The Arizona Cardinals were in Atlanta hoping to snap a five game losing streak, but in the end, no matter how well the defense played, the Cards just couldn't finish it, and they fall to the Falcons, 23-19.
The loss leaves them with a 4 and 6 record after eleven weeks, with some pretty tough games still ahead. The Cardinals still have to travel to New York to take on the Jets, to Seattle for a rematch with the Seahawks and to San Francisco to take on the division leading 49ers.
The Cardinals defense definitely stepped up against the Falcons, intercepting quarterback Matt Ryan five times and recovering one fumble, for a total of six Falcon turnovers. The defense also held Atlanta to just 58 yards rushing, for a 2.4 yards per carry average. Keep in mind, the Cardinals defense was billed as the strength of this team back in August, and today, they showed us they still are. Holding Matt Ryan and the Falcons to just 23 points is enough in and of itself, but the six turnovers should have been enough for a win!
But after just one quarter, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to pull starting quarterback John Skelton. Skelton was a measly 2 of 7 for 6 yards with a quarterback rating of 39.6, and he was missing receivers as often as he threw. When he overthrew a wide open Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone the coach had finally had enough! Skelton was out, rookie Ryan Lindley was in. Lindley wasn't much better, giving up a fumble for a touchdown and getting sacked three times. But at least it was a ray of hope, seeing a rookie get his shot was a good sign for an offense that is clearly struggling. Lindley completed 9 of 20 passes for 64 yards and a quarterback rating of 52.9. Not a great day, but it's a start for the rookie who seems to have a lot more upside than Skelton.
Another bright spot for the Cardinals was running back LaRod Stephens-Howling. The five foot, seven inch, 185 pound running back carried the ball 22 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Stephens-Howling also had runs of 40 yards and 52 yards, both of which were career bests when he finished the runs.
But again, despite the defense playing its heart out and LaRod having an outstanding day running the football, the Cardinals have still lost six in a row, and this season is quickly turning into a disaster, with not much hope ahead. It was just a year ago that the Cardinals won seven of their last nine, but that's not the case this year. The Cards have just six games to go, and unless we see a miracle, they won't win six in a row.
Expect the Cardinals to stay with Ryan Lindley at quarterback and expect the offense to continue to try and run the football. If the defense doesn't get too discouraged and continues to play at a high level, the Cardinals just might win two or three more to at least finish with a respectable record.
But if the defense gets upset with the offense, things could fall apart at the seems quickly and that could mean disaster for the Cardinals.