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Lions aftermath, and offensive (growing?) pains

Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to believe an offense, which had struggled from the outset of the season and now is down an offensive line and a key receiver, was going to make big strides. There’s a rookie quarterback in there, still clearly feeling his way. But much of Sunday’s loss to the Lions was difficult to watch, and whatever the reasons, the inability to really threaten the goal line much – there was only one drive inside the Detroit 36 – will be crushing every time.

No one wanted to talk about Darius Slay’s pick-6 as being deflating, and not every pick-6 is. But that one, in a game where points were at a premium, felt so much larger than a single score.

“It’s obviously going to be frustrating,” defensive tackle Corey Peters said. “But we’re working with a young quarterback who is going to make mistakes. I think we understand that. Whatever it takes to get the job done, we’ve got to do a better job on the defensive side of the ball.”

It felt like, given the drops that day, that Josh Rosen was pretty good from start to finish in his initial start against the Seahawks a couple months ago. Since then, he’s still looking for that wire-to-wire kind of performance. Again, the numbers are going to be OK from Sunday, but only because the Lions softened it up late.

Three games left. Three games in which to push Rosen further up the learning curve.

-- Larry Fitzgerald broke his record for most catches with one organization, but Fitz doesn’t like pondering that on a good day. Sunday? “Now is not the time. Being 3-10 is not a good feeling. I don’t feel celebratory.”

-- Still, Fitzgerald acknowledged being in a unique position after 15 years with the Cardinals.

“It is a two-way street in this business,” he said. “You have to want to stick with a place, organization, or team and the coaches have to want you to be here. I am appreciative of the opportunity and to the Bidwill family for giving me the shot to continue to play. I call Arizona home and it means a lot to me.”

-- Wilks was asked about the end of the first half use of timeouts, and why the Cardinals called a timeout after a one-yard run with 24 seconds left but then after a 10-yard run, he let the clock run out.

“(OC) Byron (Leftwich) and I talked,” Wilks said. “He wanted to run the ball the first time to see exactly what they were doing. At that particular time, with the second run, I wasn’t going to waste it because we weren’t being aggressive down the field. It was concerned with protection, being backed up and not wanting to give up a big play for a sack.”

-- If my unofficial tally, helped by the tweets of Lions writers was correct, there were 13 Lions that got some kind of hurt Sunday, some of whom left the game for good and leaving Detroit more short-handed than they already were. And that’s why Wilks isn’t interested in talking about the Cards’ overall injury issues, and that’s probably a good move.

-- After Michael Badgley hit a long field goal for the Chargers Sunday, it left the Cardinals as the lone team without a field goal of at least 50 yards this season. Zane Gonzalez had a chance to do so against the Lions, but his 54-yarder doinked off the left upright.

-- J.J. Nelson – four catches for 21 yards coming into the game, three for 43 on Sunday. And he was open for a potential TD in the end zone deep, except Rosen overthrew him.

-- Trent Sherfield looks like he can develop into a solid player, albeit with a small sample size thus far.

-- David Johnson got his touches but he could go nowhere. Wilks lamented a lack of push and that was noticeable given the amount of times the Cards tried to find running room between the tackles. And 12 yards on eight catches isn’t going to work – and one of his receptions went for 10 yards.

There isn’t much to break down. Not this game. It's on to Atlanta.

Coach Steve Wilks watches JJ Nelson make a catch on the sideline

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