All News

Print
RSS

Blitz Risk Bruce Arians Willing To Take

Posted Oct 9, 2017

With points hard to come by, Cardinals got aggressive on third-and-long, paid price

Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor stretches to pull in a pass over Cardinals safety Budda Baker Sunday.

Bruce Arians called the blitz that couldn’t get home, the one that left rookie safety Budda Baker one-on-one deep with Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor, the one that ended in a 72-yard touchdown on third-down-and-19.

The Cardinals coach said he told defensive coordinator James Bettcher to blitz, because he wanted to flip field position – field position that is crucial as his team struggles to score points.

“I wanted us in attack mode,” Arians said.

Arians said it “should have been a sack.” But as the Cards rushed seven, defensive lineman Olsen Pierre fell and took out safety Antoine Bethea, while Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz stepped up in the pocket, leaving Tyrann Mathieu, Haason Reddick and Chandler Jones behind him.

Baker had little chance.

The gamble didn’t work, but at that point, the Cards already trailed, 24-7, and one Cardinals’ drive had fizzled on a three-and-out at their own 17-yard line. Arians already saw a field goal blocked and other opportunities missed.

He noted one, with the Cardinals trailing 21-7 late in the first half. Receiver Jaron Brown got five yards beyond his defender – but quarterback Carson Palmer couldn’t get enough on it, and beaten cornerback Corey Graham was just able to tip it enough to force an incompletion.

“Those are plays we’ve made in the past,” Arians said. “They’re on tape to make. We’re just not making them right now.”

That’s why Arians – for the most part – gambled on third-and-19. It wasn’t the whole reason. Arians acknowledged he just didn’t want to play a prevent defense, which doesn’t directly have to do with the offense’s struggles. But that played a role.

Instead came a third-down play that unraveled like many did for the Cardinals’ defense Sunday. Wentz ended up completing 11 of the 12 passes he threw on third downs, for 225 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles converted four third downs in which they needed at least 11 yards, and got another three third downs converted because of defensive penalties.

“I feel like I’ve said this a bunch of times, but we just have to regroup,” defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said. “There are a bunch of fighters in this locker room, and this isn’t going to change where we want to go.”

Arians and the team watched the video again Monday – “It’s not one you want to watch twice,” Arians said – in a game where the Cardinals scored a season-low seven points. The offense, struggling with an offensive line ripped by injury in addition to other miscues, can only try to find a way to give the team a chance to compete. Knowing that, Arians rolled the dice.

“I don’t regret any calls I make,” Arians said.

INJURY UPDATE

The Cardinals will put long snapper Aaron Brewer on injured reserve after he broke his wrist on a tackle attempt Sunday. The team was trying out potential replacements Monday.

Arians said tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and guard Alex Boone (chest) “have a chance” to play this week. Pierre, who hurt his ankle, did not sustain a fracture as first feared. But the sprain will keep him out for now, Arians said.

Add Your Comment:

Guidelines: Please keep your comments relevant to the topic and appropriate. Abusive or combatant comments towards other fans will not be tolerated and will be removed from display on this site. Use the "Report Abuse" link to help keep the Cardinals community at its best.