When I was younger, I often read about old-timey sports – baseball, mainly – and that game (and football) in its infant stages and even some newspaper articles about games at the time. Sportswriting was a whole different thing back then – Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and all that (Google Grantland Rice sometime) – but there was a one-sentence lead to a game story that always stuck with me.
Sunday, the way the Cardinals played, it was one that brought the weeps.
When Corey Peters said he felt the Cards were fortunate to be in the position they were late to have a chance to win, I could feel that. It's why it was so frustrating. There was nothing that happened that left you feeling the Lions were better. That's the NFL, oftentimes, I know. But man, to lose on a field goal to end the game when so much was missed out upon. There were times it looked like the Cards could have 40 points if they just … just did what they should.
Ultimately, the discussion is going to be about Kyler Murray. It's always going to be there with the quarterback. He was not good throwing the ball Sunday, and without all the game-changing running, it hurt. He can't throw all the picks. I know, duh. (That's two intentional grounding penalties in two games where it just seems Murray needs to better understand the rule so he isn't flagged.) He made mistakes, and it won't be the last time. Quarterbacks do that sometimes – Kurt Warner had a couple of awful days once upon a time. But he's the guy, he's going to be the guy, and he should be The Guy. He can see his receivers just fine.
But the consistency needs to be better. On offense. On defense. There are two games against two struggling teams the next two weeks. You can make the argument the Cards are too.
-- Murray made some mistakes, but you will not find a better pass than the one he dropped into Andy Isabella for the first touchdown. And Murray's TD run was all him too, after the Lions sniffed out the play.
-- That's a new one for Larry Fitzgerald. He's only had zero yards one other time in his career, back in 2004 in the wind-whipped rain of Buffalo, and he didn't have a catch that day. (The only time in his career he hasn't had a catch in a game he's played.) Sunday, he at least kept his catch streak alive, but to get no gain was jarring. He's had six previous games in his career where he had less than 10 yards receiving. Something tells me it won't happen again this season.
|Year - Opponent||Fitz Catches-Yards|
|2019 - Saints||2-8|
|2018 - Bears||2-9|
|2012 - Seahawks||1-2|
|2012 - Patriots||1-4|
|2004 - Giants||1-2|
|2004 - Bills||0-0|
-- The Cardinals will miss Budda Baker if he has to sit out any games because of his bum thumb. He got off to a rough start early against the Lions – he missed a tackle on the first play of the game and he might've had tackle on the second play but couldn't – but after that he was deadly as usual. That backend will feel the injuries to the safeties, although the passing games of the Panthers and Jets – the next two games – are not among the best in the league.
-- The Cards, like they did last year with Mason Cole, got top backup lineman Justin Murray a possession each at right guard and left guard, making sure he stays sharp.
-- It's going to be a surprise if DeAndre Hopkins isn't All-Pro again this season. He's trending toward some monster numbers.
-- Kliff Kingsbury lamented the turnovers, and really, when you look at the stat sheet, the Lions did nothing overwhelming. And while I can't confirm Kingsbury's estimation that if you lose the turnover battle 3-0 you only win five percent of the time, I'm guessing the percentage isn't good.
-- The penalties didn't overwhelm – the Cards had 7 for 48 yards, the Lions 7 for 46 – but man did they seem to come at bad times. The hardest one: Byron Murphy, getting his feet tangled with tight end T.J. Hockenson for a pass interference on second-and-15 at the Detroit 37. Kept the eventual game-winning drive going. The other? Dan Arnold's false start on fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 31, foiling a chance to go for it. The Cards got the field goal, but it felt like a TD drive was possible at that point.
That's it for tonight. How the Cardinals bounce back will be interesting to watch.