From the Armchair: Arizona Cardinals, Week 3
This is not going to be one of them.
The Arizona Cardinals went to New Orleans to play against the Saints in a match-up that yielded predictable results with the final score being a loss of 31-7. Arizona started off the game by leading 7-0, but that touchdown run by Alfonso Smith would be the only score they would have throughout the entire game. Not even a single field goal was made nor attempted by Jay Feely, who had 4 of them the previous week versus the Lions, due to their inability to get past the center of the field.
The Cardinals had several issues on both sides of the ball, most notably the offensive line, which allowed quarterback Carson Palmer to be sacked 7 times, including 2 from Saints' defensive end Cameron Jordan. Palmer also only completed half of his pass attempts for a measly 187 yards and threw 2 interceptions to 2 defensive backs, who are new to the Saints' squad this season. Coach Arians decided not to put much emphasis into their run game, which has always been more successful at gaining first downs versus the pass play. Arians may want to reconsider his pass-heavy playing style and opt to utilize Rashard Mendenhall’s running abilities more often.
Another of the Cardinals key problems are critical-injury related, especially on the defensive side. Defensive back Rashad Johnson and linebackers Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander were injured during the game in the first half. Arizona's remaining defense was incapable of stopping Brees and his offensive attack unit, as he threw 342 yards with nearly 2/3 of his pass attempts completed. The Cards left Jimmy Graham to single coverage and by none of their star defensive backs, during his infiltrating performance. However in light of the problematic defense, there were a few solid stellar moments, including rookie and New Orleans native Tyrann Mathieu having a breakthrough performance play, in which he intercepted a pass from Drew Brees in the end zone.
The Cardinals must now get ready to go to Florida to face the Buccaneers next week, while an unhappy coach Arians puts the effort to motivate his lackluster and seemingly un-confident team into putting in the effort and goal-oriented mind-set to play better than they portrayed against the Saints.