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What they are saying...
Andrew at Revenge of the Birds blog has a list of things that went wrong. Here's an abbreviated version.
Revenge Of The Birds - For Arizona Cardinals Fans
Derek Anderson's leash should be very short right now. He didn't play well last week against the Rams -- sqeeking out a win. This week he continued to struggle and couldn't lead the Cardinals offense into the red zone or get one third down -- none.
- I won't start calling for his head just yet but I was ready to see Max Hall in the second half.
- The defense has the talent, just not he right coordinator. Bill Davis has disappointed me so far this year.
- Ken Whisenhunt isn't taking chances.
- Penalties have murdered the Cardinals.
Understandably, the mood in Hotlanta is more upbeat...
Falcons Rise Up To .500 With 41-7 Blowout Of Cardinals - SB Nation Atlanta
Matt Ryan threw for 225 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdown passes. Jason Snelling added 186 total yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons get to 1-1.
The Falcoholic - For Atlanta Falcons Fans
It's hard not to revel when your Falcons take what is, at least on paper, a quality team and utterly annihilates them. Matt Ryan was efficient and effective, Jason Snelling was awesome, Roddy White kept things going and the offensive line recovered. That's to say nothing of the defense, which collected picks and sacks against a hapless Derek Anderson.
And from the local media...
Arizona Cardinals dominated by Atlanta Falcons
The Cardinals responded by making nearly every mistake possible. They were penalized eight times in the first half, including a holding call that nullified a kick return for a touchdown by LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Lost Trip To Atlanta
“We won’t make excuses,” Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said, after his team was hammered, 41-7, by the Falcons Sunday at the Georgia Dome. “We got a butt whooping. And sometimes, it takes a butt whooping.”
Cardinals Postgame Press Conference
If there's one thing we hear all the time it's that NFL football is a game of rules. People love to have some rules. Can't have chaos, so we got to have us some rules.
And one rule says that you can't touch the official. Except players touch officials all the time when they are talking or want to, you know, get the officials attention.
Of course, players should not be "laying hands" on the officials in any kind of aggressive manner, but what happened with about four minutes left in the Cardinals/Falcons game was a touchy official overreacting to Kerry Rhodes.
Rhodes gets up off the ground and approaches the official, who is walking near him but not looking in his direction. Rhodes puts his hand out to tap the official on the shoulder to say something (a gesture that is extremely common in all sports between players and officials) and the official freaks out.
You can see the official put up his arm, shove Rhodes in the chest and then throw his pretty yellow flag. After talking to his buddies, they decided that Rhodes "grabbed" the official and he was ejected. I am sure the rules-loving NFL will fine him as well.
Chill out, zebra. The big bad (Cardinal) man isn't trying to hurt you.
This one was a blow out as soon as Derek Anderson threw the interception on the first possession of the second half which lead to another Falcons touch down.
Since that point the Cardinals have simply rolled over and allowed the Falcons to pound the ball.
The latest drive was 80 yards, 8 plays and plenty more punishing runs from Jason Snelling.
Rookie Max Hall will now get his first NFL action in this mess of a game. Welcome to the NFL, kid.
Yup, that just happened. Again. Derek Anderson throws another interception giving the Falcons great field position which their quickly and easily convert into seven points.
At some point the Cardinals have to think about running out Max Hall. Right? It's not like anything else has worked today.
This one is over.
Could that have gone any worse for the Cardinals? Probably. They did "only" have one turnover and they did manage to bust off one good play for an 80-yard Tim Hightower touch down run. Not much else positive beyond that.
Derek Anderson has a very Anderson-like 50 percent completion rate (10-for-20) for 112 yards. He's been sacked twice and picked off once. Larry Fitzgerald has three receptions for 46 yards.
Outside of Hightower's big run, the Cardinals haven't done much on the ground either - 15 yards on 6 carries.
The Cardinals have 7 first downs and are 0-for-5 on third down conversions.
The defense has allowed the Falcons to run all over the field for a total of 261 yards (136 rushing). Matt Ryan has a passer rating of 128.7 on the strength of 13-for-18 passing for 127 yards.
