Safety Adrian Wilson (24) and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett tackle running back Thomas Jones during Sunday's 31-13 loss in Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald came on the last play of the game, and it could have provided an incredible ending.
Instead, it was the Cardinals' only touchdown Sunday, not enough in a season of not enough. The Cards dropped a 31-13 decision to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, a fifth straight loss that leaves the team still searching for answers instead of a way to win the division.
"We've got to find a way," quarterback Derek Anderson said. "This is getting old."
The Cardinals (3-7) didn't turn the ball over. They actually outgained the Chiefs (6-4), 382 yards to 352. But they got way too many penalties (11 for 96 yards), including some ill-timed 15-yarders that gave the Chiefs crucial field position. They couldn't convert enough on third downs and couldn't stop the Chiefs from a handful of big plays.
The Cards never did have much margin for error, and that was apparent.
"We're not a good enough team to make those mistakes and be able to win," linebacker Joey Porter said.
For a second straight week, the Cardinals opened the game with a scoring drive, one Anderson called "one of our better drives" the Cards have had. But it ended with a field goal, just like the drive the Cards began the third quarter with – after the Chiefs had already scored a third-quarter touchdown for a 21-3 lead.
Running the ball wasn't a problem, as Beanie Wells returned from his knee problems and he and Tim Hightower averaged 5.1 yards a carry. But Anderson was erratic in his accuracy – he said the swirling winds played a part – and the Cards couldn't seem to make it work consistently.
For a while, the Cards were controlling the standout Kansas City run game as well, but as the Chiefs were able to sit on the lead and continue to hand off again and again, Jamaal Charles (12 carries for 88 yards) and Thomas Jones (15 for 71 and two touchdowns) proved effective again.
And while wide receiver Dwayne Bowe didn't catch a lot – six receptions – it was for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
They made the kind of plays the Cards just couldn't.
"We're not making the plays when we have the opportunity that can change the course of a game," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
It didn't help when linebacker Gerald Hayes – angry when Chiefs tight end Chris O'Connell grabbed Hayes' facemask on a straight arm – shoved O'Connell for a 15-yard penalty that helped boost the Chiefs' first touchdown drive. Or when Anderson, upset he was tackled after the Chiefs called time out, was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he tossed the ball to the side. That cost the Cards a chance to go for it on fourth-and-2 when they were trying to get back in the game.
Those are the mistakes impossible to overcome right now.
"We're making plays but we're not making all of them," said an exasperated Steve Breaston, who mentioned a couple of times how he was tired of talking about the same things afterward.
"We're not a real confident team right now," Whisenhunt said, and while Porter insisted confidence is not a problem, the Cards' results – however they are occurring – are.
"This," Whisenhunt said, "was a very disappointing day."
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