The Arizona Cardinals blowing a 14-point lead in the final 4:39 to the Minnesota Vikings became an instant classic in the minds of NFL fans. Our own Scott Howard called it the third most heartbreaking loss of the Ken Whisenhunt era, while Minnesota Vikings fans are reveling in the glory of a season (possibly) saved.
The Cardinals somehow managed to play relatively mistake-free football and earn themselves a sizable lead only to see the defense completely run out of gas in the final crucial moments. We can't say if it's poor conditioning, lack of motivation, or conservative defensive play calling. Perhaps it was just the magic of one old man who wanted to prove that he was more than just a pervert. Brett Favre threw for a career-high 446 yards and carved up the Cardinals defense like a hot text message through the gossip columns.
If you are looking for bright spots, you have to at least be pleased that Derek Anderson didn't throw the ball away. And despite his spectacularly mediocre play (58 percent completion rate) and absolutely no Cardinals rushing game to speak of, the Red Birds still managed to put up 24 points.
The loss drops the Cardinals to 3-5 on the season which gives Arizona a solid hold on third place in the NFC West. The 49ers (2-6) and the St. Louis Rams (4-4) both had a bye week. The Seattle Seahawks (4-4) blew a golden opportunity to secure a lead in the worst division in football, but without injured quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, they were destroyed at home by the New York Giants, 41-7.
Is it better to get blown out at home or lose a game on the road by choking away a 14-point late lead?
Either way, the NFC West is horrible. It is the only division in the NFL not to have a single team with five or more wins.
At least next week, two of the division's teams will get victories as the Seattle Seahawks come to Arizona and the St. Louis Rams travel to San Francisco. It would only be fitting for the Cardinals and 49ers to both get wins and bunch this mess of bad teams even closer together.