At some point, the Arizona Cardinals will get their first victory of the 2019 season. There will be a time where the offense finds a rhythm that lasts the entire game. At some point, the defense will figure things out, probably. On Sunday, the Cardinals fell to the Seattle Seahawks, in a pathetic performance. Now that the initial shock has worn off, we take a look at what went down at State Farm Stadium.
Make it winless in the last seven home games against the Seahawks. The Cardinals struggled to find sustained success against Seattle. Offensively, Arizona moved the football but failed to convert drives into points. While not the worst game of the season in terms of yardage gained, Arizona’s 10 points are a season-worst. It began with a rushed throw on a screen to David Johnson which resulted in an interception return for a touchdown, by Seattle defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney.
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Things never got better for the Cardinals. Making matters worse, kicker Zane Gonzalez missed from 43 and 48 yards respectively, the first two misses of the season. Ignoring the score, Sunday’s stats show a battle between rivals. However, one team took advantage of mistakes and finished drives with points. Defensively, the Cardinals again struggled to string positive plays together. Seattle ran for 115 yards on 27 carries and a score. Quarterback Russell Wilson completed 78.5% of his passes for 240 yards and a touchdown. Seattle may not have put up major offensive numbers but their ease of movement was obscenely obvious.
Weather the Storm
Kyler Murray has struggled to find a rhythm during his rookie season. As a whole, the Arizona offense has lacked consistency. Arizona gained an average of 5.09 yards per play on Sunday. Of the 63 plays on offense, only eight went for 15 yards or more, totaling 179 yards. Over the other 55 plays, Arizona’s offense gained 142 yards, a 2.58 yards per play average. The inconsistency from play to play is what kills drives which start so promisingly.
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Sacks play a major role in the troubles. This isn’t solely an offensive line issue but rather a mix of line concerns and a rookie quarterback holding on to the football. Against the Seahawks, Murray was sacked four times. On two of those sacks, Murray sat in the pocket for slightly over three seconds, before getting engulfed by the pass rush. In those two instances, Murray surveys the entire field as he hops in the pocket.
Hold You Down
While the offense continues to be inconsistent, the Arizona defense was consistent with its continued struggles. For the fourth straight week, the opposing tight end led the team in receiving yards and scored a touchdown. Seattle’s Will Dissly finished with 57 yards on seven receptions. Unlike the previous three weeks, Dissly is not considered by many to be a major threat at tight end. Adding to the despair one of the primary defenders tasked with covering the tight end, safety D.J. Swearinger, was cut from the roster on Monday.
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Seattle also received 104 yards on the ground from Chris Carson in addition to a touchdown by C.J. Prosise. Linebacker Jordan Hicks again led the team with tackles, finishing with 12 on the day. The aforementioned Swearinger finished second with eight tackles. Arizona lacked consistent penetration to consistently stop the ground game. While the Cardinals finished with four sacks on Wilson, the push up-front did little to slow down the Seattle quarterback.
The loss put the Cardinals at an 0-3-1 record. Arizona has looked progressively worse on both sides of the football with each passing week. Next up for the Cardinals is a visit to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. A pair of first-time head coaches, Zac Taylor and Kliff Kingsbury, meet up for a battle of doormats. The loss to Seattle needs to be used to sharpen the resolve of this team. Sunday’s game against the Bengals is the best bet for the Cardinals to get the season’s first victory.