Outside the poor offense and horrible defense, the Cardinals have racked up 84 yards on 8 penalties. That's not going to get it down.
Let's see if some Coach Whiz head-busting will have any effect on the second half.
You would think that Michael Turner leaving the game (questionable to return) with a groin injury after racking up 75 yards on nine carries would help the Cardinals. But at this point it doesn't matter who the Falcons give the ball to - the Cardinals defense doesn't look capable of stopping anyone.
This is just getting silly now. The Falcons drive once again for the touchdown, this time going 78 yards on eight plays with the aid of 17 yards in Arizona penalties.
You can blame the officials if you want, but the Cardinals are getting their butts kicks all over the field and the yellow flags are a symptom of their suck so far and not the cause.
257 total yards so far for Atlanta against a Cardinals defense that looks pathetic so far.
Boy, you would like to say that 37 points would make for an exciting game but the fact is that neither of these teams is playing all that well. The Falcons are just playing more less-well than the Cardinals and push their advantage to 17-7 after another successful drive.
72 yards, nine plays totaling only 3:25 in clock time. The drive was helped by yet another Arizona penalty, a questionable 19 yard pass interference call on Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie.
97 total penalty yards in the game so far and counting. Go Zebras!
Sometimes you don't need to be good at the game of football when you have luck and the Cardinals were lucky to get an 80 yard run on the first play from scrimmage by Tim Hightower.
The Falcons should be kicking themselves right in their Dirty Birds for letting the here-to-for hapless Cardinals up off the mat.
See what happens when you turn the ball over? It's really not rocket science this game of football. It's not like baseball with its subtleties and nuances. It's football. The objective is to move the ball and score and to do that you need to not throw the ball to the other team.
The Falcons drive started on the Arizona 43 and got within the 10 yards line before a dumb penalty and a Cardinals sack "held" Atlanta to an easy field goal.
Is the time zone thing got the Cardinals thinking it's still 10 a.m. and they are mentally still in their cozy beds? Whatever it is, the Cardinals look decidedly flat and mistake-prone.
40 yards given up in penalties and a David Anderson interception and we aren't yet out of the first quarter.
Boys better swap out the Gatorade for coffee.
Not a good start at all for the revitalized, physical Arizona Cardinals defense, as the Falcons drove the ball 70 yards on nine plays for an opening drive touchdown.
The Cardinals Kerry Rhodes started things off with an Unsportsmanlike Conduct foul that gave the Falcons an extra 15 yards to start things off with great field position.
Atlanta running back Michael Turner ran the ball four times for 26 yards and Matt Ryan went 2-for-3 for another 14 yards on the drive.
It’s a no-go for Beanie today. Sounds like it wasn’t even that hard of a decision. The Cards will go with Tim Hightower, Jason Wright and LaRod Stephens-Howling. No need to remind Timmy to hang on to the ball, but it would be helpful if he could.
Nose tackle Gabe Watson is out, too, along with the same gang from last week.
Yesterday, the plan was for Beanie Wells to get a full practice today in preparation for Sunday's Cardinals game against the Atlanta Falcons. Today, we learned that Wells was once again limited and his knee continues to swell after working out.
According to AZCardinals.com, he's a game-time decision, which doesn't bode well for the underdog Cardinals, who are also missing wide receiver Early Doucet (hernia) and have yet to see Larry Fitzgerald back to full strength.
Playing with and through injuries is part of football and no team will go through the season unscathed. The Cardinals can only hope they are getting their injuries out of the way early in the season.
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Falcons' quest to reach the playoffs after a one-year hiatus got off to a stumbling start in Pittsburgh last week, as Matt Ryan and company failed to find the end zone in a disconcerting 15-9 overtime loss to the Steelers.
In Sunday's home opener, which will bring native son Ken Whisenhunt and recent playoff foe the Arizona Cardinals to the Georgia Dome, the Falcons will be attempting to reassure their fans - and perhaps themselves - that all is still well.
