Insults and injury: 3 big takeaways from the Arizona Cardinals' loss to the Los Angeles Rams

Posted at 5:01 PM, Oct 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 07:17:31-04

After last week's debacle in Buffalo, it really didn't feel like it could get much worse, did it?

Well... welcome to worse.

On an afternoon in which St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals receiver Roy Green was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor, the Arizona Cardinals much more closely resembled those lowly late 80s/early 90s teams that called Sun Devil Stadium home, as they fell 17-13 to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Here are three big takeaways from Sunday's game, which dropped the Cardinals to 1-3 and boosted the NFC West rival Rams to 3-1, prompting some boos from the home crowd.

1. Injuries pile up in fourth quarter

Before we get to the ugliness that was this game, we have to discuss the injuries that mounted for the Cardinals late in the contest.

Early in the fourth quarter, backup running back Chris Johnson, who was having a quality game, left after suffering a groin injury and did not return.

Later in the quarter, Cards QB Carson Palmer left the game after being sacked and having his head bounce off the turf. He was evaluated for a concussion and also didn't return. After the game, coach Bruce Arians confirmed Palmer is in concussion protocol.

Safety Tyvon Branch also left in the second half of the game with a groin injury.

The Cardinals have plenty of short-term problems, but pending the severity of these injuries, they could have some long-term issues, as well. Stay tuned.

2. Secondary falls apart

Credit the Cardinals' rush defense for stepping up after yielding over 200 rushing yards at Buffalo last weekend. The Cards limited Rams star running back Todd Gurley to 33 yards on 19 carries -- a statistic that would make you think the Cardinals probably won Sunday.

But one of the main reasons the Cards lost to Los Angeles was the ineptitude of their secondary. It started in the first quarter, when All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson picked up a crucial holding penalty on third down, setting up a 65-yard Rams touchdown from Case Keenum to Brian Quick, the result of a missed tackle by cornerback Marcus Cooper.

The Cards had multiple mental lapses and communication issues in their secondary, which was a concern heading into the season following the departure of cornerback Jerraud Powers and safety Rashad Johnson in free agency. Arizona plugged one defensive hole Sunday, but another hole opened right up, and that's another long-term concern for the Birdgang.

3. Too many turnovers

For the second straight game, the Cardinals fell apart in the fourth quarter due to turnovers. After Palmer threw four -- yes, FOUR -- fourth-quarter interceptions against the Bills last week, the Cards coughed the ball up three times in the fourth quarter Sunday -- once on a David Johnson fumble, and twice on interceptions by Drew Stanton, who came in after Palmer hit his head.

The Cardinals have turned it over exactly this many times in the last two games...

...and if Palmer misses any time due to injury, you can expect those turnovers to keep coming, as Stanton looked downright horrible Sunday.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals have just four days to heal up, as they'll head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers on Thursday Night Football.