With the 31-17 Week 9 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Arizona Cardinals lost heir fifth straight game, falling to 4-5 entering the bye week. Arizona got into a hole early, had to work hard to almost get out of it, but then gave up big plays that put the game out of reach.
What went well? What wasn't quite as good? Here are the observations from the game.
- One of the positives you can get out of this game was that the defense limited Aaron Rodgers to some subpar numbers at the surface. He competed only 14/30 passes for 208 yards. Most of the time, if Rodgers has a line like that, you normally see a Packers' loss. The bad is that four of those 14 completions went for scores.
- One of the main tenets of the Ray Horton defense is to avoid giving up big plays. During the team's winning streak, they did just that for the most part. Against Green Bay? Not as good. There were three running plays for more than 20 yards and also three passing plays for over 20 yards, all of which went for touchdowns.
- There weren't many sacks in the game, on either side. John Skelton only was sacked twice, but the Arizona defense only got one -- a split sack between Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell. Both teams sat atop the league in sacks coming into the game.
- Arizona schemed for Green Bay's offense by essentially daring them to run the football. The Packers responded by dong it well. They ran 39 times for 176 yards. I guess that game plan was not as effective as it was hoped to have been. Tackling was an issue again and the big plays came -- three runs over over 20 yards.
- John Skelton looked much more comfortable. He still threw another interception and only completed 50 percent of his throws, but he was not sailing his throws as often as he did against the 49ers on Monday.
- Arizona's offense awoke somewhat in the second half and even picked up some big plays. Skelton completed three passes that went for more than 30 yards and a fourth that was 22 yards.
- The receivers didn't really like Skelton on Sunday. There were about half a dozen drops, including two by Early Doucet on his own. He has really struggled this season. Doucet has an unofficial six drops on the season.
- Discipline was an issue. Green Bay only was flagged for one penalty. Arizona committed eight.
Around the rest of the league:
Just how good are the Bears? They put up 51 points to go along with their ruthless defense.
Who said the running back position was dying? Nine running backs ran for 100+ yards, four for at least 140 and Doug Martin racked up 251 yards and four scores. Adrian Peterson showed he is still a stud and put up 187 against a very, very good rush defense in Seattle.
Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns for the fifth straight week and was nine yards short of 300 yards, which would have been the fifth straight game to do that as well.