The Falcons went into Pittsburgh as slight favorites, with their three-game winning streak to end a 9-7 campaign in 2009, coupled with the Steelers' installation of the inexperienced Dennis Dixon as the Week 1 starter, having much to do with that fact.
But Atlanta failed to deliver on the pre-game respect, with Ryan (27-of-44, 252 yards, 1 INT) coming up empty in the touchdown-drives department, and a mostly stagnant running game finishing with just 58 yards on 25 carries.
The defense kept the Falcons in it, sacking Dixon three times and keeping the Steelers out of the end zone during regulation, though the dam finally burst on Pittsburgh's first offensive play of the extra session.
Just after Atlanta squandered a coin toss win by punting, Rashard Mendenhall gutted the Falcons defense for a 50-yard game-winning touchdown run.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, had a happier start, flying home from St. Louis a 17-13 winner over a determined Rams team.
Making his first meaningful appearance in an Arizona uniform, quarterback Ken Whisenhunt at least temporarily justified Whisenhunt's decision to crown him the starter by throwing for 297 yards on 22-of-41 passing, including a game- winning 21-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter.
Though Fitzgerald (3 receptions, 43 yards) had the big highlight after sitting out the bulk of the preseason with a knee sprain, it was running mate Steve Breaston that truly opened eyes with his performance. Breaston, vying to fill the void left when the reliable Anquan Boldin was traded to Baltimore during the offseason, caught seven passes for 132 yards in the win.
He'll look to keep up the good vibes against an Atlanta team that the Cardinals last saw in the 2008 postseason. Arizona kick-started its first-ever run to the Super Bowl stage with a 30-24 victory over the Falcons at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Cardinals lead the all-time regular season series with the Falcons, 14-10, snapping a four-game losing streak against Atlanta with a 30-27 overtime win at University of Phoenix Stadium in Week 16 of the 2007 season. The Falcons defeated the Cardinals four times between 1999 and 2006, with the most recent matchup in that string coming in 32-10 fashion at the Georgia Dome in 2006. The Cardinals are 0-4 in Atlanta since last winning there in the 1993 regular season finale.
The Cardinals' 30-24 home win during the 2008 playoffs is the only postseason matchup between the franchises all-time.
Cardinals head coach, Atlanta native, and Georgia Tech alumnus Ken Whisenhunt is 2-0 against the Falcons (regular season and playoffs), for whom he played 55 games as a tight end between 1985 and 1988. Atlanta's Mike Smith is 0-1 against both Whisenhunt and the Cardinals as a head coach.
WHEN THE CARDINALS HAVE THE BALL
Anderson didn't make Cardinals fans forget about Kurt Warner in Week 1, and history suggests he probably won't over the next 16 weeks either, but he did make some nice throws and came out a winner when all was said and done. The former Brown's favorite target was Breaston, who had a huge game on a day when Fitzgerald was mostly a non-factor. Fitzgerald caught just three passes for 15 yards in his first appearance after missing most of the preseason with a knee sprain. The receiving corps was also struck a blow when a groin injury to Early Doucet forced the team to play undrafted rookies Max Komar (2 receptions, 29 yards) and Stephen Williams a great deal. The Idaho product Komar was nearly a goat in the game, fumbling three times, though he lost just one. Doucet is a question mark for this week. In the running game, Tim Hightower (13 carries, 54 yards, 1 TD, 4 receptions) and LaRod Stephens-Howling (7 carries, 49 yards) each contributed, though Hightower's two lost fumbles were concerning. The pair was working in the absence of Beanie Wells, who was on the shelf with a knee problem. Wells could be back in the lineup this week. The less-than-mobile Anderson was sacked just twice against the Rams.
The silver lining in the Falcons' opening-week loss was the play of the defense, which did not surrender a touchdown in the game's first 60 minutes and kept the big plays to a minimum. Prior to his 50-yard blast in overtime, Mendenhall carried 21 times for just 70 yards. Linebacker Curtis Lofton had a huge game for the Falcons, making 11 tackles and notching a sack of Dennis Dixon, while rookie first-round LB Sean Weatherspoon (8 tackles) was also a difference maker in his NFL debut. The run-stopping group could be bolstered this week by the return of defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, who is eligible to return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. The job of defending Fitzgerald and Breaston this week will fall primarily to cornerbacks Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes (3 tackles), with ends Kroy Biermann (2 tackles) and John Abraham (2 tackles) chasing Anderson. Robinson logged six tackles in his debut with the Falcons last week, and Biermann and Anderson each notched sacks.
