Cardinals Away Game - Rams were coming knocked out of playoff consideration. Cards won their past 2 games (vs. Cleveland and Seattle). Which team (if either) will show up ready to play?
Cards Fall Short/Lose 31 - 24 to Rams
The Bottom Line:
Cards were unable to close out the season with a "W", but at least didn't embarrass themselves like they did in the earlier constest in Glendale. From the viewpoint of a distant spectator. the game was pretty see-saw; with just 2 or 3 factors separating the two teams: (1) Turnovers, (2) Third Down Conversions and (3) Head to Head battles.
Cards won the toss and deferred. Rams drew first blood on a 47-yd Zuerlein field goal, but the Cards came right back and responded with a 23 yd TD pass from Murray to his TE (Arnold) to take the lead. LA came back with 2 TDs (a M Brown 3-yd run and a 6-yd Goff to Kupp pass) to open up a 17 - 7 lead. A Gonzalez 31 yd FG narrowed the Ram margin to 17 - 10 going in at halftime. Cards tied it up in the 3 Q with a 3-yd Murray to Byrd connection.
Two consecutive Ram TD's (on passes from Goff to Higbee and Woods) opened up a 14 point Ram lead. Cards narrowed the Ram lead to one possession (on a Drake 1-yd run) with 3:53 left on the clock, but were unable to get any closer. Game: Rams - 31 - 24.
Cards are good enough to beat the Rams but only when a combination of factors go just right - which didn't happen in LA Sunday. The Cards lost 3 fumbles and 2 interceptions and their momentum was sapped by a rash of penalties, and yet they still played to within one TD of the winning Rams team.
Complete this sentence: Protect the ball better and take fewer dumb penalties and ______________.
Memo to head coaches whose teams went south of .500 - 'Tis the season to be jolly - not. Realistically (as Freddy Kitchens will tell you) - 'Tis the season to look for a new job.
Although stranger things happen with regularity in the NFL, it looks like GM and head coaching jobs are safe in the desert - if there is a hypothetical plan (i.e. a "template for winning") it seems as if Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury are moving up the so-called "learning curve" well-enough to keep their jobs. But, in the NFL "you never know, and if we were an assistant coach or position coach, we'd continue to be a bit nervous.
Question that figures to be answered during the first half of next season is: "Are the Cards on the right path, and how fast and how well is the existing regime travel along it? Hints seeping out of Cardinal Hq points to a few possible changes on the Cardinal assistant coaching staff.
Change is good. Embrace it.
(& then pray).