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'Angry' After Another Loss, And Colts Aftermath

Budda Baker was in the middle of an answer, remarkably calm considering the Cardinals had just lost their third straight game, this one to the Colts on Christmas night, when he paused.

"I kind of forgot your question," the Pro Bowl safety said, "but I'm kind of angry."

The sentiment was natural. It's hard to believe this is where the Cardinals are, 10-5 and in danger of finishing second in a division they had complete control over for much of the season. But here they are, with a road trip to Dallas staring them in the face and in desperate need of a win.

"It is frustrating," running back Chase Edmonds said, pausing. "I'm trying to find the right words to say. It is frustrating right now and that's why I say leaders got to lead. Right now is the most pivotal time that we need them."

"We're not far off," Edmonds added. "We're not crashing all the way down. We've lost three in a row. We're in a funky groove. We've got two weeks."

At Dallas. Home against Seattle. The Cardinals are likely to find themselves in the playoffs before much longer, since it only takes one of three teams losing in the next couple of days to make that happen. But as of this posting, the Cards would go to Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round against old friend Bruce Arians, not playing anywhere near the football they were at in late October.

Not the way they wanted to have Christmas go. Not the way they wanted this season to go.

-- Kliff Kingsbury said running back James Conner wasn't really that close to playing Saturday. The hope (and the need) is for Conner to be ready for the Cowboys, but we will see. The offense needs some pieces. Without Conner, center Rodney Hudson, and wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore, the unit is all fits and starts right now. The defense only gave up 20 points to the Colts. That should be good enough to win games.

-- Edmonds looked really good, with 127 scrimmage yards and a TD. His ankle isn't 100 percent, but with Conner down, "I had no choice," he said. "I'm ready to gut it out the next two weeks."

-- According to Next Gen Stats, Kyler Murray's 24-yard TD throw to Antoine Wesley had only a 19.8 percent chance of success, making it Kyler's most unlikely TD pass of the season.

-- Rookie cornerback Marco Wilson went out with a left shoulder injury, and if it is a problem – and usually, if a guy leaves the game for good with an injury, it's a problem – then the Cardinals are going to be down two of their top three cornerbacks. Robert Alford is already on IR.

-- Key special teamer Charles Washington, a safety, also was limping a couple of times. Something else to watch going forward.

-- The Cardinals kicked their final field goal with 42 seconds left in the game on third down at the Indianapolis 10-yard line, instead of taking one more shot at the end zone needing two scores. The Cards were going to need a field goal at some point, so Kingsbury went then.

"It was one of those scenarios where we're going to have to kick the onside regardless," Kingsbury said. "Once it got under one minute, we decided to take that and give ourselves some time to try and get the onside with plenty of enough time if we did get it, to go down and score a touchdown."

The onside kick was unsuccessful, however, and it became a moot point.

-- Kingsbury said veteran Joe Walker got more snaps on defense this week because Isaiah Simmons was banged up (he was on the injury report all week with a shoulder problem.) But it again underscored the reality rookie first-round pick Zaven Collins is not getting on the field on defense.

-- Saturday's game was the sixth time this season the Cardinals did not turn the ball over. It was the first time in those games they lost, going 5-0 previously.

-- The Kyler Murray 57-yard run, his longest of the year, really showed his speed (I thought he was going to score.) But the big plays came few and far between.

-- Kyler goes back home to Dallas this week, a place where both he and the Cardinals played so well a year ago. For their sake, I hope there is a repeat performance.

That's it for tonight. Time to go home.

Running back Chase Edmonds scores a touchdown during a 2021 Christmas home game against the Colts