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The Cardinals' Stalled Drives, And The Penalties That Hurt Most

Team has NFL-most 15 flags that derail scoring chances

Kliff Kingsbury can't be upset with a team that just won a game by 20 points, scoring 30 in the process. But the coach is still a coach, and still sees things that he wants to improve. And Kingsbury continues to harp on penalties, noting that many are coming in to undercut what they should be doing offensively.

"Huge penalties that just keep stalling drives, I think we lead the league in that category," Kingsbury said. "We've got to be able to overcome that and we did towards the end of the game."

Kingsbury isn't wrong. The fact is the Cardinals, at least on how the NFL defines a stalled drive via penalty, indeed have self-sabotaged more than any team in the league.

According to the NFL, the Cardinals have had a drive stalled via their own penalty 15 times. Four other teams are in double-digits: The Buccaneers at 14, the Seahawks and Bengals at 12, and the Giants at 10. (The first thing that pops to my mind -- imagine what Russell Wilson would be doing if it weren't for penalties.)

The Patriots, albeit in only four games, have only had one drive stalled this season because of penalties, the lowest total in the league.

According to the NFL, quarterback Kyler Murray has three such penalties (all intentional grounding) and guard Justin Pugh has three (a hold, a false start and a trip.) Out of those six penalties, though, only one -- one of Murray's -- came in a Cardinals' loss. Kelvin Beachum is the only other player with more than one, a hold and a false start. The Cardinals also have two delay of games the league does not assign to a particular player.

The Cardinals remained tied with Tampa Bay for the most penalties (42) and have had the second-most flags thrown on them (46).

Even with all that, the Cardinals are above .500 and averaging 25.6 points a game -- which is why Kingsbury can be bullish on what the offense can be, if they can just flush such mistakes.

"We just have to practice better," Kingsbury said. "The wins, we've had more penalties than the losses, which is a little unique. We have to practice penalty-free and practice cleaner and then that'll translate to the games. Right now I think we're let some stuff go on the practice field and expecting it to get cleaned up on Sundays and that's not how it works."

QB Kyler Murray fakes a handoff to Kenyan Drake on a play action pass in New York against the Jets in 2020