Rock bottom: 3 big takeaways from the Arizona Cardinals' loss to the Atlanta Falcons

Posted at 2:04 PM, Nov 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-27 16:28:01-05

The Arizona Cardinals couldn't get out of their own way, and it likely put an end to their playoff hopes.

After showing promise by taking an early lead, the Cards wnet on to commit too many errors on both sides of the ball, as the host Atlanta Falcons ran away with a 38-19 win to drop Arizona to 4-6-1 on the season.

Here are three big takeaways from Sunday's game.

1. All of the mistakes.

The Urban Dictionary should create an entry for the Arizona Cardinals under the heading "Shoot yourself in the foot." The Cardinals had so many unforced errors Sunday that it became comical.

Let's relive a few:

-The bad snap early in the second quarter that went over quarterback Carson Palmer's head as the Cardinals appeared to be on their way to scoring their second touchdown in as many possessions. (They settled for a field goal instead.)

-The dropped interception by safety D.J. Swearinger that instead led to a third-quarter Falcons touchdown.

-The dropped fourth-down pass by receiver Michael Floyd that essentially put the game on ice.

And then, there were all the penalties. Plenty to choose from, but the worst was probably defensive lineman Calais Campbell jumping offsides on a Falcons punt, which gave Atlanta a first down and led to another TD. Five of Atlanta's first downs came via penalties.

The Cards had plenty of chances to win this game or get back in it, but they blew one opportunity after another. It has been that kind of season.

2. Falcons limit David Johnson just enough.

Cards running back David Johnson was his usual monster of a man in the first half, as he racked up 161 total yards and a touchdown on 21 touches. But most of Johnson's damage came in the first quarter, as the Falcons limited the second-year pro in a crucial stretch of the second half to put the game away.

Yes, Johnson loaded up the stat sheet like he always does, but the Falcons were able to get separation from the Cardinals in the second half largely because Johnson was ineffective on Arizona's first two second-half possessions.

Johnson is the kind of man you're not going to stop, but Atlanta did just enough to contain him Sunday -- and with Arizona receivers dropping passes left and right, it was more than enough for the Falcons to get the win.

3. Promising signs from the Honey Badger.

Once again, I have made it my mission to find at least one positive from a Cardinals loss. On Sunday, it was the Honey Badger.

Safety Tyrann Mathieu had his season cut short with an ACL tear last year and he returned Sunday after missing two games with a shoulder injury. But the Badger is finally beginning to look like his All-Pro self.

Mathieu came up with a pair of big plays Sunday, forcing an incomplete pass on third down and later sacking Falcons QB Matt Ryan to lead to another Atlanta punt. 

Mathieu's play likely comes too little, too late for this season, but Cards fans should be encouraged that the Badger is showing signs of becoming the man opposing offenses have come to fear.