Cardinals were 2 & 1 coming off an unexpected loss to Detroit. Panthers were 1 & 2 and missing their All Pro RB McCaffery. Key questions concerning the Cardinals: Could this team be trusted to play to the talent-level of the players on their roster?
From the opening kickoff till the final whistle, the Cardinal on-air radio voices were attributing the Cardinal tank-job as "a case of the blahs" at having to play at 10:00 (AZT) in the eastern time zone. Whatever the case, the entire team - from offense to defense to special teams - played like cardboard cutouts of real players. What does this mean looking forward? The good news is that the Cardinals are young and hard-to-predict and could pull a number of surprise upsets. The bad news is that they've played poorly enough to lose the remaining 12 games on their schedule. It could go either way.
"Wing-clipped in Carolina."
The Bottom Line:
A meh Cardinal football team showed up in Charlotte, NC Sunday morning (Arizona time) and proceded to lay the biggest egg in recent franchise history. Kyler Murray played like a rookie, missing a wide open #11 on his opening play. The OL couldn't pass or run block. Kenyan Drake had no finishing push to his running opportunities. Cardinal receviers looked lethargic. Defensive players couldn't tackle. Back 7 couldn't cover. Defense didn't play as though each player knew where he was supposed to be...or what he was supposed to be doing.
In short, it was a nightmare. Cards were shut out and down 2 TDs to the Panteras in the 1Q. Big Red managed to close the gap to a TD on Edmond's 2 yd TD pass from Murray; but couldn''t stop the Panthers from hanging onto the pigskin for 7:45 in the 4Q and putting 3 final pts worth of icing on the cake to secure a 10-pt "W."
Panthers - Davis - 1 yd run (Slye kick) - 7:21 - Panthers 7 - Cards 0
Panthers - Bridgewater - 18 yd run (Slye kick) 1:29 - Panthers 14 - Cards 0
Arizona - J Thomas - 3 yd pass fr Murray (Gonzalez Kick) 7:26 - Panthers 14 - Cards 7
Panthers- Bonnafon 3 yd pass fr Bridgewater 1;55 (Slye kick) - Panthers 21-Cards 7
Panthers - I Thomas 3 yd pass fr Bridgewater (Slye kick) - 5:26 - Panthers 28-Cards 7
Arizona - Kirk 3 yd pass fr Murray - (Gonzalez kick) -1:15 Panthers 28 - Cards 14
Panthers - Slye - 27 Yd FG -7:45 - Panthers 31 - Cards 21
Arizona - Edmonds 39 Yd pass fr Murray- 2:31 - Panthers 31 - Cards 21
(Ed Note - It's easier to cover the Cardinals when they lose, because there are more witty things you can typically say).
Horrible performance by the Big Red - they appeared to be lacking in skills, football smarts and want-to. Does this mean we'll wind up 2 & 14? Probably not (There's too much talent here to lose every remaining contest). But if anyone is dancing in the rain because making the playoffs seems a sure thing...better think again.
From losing sure-winners to attributing losses to "time-zone difficulties" - this group of players looks...walks...and quacks like (at best) a .500 football team.
Now go out and prove me wrong.