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Cards were coming off an upset win over Green Bay. Lions were learning to deal with a disappointing 4 & 8 W & L. Lions have had their moments; having beaten New England and Green Bay; but they also lost to such juggernauts as the Jets and Niners.
Injury-ridden Cardinal roster is dotted with "guys you never heard of." Especially scary is an O-line consisting of Holden, Aboushi, Cole, Gossett and Cunningham (backed by the "law firm" of: Golditch, Odhiambo, Munyer & Barksdale). Lions and Cards are very similar teams (i.e. banged up, thin at critical positions etc. One difference is at QB - Stafford is more athletic and experienced than Josh Rosen.
Lions "Out-Meh" Lifeless Cardinals 17 - 3
The Bottom Line:
For boredom, this game rivaled the infamous 20 - 20 (Neal O Donough) MNF tie vs. the Giants, Oct. 25, 1983:
In a poorly played game with an incredibly bad finish, the Giants and Cardinals played a 20-20 overtime tie tonight.
The Giants apparently had the game won in regulation time, only to watch Neil O'Donoghue of the Cardinals tie the score on a 22-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining. In overtime, O'Donoghue missed three field goals - from the 45-yard line, then the 20, then the 42.
The 20-yarder, the equivalent of an extra point, came with 66 seconds remaining in overtime. The 42-yarder came with 25 seconds left. The game lasted more than four hours, and when it ended many of the remaining fans from the 45,630 who turned out at Busch Memorial Stadium booed the Cardinals.
There were a lot of exciting football games around the League yesterday - marked by close scores and feats of athleticism. Yesterday's loss to the dreary Lions was not one of them. (it was more reminiscent of typical preseason Game 4's - where most teams rest their starters and audition scrubs for the back-ends of their rosters).
So sad and dreary has been this season's lackluster level play that following the Cardinals (considered by yours truly to be "a labor of love" has become more a matter of "beating our heads against the wall 'because it feels so good when we stop."
For this reason, our coverage of Cardinal football will be curtailed somewhat (because, frankly, we find Christmas shopping at the mall to be a more excitiing way to spend the rest of December):
We're not going to waste time on play by play (Too sad an (pardon the pun) "undertaking").
1st Quarter Score: Cards 0 - Chargers 0 2nd Quarter
Pick Six - Slay - 67-yds. Lions 10 - Cards 0
- Third Quarter Score: Lions 10 - Cards 0
FG - Gonzalez - 22 yds - Lions 10 - Cards 3.
TD - Zenner - 1-yd run - Lions 17 - Cards 3
Final Score: Lions 17 - Cards 3
Notable Game Stats.
First Downs: Cards 22 - Detroit 16
Total Net Yards: Cards 279 - Detroit 218
Rush Yards: Cards 21/61 - Lions 31/122
Passing: Rosen 26-41-1
Passing Yards: Cards 218 - Lions 96
Penalties: Cards 8 for 83-yds- Lions 7 for 68-yds
Time of Possession: Cards 31:44 - Lions 28:16
Rushing: Johnson 15 carries for 49 yds
................ Zenner 12 carries for 54 yds and 1 TD
Receiving: D Johnson 8 for 12 yds. Sherfield 5 for 77Fitz - 5 for 55 yds
................: Riddick 4 for 30
The Dark Side
Boring, unimaginative offensive play calling
Failure of pass catchers to get open/stay open..
OL couldn't block my grandmother.
Poor tackling technique (their runners would bounce off our tacklers after contact)
Lack of second effort in run game (when their tacklers hit our runners, they stay hit)
'Til now, I've winced every time I read a whining fan putdown on a bulletin board or in a forum about "how bad the poor Cardinals are." I took the philosophical view that "bad things sometimes happen to good teams" and "this too will pass." Can't do it anymore. Yesterday's game demonstrated that something is fundamentally wrong with this football team - starting at the top and filtering down to the lowest backup on the roster.
With, the exception of a handful of professionals (most notably Fitz, C Jones, P Peterson), this is a bad football team. "Injuries" are no excuse (Other teams have injuries to key players, but find a way to hang in there).
Compare this year's roster to last year's and you'll see a fallout in talent at most if not all key positions. Why so large a fall-off in just one year? There was more life, oomph and positive emotion at the GHW Bush funeral than there was along the Cardinal sideline. Memo to Michael B - "You've got a management problem." Not only is the team not performing, but - unless there's a fundamental cultural change, you run the risk of losing your fan-base.
Any major personnel change needn't (nor should they) be taken lightly. (Peoples' livelihoods and families are at stake). But the more I look at this Cardinal team - from top to bottom - the more I conclude that "it walks like a duck and talks like a duck." (It will take courage, decisiveness and executional sure-footedness on your part, but it's got to be done if the Cards are to compete successfully in the NFL.