No risk it, no biscuit, no regrets for Arians

Posted by Darren Urban on January 21, 2016 – 12:46 pm

So Saturday, Bruce Arians was blunt when saying why the Cardinals threw the ball with a little more than two minutes left and the Packers having no timeouts on second-and-8: “I play to win.” In the couple of days since, Arians admitted a run had been called but there was a pass option for quarterback Carson Palmer, and when Palmer saw 10 men in the box and Larry Fitzgerald one-on-one with cornerback Sam Shields, Palmer decided to take the shot.

We know the result: An incompletion, and even with a run on third down, the Packers were left with 35 or 40 more seconds on the clock then they might have had. That was then, and this is now. Arians was asked if the results might influence how the play might be called if a similar situation comes up again — say, Sunday night in Carolina.

“No,” Arians said. (He always starts out blunt, right?) “We had the running play called and it was a bad running play. We had 10 guys, we’ve got Larry Fitzgerald one-on-one, that’s as good as a running play.”

In terms of play calling, Arians said the same about the decision to blitz Aaron Rodgers on the Hail Mary instead of keeping a bunch of guys deep. “I don’t know if anybody else can make that throw, but we had them dead to rights and we didn’t defend the back end.”

The second-down playcall caught the attention of many national types (Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were certainly disagreeing while calling the game for NBC) but anyone watching this team knows that’s how Arians operates. And even if he does start with a running play, Arians also puts full trust in his quarterback, which is why Palmer gets the option to throw and why Arians backs his play.

It’s not always conventional. It has worked (Saints, 49ers) and it hasn’t worked (Ravens). But it’s not going to change, not in the NFC Championship, and not in what is possible beyond that.



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28 Responses to “No risk it, no biscuit, no regrets for Arians”

  1. By MikeFlorio on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    Keep doing what got you here !! Consistency is arguably the best trait that BA has bestowed upon the Desert….Consistency winning season, consistency attacking offense is what got us here, its gonna be what takes us to Levi Stadium!!

  2. By Rob on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    So here’s the thing, 10 men in the box, Carson doesn’t check out of the play, defender bursts through the line and disrupts the hand-off resulting in a fumble…

    Likely? No, but you never know, stick with the mentality that got you there and let the chips fall where they may.

  3. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    About the Arians calls;

    I think the pass play to Larry was a good call. Conventional wisdom says run the ball, but one first down ends that game. Sam Shields made a good play basically not letting Larry off the line to go get the ball.

    If it comes to taking a chance with Larry or my defense, I go with Larry every time. Much the same way Billechek will bet on Brady every time.

    As for the hail mary, I remember the announcers saying the lions shouldn’t have sent only 3, because it gave rodgers time to set up. the blitz had rodgers moving but PP didn’t make the play.

    My only complaint (and I said this before the play) is, my best guys who know how to go up for a ball on the team are Larry and Floyd. Why not have those two standing at the goal line? Honestly, does anyone think that guy catches the jump ball over Larry?

  4. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    As for this game;

    Risk it / biscuit is what the cards will need to do to win.

    On offense,
    they have McClain and Finningan as two of the 3 corners. Neither can run with Brown or Nelson and they both are little compared to Fitz or Floyd. The game plan has to be to take lots of shots down the field and let AZ’s superior receivers beat these corners who really shouldn’t be in the league. (McClain was in 10 training camp and made no teams till Carolina had injuries. Finningan’s days have past him)

    On defense;
    Got to put everyone up to stop the run and leave those corners on an island. If Ginn can beat Bethel or Brown beat Powers, well they deserve the win, but I for one, do not think they can.

    Take the risk on defense and offense and we are in the Super Bowl

  5. By Infitzwetrust on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    We need to just throw it up to Larry. I can almost guarantee he catches it.

