After Five Games, Cardinals Still Have Work to Do

The Cards lost another game Sunday-their fourth in a row-to the previously winless Minnesota Vikings. This game was not lost in the same fashion as the previous three, all of which were close games that could have been won if not for one or two mistakes.

Sunday’s game was lost early on, the product of a heavy dose of Adrian “All Day” Peterson, arguably the best running back in the league and 28 first quarter points by an offense that had previously scored 27 points all their opening quarters combined. Peterson ran wild, racking up 122 yards and three scores. Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb completed only ten passes on the day, but he is having a terrible season, and I still would not credit the Cardinals defense with that.

On offense, Arizona made killer mistakes, such as two interceptions by Kevin Kolb.  In his first two games as the starter, Kolb passed for 560 yards, four scores and just one pick, and made general manager Rod Graves look smart for snatching him up. Since then however, Kolb is rocking a not-so-stellar 50.3 passer rating, and has thrown for zero touchdowns compared to five interceptions.

Perhaps the only bright spot of the offense this season has been the return to form of running back Beanie Wells. After a down year in 2010, the Cardinals trusted his potential, and he has responded. Through the first quarter of the season, Wells has rushed for 381 yards and six touchdowns, with an average a shade under five yards per carry.

The Cardinals limp into their bye on a losing streak, but the extra time should allow them to regroup as well as reenergize what could be one of the most talented teams in the NFL. When Kolb is on and the running game is going, Arizona’s offense can be deadly. The defense needs to step up and start answering questions of their own. They don’t have a true identity on defense like the Ravens or the Jets, and it has been the play of the defense that has consistently let the Cards down.

With all this being said, time is running out to salvage the season. After the bye, the Cardinals have to face the Steelers, Ravens, and division leading 49ers, who have a combined record of 10-4, and have defenses that can shut the inconsistent Cards down.

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