WHEN THE FALCONS HAVE THE BALL
All eyes will be on Ryan and the Falcons offense this week, as they attempt to turn the page following a disappointing outing in Pittsburgh. Finishing off drives will be job number one for the third-year quarterback, a directive that will be easier if wideout Michael Jenkins (shoulder) is able to shed his questionable status to play this week. With Jenkins out of the lineup against the Steelers, Ryan leaned heavily on Roddy White, who posted an NFL-best 13 catches for 111 yards in the win. If Jenkins can't go again, Harry Douglas (3 receptions, 39 yards) would likely get a second straight start. Tight end Tony Gonzalez (2 receptions, 35 yards) logged his 1,000th career reception in last week's contest. Ryan and company will need a complementary effort from the running game, which saw Michael Turner post a disappointing 19-carry, 42-yard effort against the Steelers' staunch front seven. Turner was held to 18 carries for 42 yards with a touchdown in the 2008 playoff game against Arizona. The Atlanta line allowed an acceptable two sacks against a quality Pittsburgh pass rush a week ago.
The Cardinals defense made life generally difficult for Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford last week, and the former Heisman winner probably won't have many pleasant visions of Arizona safety Adrian Wilson (2 tackles). Wilson picked Bradford off twice, sacked him once, and also blocked a field goal in the Cardinals victory. Fellow safety Kerry Rhodes (2 tackles) also had a pick in his first game with the team, though cornerback Greg Toler (13 tackles) had trouble containing Rams wideout Mark Clayton (10 receptions, 119 yards). In the pass rush, outside linebackers Joey Porter (2 tackles) and Clark Haggans (5 tackles) did not sack Bradford but combined for three hurries. The Cardinal run defense held Steven Jackson to a modest 81 yards on 22 carries, with inside linebackers Paris Lenon (8 tackles) and Daryl Washington (6 tackles) holding up pretty well along with star end Darnell Dockett (6 tackles).
Anderson nearly put up a 300-yard effort in his first game as a Cardinal, but it's important to remember that performance came against a shaky Rams defense. He doesn't figure to be as effective against a good Falcons unit, and the same goes for Breaston, though the wideout's chemistry with the QB makes him a worthwhile play. The still-recovering Fitzgerald figures to start putting up high-quality fantasy numbers sooner rather than later. There's no counting on the Arizona running backs at this stage. Cardinals kicker Jay Feely made his only field goal attempt (from 22 yards out) last week, but the ex-Falcon isn't what you would call an elite-level kicking play.
On the Atlanta side, Turner did little to inspire confidence in owners with his play last week, but is almost guaranteed to put up better numbers against a defense of a lower quality than Pittsburgh's. White is a must-start, but none of the Falcons' other offensive weapons are reliable enough to use. The defense is a decent play, however.
While the Falcons have to be frustrated to lose to a Steelers team they clearly could have beaten, the defeat did show that Atlanta is a hard-nosed team that has taken a step forward in the talent department since last year. At the same time, the Cardinals' unimpressive win in St. Louis is an indication that they have taken a step back. Start with the fact that Atlanta is a superior team to Arizona, move onto the fact that making back-to-back road trips never offers much of a competitive advantage in the NFL, and you'll come up with a victory for the Falcons.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Falcons 24, Cardinals 16
Six and a half points are lot to be giving up, even on the road. It just goes to show you how little people think of the Cardinals this year. And let's be honest: they didn't exactly win over a lot of people with that sloppy performance in St. Louis against the Rams. Of course, it could be much worse ... just ask the 49er fans.
We kick off our Week 2 coverage with a some links looking back on Sunday's win over the Rams:
View from the division rivals after their dismal Week 1:
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