  6. By Dr.G. on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    There was no original author to defending the Hail, Mary. But, it should be defended like an on-sides kick…Sure handed Fitz, Floyd, Fells, Gresham, and a couple speedsters should be in the mix to “”blank”” any such desperate play. This is not neurosurgery or astrophysics… Larry Nance used to say, “”I use my TALLNESS as a weapon.””

    I think the entire league is now cognizant of better defense on these plays… Trust me, it will morph to better future defense. FYI..this is not just a Rodgers issue, though he has been involved a bunch this season.. Any decent QB in the league can hurl the ball 60 yards….later Fans…

  7. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    another reason not to second guess Bruce;

    Bruce Arians: .708 win pct, Three 10-win seasons in 3 yrs, not to mention 2 playoffs

    Other 8 AZ coaches: .375 win pct, one 10-win season in 25 yrs and 3 playoffs

    Take out 1998, 2008, and 2009, there was nothing but 4 and 5 win seasons for 22 years

    and believe me, I sat threw all 22 of those other seasons. not fun. But sure is fun now.

    So, if Bruce goes for it on 4th down from his own goal line, I am with him.

  8. By Matt on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply


    When will the Cardinals reach out to season ticket holders if they have been chosen for Super Bowl tickets? provided we make it of course.

  9. By Darren Urban on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    Matt —

    RE: Super tickets

    Sooner rather than later, I’d guess, but I have not heard specifics.

  10. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG –

    I agree with your thinking. We have speed to burn at WR and one of the best deep ball throwers the NFL has seen in recent memory. There HAS to be some big plays to Brown / Floyd / Nelson down the field. There will be chances to take those shots and when they are there, we have to take them. Norman can’t cover everyone. No one is equipped to over-match a defense with their WR’s like the Cardinals are. That was how we out-gunned the Seahawks and Bengals in games we won against them, and those teams were – at the times we played them – every bit as good as Carolina is. We won those games by playing OUR game. And I believe it will take a similar effort on Sunday night.

    The Cardinals need to go with an all-out assault in Carolina. And they have the weapons to do it.

  11. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    During the week, Arians spoke of how we have had our asses kicked along the offensive line the last two games. This was on, by the way. And, well….he is right on with that assesssment. This O-line has played so well all year but has REALLY come up small in the last two games. I have no idea how that happens on an O-line with as much talent as ours, but….it has. And that is cause for concern. Our run game has disappeared. Against Seattle? Well, they have the best run defense in the NFL, so maybe that was understandable. But Green Bay??? No. No way our run game should have been just flat shut down as it was against them. If I am the coaches, I am getting on these guys all week, doing everything I have to do to get them in the aggressive frame of mind they need to be in. The guys up front need to play ANGRY and NASTY on Sunday night.

  12. By Scott H on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    Amazing stat of the day – the Cardinals have won 35 ( yes – 35 ) consecutive games when they entered the 4th quarter with a lead. That is the longest active streak in the NFL.

    Note to BA – try to have the lead going into the 4th quarter!

    Scary stat of the day – Cam Newton is 6-0 for his career in home games against opponents with a .750 or better record.

    This will NOT be easy.

  13. By Steve on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG, Well said, if we can slow down the Panthers run game on defense and protect Palmer well enough to take shots down the field, I like our chances. My concern is more with our O-line giving Palmer time to throw in this game. I’m more confident in our defense doing it’s job right now than our O-line, they need to step it up.

  14. By CreditCard on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    Bruce Arians plan to pass on that 2nd down play, even though the pass was not completed against the Packers; the concept of the play very well has worked.

    Meaning if the Cards are in a similar situation against the Panthers, I would bet all the tea in China the Panthers will not put 10 in box, but rather play a more base defense trying to defend against the whole gamut of potential plays.

  15. By JohnnyBluenose on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    Darren, Dyno, Scott H, JTDG, ClssyLssy, Dr G and anyone else who wants to consider this question and comment. You are the coach and your team has just scored a touchdown on the last play of the game and now you are trailing by one point. You have some momentum. Do you attempt a kick to try and tie the game and then go to overtime or do you try for two points and win or lose the game on that one play. And better yet, let’s say this is for the Super Bowl. No risk it, no biscuit. What do you do?

