The Arizona Cardinals suffered their second defeat of the season in their week three matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, 20-12.
With the Rams not firing on all cylinders so far this season, this matchup was a great opportunity for the Cardinals to put some pressure on the defending super bowl champions and take some much-needed confidence. Unfortunately, this would not be the case as the team continued to struggle to find any rhythm on offence which has been their issue throughout the opening three weeks of the season so far.
Sunday’s game with the Rams was actually close but the result seems worse than the score line suggests due to the Cardinals not playing well. Even with the poor performance, the Rams were not great themselves and if the Cardinals were able to have finished off one or two of the long drives they had, then we could have seen a completely different outcome to the matchup.
The same issue coming out of each week seems to be that the Cardinals offence can’t find the consistency required to finish off drives and score the much-needed touchdown to win games. To make matters worse and probably epitomizes the team’s offence at the moment, is the terrible afternoon had by veteran wide receiver, A.J. Green, who I had previously spoken about maybe having a point to prove this season….no such luck.
Green had been having a tough afternoon already and seemed to be bothered by a left knee niggle. But on a play in which he dropped a pass by Kyler Murray, he landed awkwardly and instantly grabbed at his left knee which had previously been bothering him.
If Green is to spend some time off the field, and Hopkins still serving his suspension, the top four available wide receivers for the Cardinals would be Marquise Brown, Greg Dortch, Andy Isabella and Andre Baccellia. With all four receivers between 5’7″ and 5’10”, The Cardinals may actually miss the height of A.J. Green, even though he hasn’t been playing great football.
There were a number of dropped catches and missed opportunities throughout the game for the Cardinals, which if held on to, could have resulted in different outcomes. Tight end Zach Ertz failed to hold on to a touchdown pass on the team’s first scoring drive of the night which would have given some momentum hopefully for the rest of the game.
Running back James Conner dropped a ball near the goal line on third down just the play after Ertz’s drop. The Cardinals ended up kicking following Conner’s drop but if he had managed to hold on to the ball, the team probably would have gone for it rather than go for the kick. These are just two examples but there were other dropped catches throughout the game also.
Besides the injury to A.J. Green, Zaven Collins was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury, still waiting to hear more on the severity of this and if any gametime will be missed. Also, defensive lineman, Rashard Lawrence left the field due to a hand injury. Again, waiting to hear more on this but Lawrence was seen with a cast following the game, which suggests he could miss some time for the Cardinals.
What Next For The Cardinals?
Next up in Week Four the Cardinals take on the Carolina Panthers. On paper, this is a winnable matchup for Kyler Murray and the team, but they need to sort their issues….and fast. The offence needs to shape up and be ready for Kyler when passing, and the offensive line need to try give Kyler more time and hopefully space to use his legs more to benefit the team.
The Cardinals need to keep on track at least until the return of Hopkins at wide receiver. If the team is still in the mix at that time, I think the return of Hopkins and his relationship with Kyler could jump start this offence and put the season back on track.