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Near-Misses To Hollywood Brown, And Rams Aftermath

The game would've been different. How much different, no one knows, but it would've been different.

If Joshua Dobbs gets the ball downfield sooner to Hollywood Brown from the Rams' 37-yard line – and not allow Rams defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon to have just enough time to recover and bat the sure touchdown away – that's four points right there. (Matt Prater booted a 55-yard field goal.)

If Dobbs keeps his sideline throw over the green to Brown on a fourth-and-4 play later on, Brown scores. Brown made the catch, but he never had a chance to be in-bounds, and that's a seven-point swing. Instead, a turnover on downs.

"It's a tough one after a game to feel like this," a clearly frustrated Brown said. "We have to practice better so we can hit those in the game because I definitely felt like in that matchup I was winning my one on ones."

Tangibly, the Cardinals needed those 11 points and whatever momentum or game strategy it might've altered. It was more than that. The margin for error for this team isn't great. When the right call is dialed up, it hurts this team more than some others if it isn't executed. (And yes, I liked the playcall on the fourth down. He was wide open.)

The social feeds were full of the questions you'd expect during such a game: When is Kyler coming back. Could they give Clayton Tune some playing time. I don't sense the latter is imminent. I'm not sure the former is either. I think Dobbs is going to be the guy in Seattle and I don't think the Cardinals are going to give it any thought otherwise. (I'm not letting Tune's first start come there, either.)

Brown had 11 targets but only four catches Sunday, and that ratio needs to improve.

"We were close," Dobbs said. "There are ways I can improve. We get those two shots … and it's my job to get the ball to (to Hollywood) when he does win."

-- Damien Williams looked OK in his first playing time at running back. I thought Keaontay Ingram looked the best he has all season (although he had his most work too.) I don't know if James Conner's absence crippled them in the red zone, but overall, I think the Cardinals can make the run game work.

-- I thought tight end Trey McBride (4 catches, 62 yards) had a nice game and it'll be interesting to see how he continues to progress.

-- Matt Prater, three more field goals, moving him to 18th all-time in points scored in league history. He also had his 74th career field goal of at least 50 yards, extending his own NFL record.

-- Safety Joey Blount made a mistake early in the game when, as a gunner, he took himself five yards beyond the punt returner assuming the ball was going to drop or be fair caught and he'd need to keep it out of the end zone. But return Austin Trammell grabbed it and ran upfield 29 yards. But Blount made up for it on the next punt, crunching Trammell on a tackle to force a fumble. Teammate Bobby Price recovered for a turnover that led to a field goal.

-- It was a tough day for cornerback Kei'Trel Clark, who found out what it was like to cover someone like Cooper Kupp. Kupp's big day – seven catches, 148 yards, one touchdown – wasn't all on Clark, but the rookie got to see he still has a learning curve.

-- Cornerback Antonio Hamilton left the game with a groin injury. We also saw rookie cornerback Starling Thomas get his first defensive snaps. That defensive backs group is banged up something fierce.

-- There was something noteworthy from an ex-Cardinals player on Sunday. Calais Campbell, who is now playing defensive end for the Falcons, notched his 100th career sack against Washington. With that, Campbell is donating $25,000 to teachers in each of the four cities in which he has played in his career: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Baltimore, and, of course, Phoenix.

That's all for now. Time to fly home.

One of Hollywood Brown's two near-misses against the Rams.
One of Hollywood Brown's two near-misses against the Rams.