The Cardinals have had three of their worst four offensive games of the season during this three-game losing streak, and the last time the offense was struggling this much, it was at the time a one-off in Carolina in which the Cards only gained 133 yards passing on 24 completions and the efforts to push the ball were a concern.
The next game, the Cardinals had eight plays of at least 20 yards on offense, their highest total of the season.
But the chunk play is missing right now. In these last three games, the Cards have totaled exactly four plays on offense of at least 20 yards. They average 5.3 offensive plays of at least 20 yards in their six victories. That's a stark difference.
Tight end Dan Arnold hauled in a 59-yard touchdown catch against the Rams on the Cards' first possession against the Rams. But the only other play of at least 20 yards came on Kenyan Drake's 27-yard run late in the fourth quarter, the game already decided. The game before against the Patriots, when the Cards had a season-low 17 points, they had zero plays of at least 20 yards.
For a team that has battled penalties and shooting itself in the foot so often -- one of Kyler Murray's favorite phrases -- shortening drives (and giving the Cardinals fewer chances to make mistakes) can only help with big yardage pickups.
"I think if you saw in the second half (against the Rams) we were able to be more effective in our approach," guard Justin Pugh said. "Once you get the ball rolling ... and once you get into a rhythm, those chunk plays come. I think it's definitely in that order. Once you are rolling and once you get the defense moving, that's when those plays happen."