The circumstances around Joshua Dobbs and Joe Burrow couldn't have been further apart going into Sunday's game. Burrow was eventually going to come around – he's one of the best QBs in the game. And it's not fair to think Dobbs, who remains inexperienced in his NFL career, to think he's going to work efficiently every time he plays.
But the Cardinals just don't have the margin for error to make mistakes right now. They can't let superstars like Ja'Marr Chase do whatever they want – and Jonathan Gannon definitely let us know that in his postgame presser – and they can't afford to lose the turnover battle.
A lot went into Dobbs' struggles Sunday in the 34-20 loss to the Bengals, but he took the blame for most of it, and as the QB, he knows he's going to get it too. He had a beautiful TD throw to Hollywood Brown, but he also missed Brown deep down the field when a good pass could've been another TD. Dobbs had his two interceptions (and could've had two or three more, truthfully) and lost a fumble.
"It is on me to get us starting faster, have clean execution to start the game and I think that will set us up for more success throughout the game," Dobbs said.
The eyes are going to be on Kyler Murray every week now that it's possible for him to return. We still could be a month away or more from seeing him. I believe Dobbs is a guy who isn't going to have back-to-back poor games, but in a QB-driven league, he can't afford to anyway. The Cardinals need him to be that guy, for however long he's behind center.
-- Veteran cornerback Antonio Hamilton was in the starting lineup instead of rookie Kei'Trel Clark on Sunday. Clark played quite a bit, but that was after Hamilton left the game a couple of times (ankle, concussion check) and Jalen Thompson left for good (hamstring). I asked Jonathan Gannon if the Hamilton-for-Clark move was a matchup thing with the Bengals or because of Clark's play.
"A little bit of both," Gannon said.
Hamilton, who had played few defensive snaps in the first month (and was understandably not happy after the game Ja'Marr Chase had) didn't have any answers to whether he would remain in the starting lineup.
"I don't know, I don't control it," he said. "I just do the best that I can. Put my trust in God, and whatever He has for me is going to be for me."
-- Chase was succinct in his evaluation of his game: "It felt fun. It felt fun when you're having fun." That makes sense after 15 catches, 192 yards, and three touchdowns.
-- Chase's 63-yard TD catch, which he said came against a Cover 2 zone, felt a lot like the Giants' TD bomb to open the second half. That play also seemed to open floodgates against the Cardinals' defense.
-- The Dobbs' Pick-6 was painful, but it was even moreso given that it came right after an emotional goal-line stand by the Cardinals' defense. Safety K'Von Wallace, with the fourth-down tackle on that stand and also an interception, lost potential hero status for the day.
-- We will see what happens with James Conner but if he has to miss time, that's a big uh-oh.
-- You could say the same if Jalen Thompson is down for some time too.
-- I don't know if the Matt Prater extra-point miss had anything to do with the hold from new punter Blake Gillikin, but Gillikin had a heck of a debut kicking the ball – 54.8 yards on four punts. (Although his net was only 37.8, and I am guessing special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers will have some issues with that.)
-- Zach Ertz scored his first touchdown of the year and the emotional spike he had (after dropping two other potential scores this season) showed how important it was to him.
-- Rookie wide receiver Michael Wilson, coming off his best game, wasn't targeted until three minutes left in the game. His one catch went for 18 yards and it was a heck of a play since he was drilled in the air hard and still held on to the ball. The offense is probably not going to focus on one guy week after week, but I'd think Wilson will be targeted earlier going forward.
-- Jesse Luketa, an outside linebacker, got his first NFL start. At fullback.
-- Cardinals radio analyst Ron Wolfley missed the game Sunday after his younger brother Dale passed away suddenly on Saturday night. There might not be a closer set of brothers than Ron, older brother Craig, and Dale. Our thoughts are with the Wolfley family.
-- Four years ago, the Cardinals lost former player Kwamie Lassiter suddenly to a heart attack. His son, Kwamie Lassiter II, is on the practice squad for the Bengals and was elevated to the roster for Sunday's game because of an injury to wide receiver Tee Higgins. Not only did the Bengals send Lassiter II out for the coin toss, but with the game sewn up, they ran a quick two-yard pass play to him so he could get his first NFL catch in the city where his father made so many memories. It was a great gesture.
That's all for tonight.