When the Arizona Cardinals boarded a plane earlier this weekend, they were only three-point underdogs against the 0-4 Minnesota Vikings. By the time Sunday evening rolled around, the final tally was something substantially uglier: a 34-10 loss that somehow could have been even worse.
If not for a 51-yard field goal from Jay Feely in the second quarter and a string of short Kevin Kolb passes in the third quarter, the Cardinals would have had a lot fewer positives to take away from this road trip.
Amazingly, the Cardinals made more total plays than the Vikings, with 76 total plays to Minnesota's 59. Also surprising is that the Cardinals boasted the game's best performances for individual passing and individual receiving, as Kolb passed for 232 yards and Early Doucet had eight catches for 92 yards. Unfortunately, Kolb had no touchdowns and two interceptions to go with all those yards.
The Cardinals actually had more passing yards than the Vikings -- 214 to 160 -- and far more receiving yards (a whopping 254 yards compared to Minnesota's 169). But they also had four turnovers compared to just one for the Vikings.
The most glaring disparity came in the running game, as the Cards just couldn't contain Minnesota's ground attack. Adrian Peterson, as expected, was given the ball more often than not. He finished the day with 29 carries for 122 yards and three touchdowns. He comprised the bulk of 172 rushing yards for the Vikings, as compared to just 77 yards rushing for Arizona.
The running attack presented itself as Arizona's nemesis right out of the gate. While the Cards were shut out in the first quarter, all three of Peterson's TDs came in the first quarter, and were joined by a Donovan McNabb 4-yard run for a touchdown as the 28-point first quarter was easily enough to put the Birds away.