Things That Were Good
1. Another week, another strain to find good things to talk about. But, at least the Cardinals put points on the board -- though not enough. Max Hall passed for his first NFL touchdown in the first quarter and he also led the team to a rushing touchdown before things went awry, oh so horribly awry.
2. The Cardinals made an improbable and highly entertaining comeback from a 14-31 deficit to a 35-31 lead in the fourth quarter, even though they couldn't hold it.
3. For the first time all season, the Red Birds were effective on third down. They went 7-for-13 on third down conversion attempts. Both Max Hall and Derek Anderson were able to keep drives alive yesterday.
4. The red zone offense was clicking, as well. The team converted three out of four red zone tries, though the one missed try was incredibly costly and sort of nullifies the successes.
5. The run-to-pass ratio, at least in the first half, was much more balanced. With the horrendous QB play, the Cardinals are going to have to implement more ball control techniques and Whisenhunt's early play calling was in line with that mentality.
Things That Were Bad
1. The run game, while more utilized than past games, was ineffective. Primary ball carrier Beanie Wells -- outside of a short touchdown run -- was useless, gaining only 50 yards on 16 carries. Tim Hightower had only one carry, probably as punishment for his infuriating fumble last week. On the other hand, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Steve Breaston were used effectively in limited run scenarios.
2. More stupid and inexplicable turnovers. Hall threw two pick-sixes in the first half and was benched for the remainder of the game as a result. Anderson threw another two interceptions in the second half, including one in the red zone to kill a drive that might have given the team the lead for good.
3. Whisenhunt's playcalling was highly suspect. He abandoned the run in the second half, when it was obvious that neither quarterback was going to be able to throw without giving the ball away. He decided to go for the touchdown on fourth-and-2 on the Tampa Bay 3 yard line instead of just kicking a field goal (the attempt failed because the play clock nearly ran out and Anderson had to hurry into a poorly executed down). As Scott Howard said, Whiz is calling plays for Kurt Warner even though he's dancing with the stars.
4. The myth of Max Hall is officially debunked, deflated, dead. All of his good will has been squandered by two games of really poor play. He actually had a decent groove going yesterday until his brutal interceptions erased it. Hall just doesn't seem to have the zip in his throws necessary to beat a professional football secondary. The team really is in a huge quandary here. I'm glad I don't have to make the decision, but I do hope the team sticks with whomever they decide to use going forward. If the QB gets yanked in the middle of every game, it's not going to do anyone any good.
5. The NFC West is wide open. This is probably a good thing to a lot of people, but at this point, I'd almost rather know the Cardinals are out of it, so the existential pain of the team's QB situation can start to fade.