Watching the Arizona Cardinals lay an egg once again on national TV on Monday night, you got the feeling that nothing was going right. The truth is things didn't go right, so there is plenty to talk about referring to the bad. Nonetheless, there was some good to be had.
Let's look at both the good and the bad:
Daryl Washington's play
Washington picked up another pair of sacks, giving him eight on the season. He is the first Cardinals player to log consecutive games with multiple sacks since Simeon Rice. He also is getting sack while not rushing the passer much. He had rushed the passer only 73 times in seven previous games, logging six sacks. My bet is that he didn't rush more than a dozen times all game. He also picked up another six tackles.
John Skleton avoided the stupid mistakes
Skelton did throw an interception, but that was one you don't count. It was a Hail Mary pass with the final play of the first half. He missed throws, but there were none that made you cringe because of the decision. He did not force things, which is one of the things that has been expected of the team's quarterbacks this season.
Larry Fitzgerald was not hurt
When he left the field slowly and was seen on the sideline being given a concussion test, there was reason for concern. He passed the baseline test and was able to play the rest of the game. He said after the game that it was his eye twice. The first time he got turf in his eyes and the last time was when the defensive player got him in the eye with his fingers as he grabbed Fitz' facemask (and didn't get flagged for it). An injury to Fitz would have been devastating to the rest of the season.
And that is about it on the good side...
No running game
The 49ers do have an elite defense that stuffs most every offense, however, nine carries for seven yards rushing is not enough. Ken Whisenhunt made an effort to point that out. "I'll tell you this; we're not going to do very well if we keep running the ball like we did tonight," he said in his postgame comments to the media. "When a guy lines up over your nose and you completely miss him and he comes back and hits you in the backfield, that's not good enough." Without the running game even being a threat, it made it easy for the Niners to simply "pin their ears back" and go after John Skelton.
This was the most troubling part of it all. The defense was missing tackles, especially in the secondary. It led to big plays -- specifically the 47-yard touchdown play by Randy Moss and the second score by Michael Crabtree when Patrick Peterson slipped and fell. This defense prides itself on being able to stop teams. You can't do that if you miss tackles.
John Skelton's throwing issues
He was part of the good in how he did not make dumb throws. However, he did not play a great game at all. He missed receivers right and left. He overthrew an open Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown. He had other throws that would have led to plays had they been lower. He flat out was not on the same page as his receiver at least three or four times and threw the ball where there wasn't anyone at all. Ball placement was bad, leading to the talk of his being inaccurate. Truth be told, he just does not have good ball placement on his throws. He can make good throws and has a great arm, but his placement is frequently off. He throws to the wrong shoulder. He throws high. he throws to the wrong spot. He has not improved in that facet of his game at all since last season. It looked a lot like....dare I say it...Derek Anderson.
The reason to still believe
The team still believes in itself. They all feel strongly about their game plan. They know that it has worked. When we gave up on them last year, they proved that it did work. They proved it at the start of the season. Knowing that keeps the players hungry to do it again.
The defense is still very good. Just a little help from the offense will fix a lot.
The reason to fear
Just as I said that just a little help from the offense will fix a lot, it is hard to see the offense doing anything with the play of the offensive line. And if the line does not improve, then nothing else will improve. That is a scary thing. With the line playing as it has, it is hard for many to envision the Cards winning any more games.
The team has a short week to get ready for their road game against the Green bay Packers. This would be the perfect statement game, especially since Green Bay is missing a few players themselves.