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Arizona Cardinals Recap: Struggles Continue Against Chiefs

You don't want to overreact to the preseason, but in two games so far, the Cardinals look like they still have lots of work to do if they want to have a winning record this season. The Cardinals got behind early, and never really challenged the Kansas City Chiefs, as they lost their second straight game 27-17. The starting defense allowed the Chiefs to take their first two drives in for touchdowns, while both quarterbacks John Skelton and Kevin Kolb continued to look marginal at best.

Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt commented about better tackling and getting off to a faster start after the preseason opener against the Saints, but the game against the Chiefs looked eerily similar to last week's game. "It's disappointing that we didn't play better," said coach Whisenhunt. "I just don't think it was a good effort by our team, and I'm glad we've got three games left to clear that up."

The starting defense gave up a touchdown on the first possession for the second straight game, as Matt Cassel and the Chiefs orchestrated a 12 play, 72-yard scoring drive. It only took the Chiefs four plays on their next possession to travel 72 yards and score another touchdown. Peyton Hillis had a 28-yard carry, followed by a 29-yard pass from Matt Cassel to Dexter McCluster during the drive, which gave the Chiefs an early 14-0 lead.

John Skelton got the start for the Cardinals, and led the team in their first three possessions. He ended his evening going 3 for 6 for 35 yards, but threw an interception on his final attempt while trying to force a pass to Larry Fitzgerald. After the game, Skelton said, "We came out slow, a little lackadaisical. We just have to find a way to start faster."

By the time Kevin Kolb entered the game, the Cardinals were down 17-0. Kolb didn't get much pass protection and only lasted two drives. Kolb ended up going 1 for 5 for 21 yards, with his only completion to Demarco Sampson.

Ryan Lindley continued to impress by coming in with 32 seconds before halftime, after Rashad Johnson intercepted a Brady Quinn pass. Lindley completed four passes in a row, as he drove the Cardinals 39 yards down field for a last second 40-yard field goal. The drive put the Cardinals on the scoreboard, although they trailed 17-3 at halftime. Regarding the last-minute drive before halftime, Lindley said, "Any two-minute drill like that, you just want to score points."

With Lindley starting the third quarter, he handed the ball off to William Powell, who reversed the field and scampered 67 yards on the Cardinals second play from scrimmage. Powell later scored on a two yard run to bring the Cardinals within seven, at 17-10. Powell had a successful night, as he finished the game rushing for 92 yards on 9 carries.

Lindley finished the night going 6 for 11 for 48 yards, and was replaced by Richard Bartel with 4:33 left in the third quarter. Although Bartel was sacked five times and fumbled once, he ended up going 5 for 6 for 69 yards, and threw the only Cardinals touchdown of the game, an 18 yard pass to Jaymar Johnson. Prior to the touchdown, the Chiefs had reeled off ten straight points, and had secured a 27-10 lead.

The Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks and defense have not lived up to their expectations so far this preseason. It was expected that the quarterbacks would show a marked improvement with a full off-season of OTA's and an extended preseason, and that the defense would pick up where they left off at the end of last season. So far that has not been the case, as neither has lived up to their expectations.

Defensive end Calais Campbell said, "We are a better defense than what we showed. I'm not too worried. We just have to regroup." Although coaches and players are saying that there is plenty of time to right the ship, you can sense some pressure mounting as Kevin Kolb commented after the game, "I think there is a lot of frustration with the whole team."