Fueled by excellent defensive play and a ghastly game from Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, the Arizona Cardinals almost pulled of a surprising upset at the Georgia Dome on Sunday. Unfortunately they fell short down the stretch, losing 23-19, and in doing so, they failed to put an end to a losing streak that has reached six consecutive games.
SB Nation's Jess Root of Revenge of the Birds was pleased with the Cardinals defensive efforts, but laid out a series of "bonheaded plays" from the loss.
Ken Whisenhunt's decision to bench [John] Skelton
The team was up 13-0, but it was not because of the Skelton's play. He was 2-7 for six yards and missed on a couple of easy throws. I don't think it was a terrible decision, especially considering the message that was sent during the previous two weeks. You might think it was what lost the game eventually.
Skelton struggled, and Whisenhunt opted to go with rookie signal caller Ryan Lindley down the stretch, which not only may have cost the Cardinals the game, but it has thrown the team's quarterback situation into disarray heading into Week 12.
Root also cited a huge mental mistake by Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and added that he believed it to be the team's biggest blunder of the afternoon.
Larry Fitzgerald running off the field on fumble
Now, he made no such claim after the game and called it "idiotic" that he didn't pick up the ball, Ken Whisenhunt said several players said they heard a whistle. But there was no whistle on the replay. On the play in the second quarter when Ryan Lindley was hit and the ball was ruled a fumble, Larry Fitzgerald simply ran off the field when the ball touched the ground. The defensive players were alert and realized no whistle had sounded so Jonathan Babineaux picked it up and scored. If Fitz does as much as grab the ball there, the Falcons lose. He had a mental lapse and it cost the team the game.
For a complete look at Root's list of bonheaded plays from Arizona's loss and in-depth coverage of Cardinals football, head over to Revenge of the Birds.