The Arizona Cardinals lost to the New York Jets on Sunday, doing so in a way that some would say that set back the game of football several decades. The defense was fantastic once again for the Cardinals, but it was the offense that held things back.
Let us look at the good and the bad from that game.
The defense created turnovers
The Arizona defense has been a turnover-creating machine suddenly. The defense picked off three Mark Sanchez passes in the first half. Kerry Rhodes got two of them and forced a fumble late in the game, giving the offense at least the chance of getting the go-ahead score. Naturally, the offense could not capitalize.
The pass protection wasn't horrific
The offensive line has gotten a lot of flack for the number of sacks it has allowed. But during Sunday's game, the Jets only sacked Ryan Lindley twice. It wasn't perfect, but time to pass was not the issue of the game.
Dan Williams was productive
The actual number of plays he saw the field for is not yet known, but the nose tackle worked his tail off. He had 10 tackles, six of which were solo tackles.
Patrick Peterson's interception
Peterson has five interceptions on the season now. The one he had on Sunday was on a play he was beat on, but he recovered and took the ball away. It was one of the best interceptions you will ever see.
There was one highlight on offense, and it technically came from special teams. Rashad Johnson picked up big yards on a fake punt. It was the second time this season that Johnson has done that.
This list could go on for a while.
Third down performance
This was absurd. The team only had five first downs the entire game. They were 0-15 on third down. They did not convert a single third down play. They also failed on fourth down once. They went three-and-out 11 times. The offense really could not have played any worse.
Lindsanity no more
A week after throwing four interceptions, Lindley followed it up with another pick and 10/31 passing. He did not lead the team to a touchdown. He now has five interceptions and no touchdowns. Last week he led two touchdown drives and gave up two touchdowns on interceptions returned for touchdowns. Perhaps the most troubling of all of this is that the coaching staff, after considering putting John Skelton back in there, still felt that LIndley was the best shot at winning the game. What exactly happened with Skelton that makes it so that a coach would feel that a player that can't complete a third of his passes is a better option? That is a question that needs to be asked.
There was no running game, either
Rashad Johnson ran 40 yards on a fake punt. Beani Wells, William Powell and LaRod Stephens-Howling gained 41 yards on 19 carries. Take away the nine-yard gain on one play by wells and an eight-yarder by Powell, and you are left with 23 yards on 17 carries. That is breaching the territory where people on the street say they could produce that much. Really...you would think that.
Larry Fitzgerald still is not involved
Just like last week when Fitz caught three passes in the opening drive, but none the rest of the game, Fitz caught a 23-yard pass on the second play on offense. But he never got one after that. He was targeted six times after that.
The schedule doesn't look good from here on out
With the last four weeks looking at the Cardinals, the game against the Jets was, at least on paper, the most winnable game. They go on the road to Seattle, where they play historically badly. Then they host the Lions and Bears, then head to San Francisco to close out the season. It really is not too crazy to think that the Cardinals will not win another game this year. 4-0 to 4-12. That is some kind of bad.
Alvin Gentry described a recent loss as an abortion. People didn't like that. Sunday's offensive play for the Cardinals is right up there with that description. There is nothing left for fans to look forward to, even with such great defensive performances. With no even threat of offense, there is no hope. And that is just depressing.