Arizona Cardinals earn less than impressive victory

The Arizona Cardinals lackluster win on Sunday showed just how far from a championship team they currently are this season

Oh where, oh where have are Arizona Cardinals gone? That seems to be the burning question of the 2016 season. The team’s struggle on Sunday with the lowly San Francisco 49ers raised even more questions.

As fans, we’ve become accustomed to much better play from a Bruce Arians squad. A team as bad as the 49ers should’ve been destroyed. It’s not by chance that Chip Kelly’s boys have lost eight straight games.

Take away an early J.J.Nelson fumble, and the Cardinals had gotten off to a rare, fast start on Sunday. Two David Johnson touchdowns had given them a 14-0 lead. They seemed well on their way to an expected rout.

But somehow the offense failed to get into the end zone again. Three measly field goals was all they could muster the rest of the day (although one was the game-winner). Four turnovers certainly contributed to the offensive woes.

Arians’ play-calling has left a lot to be desired this season. His decision to call a pass-play late when they needed to keep the clock running was inexplicable. It resulted in an interception by Carson Palmer that allowed the 49ers to drive down and tie the game.

Speaking of Palmer he was both really good and really bad during the game. His red-zone fumble early in the third quarter should’ve been avoided. He must secure the ball better and also have better awareness of defensive players converging on him.

Of Palmer’s two picks, only one was his fault. The late fourth-quarter throw was a terrible pass and an even worse decision. Although Arians is to blame for calling the play, Palmer still can’t throw it right into the opposition’s hands.

Wide receiver J.J.Nelson had a terrible game with the previously mentioned fumble and a drop resulting in a pick. The run-blocking was awful for the second game in a row. Losing Jared Veldheer and Evan Mathis has hurt the offense in a big way.

The pass defense clearly was hurt by the absence of Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon. Justin Bethel fails to compete, and his timid approach is maddening. Giving up 20 points to an offense as bad as San Francisco’s is inexcusable.

Maybe this article is too critical, after all the Cards did win the game. But the big picture is what’s being considered here. There are no more 1-8 teams left on the schedule.

Are there too many holes for Arizona to overcome? Probably so. But, as Cards fans, we just need to hope for the best.

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