It’s happened before, when you have a game unfold the way Sunday’s did and you begin to figure out what you want to ask after the game and so much has happened – most of it good for the team you are covering – and you jot down all the notes you want to ask about after the game.
Then the rest of the game happens – like Sunday’s – and it all seems so moot by the time you get to the locker room and the players and coaches have suffered a collective gut-punch to end the day.
Someone tweeted to me at some point after the game asking if the season was over. No. This hurts, no question, and it’s going to be difficult if the Cards do end up short of the division title to not look back on this game and the Tampa game and want to beat your head against the wall. But with half a season to go, this is now going to be about the division – home games against all three NFC West opponents, and a trip to San Francisco. I still think if the Cards win three of those, they end up winning the division.
— First three game losing streak for the Cards since 2007. You remember that stretch – the Tim Rattay Carolina home game (Leinart was hurt the week before and Julius Peppers mangled Kurt Warner’s elbow early in the game, forcing Rattay, who had just signed, to play), then a heart-breaking loss in Washington, then a lackluster seven-point loss in Tampa. In fact, these three games feel an awful lot alike (crazy loss in Seattle because of QB play, two close losses to follow).
— The Cards went back to Tim Hightower Sunday. I don’t think Beanie Wells was altogether right – he wouldn’t have had just one carry otherwise – but I also think it says a little something about Hightower’s “rest” against Tampa after his fumbling.
— The loss took away from some big moments for some young Cards. Safety Rashad Johnson got his first career interception, but he was in no mood to talk about it after the way the game ended. O’Brien Schofield not only got his first work at linebacker but stripped Percy Harvin on the kickoff that Michael Adams returned for a touchdown.
— Andre Roberts got his first NFL touchdown on a nifty 30-yard catch-and-run at the end of the first half (pictured below). His troubles seem to be fading into the background. Let’s hope so.
— Adrian Wilson was in position to defend that last pass to Shiancoe, but seemed to turn the wrong way as Shiancoe went for the ball. Coverage has been Wilson’s Achilles heel over the years, but Brett Favre said it was a play they had run a few times with variations during the game. They were trying to get Wilson to sit on the route. It seemed Wilson recovered OK – again, he just seemed to open his hips the wrong way.
— LaRod Stephens-Howling is making a strong bid for a Pro Bowl bid. We’ll see if the Cards win enough to give him a push, but halfway through the season, he deserves consideration.
— Stats don’t always tell the story, but after the Cards kicked the field goal to go up 24-10 with 13:40 left in the fourth quarter, the Vikings outgained the Cards, 250 yards to minus-3.
— Steve Breaston completes a 17-yard pass to rookie tight end Jim Dray. The best part – it was designed to go to Fitz deep, and when Fitz was double-covered, Breaston went through his progression and found Dray. Beautiful.
That’s enough for tonight. Would’ve been better to be talking about a win, but the reality is this: Half a season left, a 3-5 record and yet one game out of first place. Not ideal. But better than being 3-5 and without hope.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Andre Roberts, Beanie Wells, Jim Dray, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Michael Adams, O'Brien Schofield, Rashad Johnson, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower, Vikings
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