last week when they elevated rookie QBOF Tua Tagovailoa to starter when the Dolphs were 3 & 3.

Their surprise win over the Rams crowned them one of the AFC's " teams to watch" and the latest in a series of "media darlings." Tua is talented, but he was also a rookie. The combination of Miami's defense and Tua's natural skills were enough to take apart the Rams. Will it be enough to assure success throughout the balance of the season?

Short answer - Sure looks like it.

The 5 & 2 Cards were coming off a Bye week and, before that, an upset win over Seattle. Question was: "Which Cardinal team would suit up?

The wrong Cardinal team ran onto the field.

The "wow!" Cardinal team remained in the locker room. The penalty-prone, mistake-riddled Cardinal team trotted out from the dressing room and and proceeded to lay the proverbial egg (not so rotten that you could label them a "bad football team" but just ugly enough to lose.

What we didn't know about the Cardinals is whether they had the juice to remain competitive against the very talented teams on the back end of their schedule and whether they'd remain consistent throughout the balance of the year. One of the hallmarks of the top NFL teams is that - win or lose - you can trust them to to perform at a high level. The missed late FG by Gonzalez is the perfect metaphor for " a team on the upswing that you can't always trust. Gonzalez has the kicking chops that enable him to be consistent most of the time, but not always - too often he'll miss a crucial kick just when you need it most. That's what happened during those final couple of minutes vs. the Dolphs. Cards lost a very winnable contest.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter
Mia 4:23 Shaq Lawson 36 fumble return (Jason Sanders Kick) Miami 7 - Arizona 0
Ari 8:09 Maxx Williams 4 pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick) Miami 7 - Arizona 7
Mia 14:05 Jordan Howard 2 run (Jason Sanders Kick) Miami 14 - Arizona 7

2nd Quarter
Ari 0:37 Christian Kirk 56 pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick) Miami 14 - Arizona 14
Mia 4:42 Preston Williams 9 pass from Tua Tagovailoa (Sanders Kick) Miami 21 - Arizona 14
Ari 9:54 FG Zane Gonzalez 37 Miami 21 - Arizona 17
Mia 15:00 FG Jason Sanders 56 Miami 24 - Arizona 17

3rd Quarter
Ari 3:12 Darrell Daniels 21 pass from Kyler Murray (Zane Gonzalez Kick) Miami 24 - Arizona 24
Ari 12:32 Kyler Murray 12 run (Zane Gonzalez Kick) Miaimi 24 - Arizona 31

4th Quarter
Mia 3:41 Mack Hollins 11 pass from Tua Tagovailoa ( Sanders Kick) Miami 31 - Arizona 31
Mia 11:30 FG Jason Sanders 50 Miami 34 - Arizona 31

Gonzalez FG attempt falls short - Final Score Miami 34 - Arizona 31

Notable Game Stats.

  • First Downs Miami 24 - Cards 26
  • Passing: Murray 21 for 26, 360 Yds 3 TD,0 Int...150.5 Rating
    ................Tagovailoa 20 of 28 for 283 yds 3 TDs...0 Int...3 sacks...122.3 Rating

    Sacked By: Cards 3 - Miami 1

    Rushing: Cards - Murray 11 for 106, 1 TD, Edmonds 25 for 70
    .................Miami - Ahmed 7 for 38...Taglovailoa 7 for 35...Howard 10 for 19...1 TD...

    Receiving: Cards - Kirk 5 of 8 for 123 yds...Fitz 4 of 5 for 54 yds...Edmonds and Hopkins 3 .................apiece
    .................. Miami - Parker 6 of 7 for 64 yds...Willims 4 of 5 for 60 & 1 TD...Grant 4 of 5 for 35 ...Gesicki 3 of 4

    Tackles - Cards - Hicks 7...P Peterson 6...Campbell 6.
    ................Miami - J Baker 7 ...5 tacklers - 5 apiece

    Interceptions By - Cards - 0... Miami 0

    Fumbles Lost - Cards 1 of 2 - Miami 0 of 0

    Penalties - Cards 7 for 71 - Miami - 7 for 75

    Time of Possession: Cards 31:03- Miami 28:57

The "Bright Side"

  • We almost won.
  • We didn't let the game get away from us in the second half.

    K Murray played an MVP game (with both his arm and his legs)

  • Reddick and Simmons had strong first halfs.

The Dark Side

  • We Lost.
  • Too many penalties sustained Miami drives and cut short a few drives of our own.
  • Sloppy defensive plays
  • Inconsistent run game

Predictable play calling

Short-yardage running plays seemed designed to lose yardage 50% of the time.

We were overmatched at the CB2 position opposite P Peterson and couldn't stop Dolph sustained drives.

Last Word:
The Cards will need more than their share of good luck to win enough games to reach the playoffs. It's not so much that the talent is not there, but rather that one or two plays will be undermined by a following play that sustains an opposing drive or ends one of our own. .

We can't allow that to happen and expect to win.

Missed tackles. Dumb penalties - hardly the formula for winning enough games to reach the playoffs. On the same day Seattle lost still another game (this time to Buffalo) the Cardinals failed to sniff blood in the water and take advantage of a gimme.

Cards face Buffalo Sunday, followed by Seattle and then New England and then the Rams. They'll have to play better than they did vs.Miami if they expect to do any damage approaching post-season..

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012