Coach Bruce Arians (left) and QB Drew Stanton couldn't find the right groove in the 19-3 loss to Seattle
While many are enjoying a short work week for Thanksgiving, Drew Stanton still has business on the mind.
After his lowest-rated game of the season last time out, the Cardinals' quarterback is more than ready to return to work on Sunday against the Falcons.
"I'm very much looking forward to getting on that plane and going over there Saturday and getting a chance to go out there," Stanton said. "You're only as good as your last game, and right now our last game doesn't sit really well with me."
The Cardinals were held to a single field goal and 204 yards in a 19-3 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, the lowest offensive totals in coach Bruce Arians' 27-game tenure with the team. Stanton finished the game 14-of-26 passing for 149 yards with no touchdowns and an interception – though wide receiver Jaron Brown dropped an easy would-be score – which resulted in his lowest quarterback rating (54.8) of the season.
Stanton took over for injured starter Carson Palmer late in the Week 10 win over the Rams, rallying the team to victory by hitting wideout John Brown for a 48-yard
scoring strike. He followed that up with an ultra-efficient first quarter against the Lions, finding wide receiver Michael Floyd in the end zone for a pair of touchdowns which held up in a 14-6 victory.
In the first three drives of that game, the Cardinals looked more in sync offensively than they had at any point this season. However, the third ended in an interception, and it's been a struggle since. In the last seven quarters the Cardinals have scored only three points, resulting in a deluge of questions for Stanton on Wednesday about those struggles.
"I think it's just a matter of us trying to get on the same page and being consistent with that," Stanton said. "That's the biggest thing we've struggled with at times, because we've had spurts where we've been fantastic. It's just a matter of trying to put that together. That'll come through a lot of different things, but hopefully we can find that very soon."
Arians said the talent on Detroit and Seattle's defenses have contributed to the recent offensive struggles, but believes the bigger issue has come from within. Drops, wrong routes, missed blocks -- errors that will doom a play regardless of the defensive personnel.
"I didn't think we had any trouble in the beginning of the Detroit game, but as the game wore on, we created trouble for ourselves," he said. "Most of our problems have been self-inflicted."
Stanton, a career backup heading into 2014, has been thrown into some tough situations this year. His first start came on the road against the Giants with less than an hour notice. His four starts since have been against teams currently ranked
in the top-6 in total defense, including No. 1 (Seahawks), No. 2 (49ers) and No. 3 (Lions).
The offense should have the opportunity to right the ship against the Falcons. Atlanta has given up the most passing yards per game in the NFL this year at 284.1 and allows 125.8 rushing yards, 24th in the league.
Last week, the Falcons gave up 322 yards to Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer through the air, but picked him off three times. If the Cardinals can avoid the mistakes, they are confident improvement awaits.
"That's the thing, we're like, 'If we can come together as one on offense, we'll give a lot of teams trouble,'" John Brown said.
The Cardinals' defense has been good all year but it's reached a new level the past few weeks. Cornerback Patrick Peterson is playing very well after a slow start and has teamed with Antonio Cromartie as one of the best pair of cover men in the NFL.
The pass rush has improved greatly, as the team has 17 sacks in its last three games after only eight in the first eight. That side of the ball is clearly the Cardinals' identity, but Stanton knows the offense must do more if the team wants to maintain its spot atop the NFC down the stretch.
"We're very fortunate to have a great defense with many key players that can go in there and change the course of the game for you, but we also don't want to rely on that," Stanton said. "In order for us to be successful each and every week, we need to uphold our end of the bargain."