  16. By Darren Urban on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    JohnnyBlue —

    RE: Go for two

    I’d need more info — how has the game played out, what kind of defense do I have, etc.

    Generally, though, I’d kick. I’m not B.A.

  17. By BIGAL on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    by Scott H
    Sorry Scott but where did you come up w/that so called “scary stat” I guarantee you that if that “6-0 @ home vs. opponents w/.750 or better record” did not happen in any way shape or form this season! Perhaps our Ryan Lindley led 2014
    team may have been l of those?
    With all the accolades I’ve had to listen to about Carolina & Cam Newton’s remarkable 15 & 1 season… Here’s what bothers me to no end that nobody is talking about! That I believe is very significant Who have they played??? Who have they beaten???
    1st Their schedule…AFC SOUTH, NFC EAST, & they played their division twice each, not one team in their division was over .500 on the season…Atlanta was .500 & oh yeah, that’s their 1 loss…
    In the AFC South only Houston was over .500 @ just 9-7 winning their last 3 games vs their own sub .500 division teams. How bad did KC make them look? And finally the NFC EAST… Really???
    Only Washington ended up over .500 @ 9-7 by winning 4 of their last 5 games…
    however, when they played in week 11 Wash. was 4 & 6…Carolina almost lost to
    a lowly NY Giants team 35-38…the Norman/Beckham game…they also just barely got by the Saints 41-38…Indi week 8 in Carolina 26-29…They also did beat GBay @ Carolina 29-37 in week 9. Finally, last week they beat Seattle in a 1pm EST game which is 10am start for Seattle…Funny how that game played out in the 2nd half??? Soo really their only win of recognition to me was in week 6 when they won in Seattle 27-23 which we also did…And, oh yeah Seattle was just 2 & 4 @ the time…I really would love for someone to post the difficulty or rating of their season schedule???

  18. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply


    Agree with Darren that you got to go to overtime.

    But if it was a 56-55 type game or say PP , HB, and Bethel went down with injuries, or you just knew your team was worn out or your kicker was injured during the game, something along those lines, Then I would go for the win.

    Given the packer situation, I would have kicked too.

    On a separate rant, I hate all these packer backers crying about the rules of over time. The cards and packers have played two overtime playoff games. Once they got the ball first, once we got the ball first. We won both because our team did their job. They could have strip sacked Palmer (like we did Rodgers in 2009) but Palmer puled away, spun and hit Larry. We made the play on defense in ’09, we made the play on offense in ’15.

  19. By texascard on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    Johnny bluenose
    Regular season go for two. In the playoffs gatta kick and go to overtime. Lose and go home is just not worth the risk.
    The second down pass was a bad call. There is no way around that. The biscuit was the clock at that point. Fitz saved ba’s butt on that one.
    Carolina hasnt really played anybody and our wr will give them trouble as well as johnson out of backfield. O line just seem out of sync. Maybe communication issues. There was some good play out of oline just not consistent. A rodgers is pretty damn good. But clay matthews is the most overrated player in the league. If palmer will calm the —- down we win by twelve. Go cards

  20. By georgiebird on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    BA can’t do anything wrong, he can’t say anything wrong. BA is the Donald Trump of Football- nothing sticks.

  21. By Dr. G. on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    Bluenose… It is not conservative to be sure you tie to get to OT. You have to trust your PK unless injuries or disqualification renders you with none. Also, our coach would trust the defense to hold if he loses the flip, and to trust his Offense to then get it done. ((Always choose to receive if the flip goes your way.))

    With healthy players, never go for 2 unless it is a meaningless game… When it is win or go home, trust your team in OT. You cannot “gamble” with a team you have worked diligently to develop. ((You may have a mutiny if you fail, and lose respect even if you are successful….))

    This addresses the situation you describe… Ask yourself if you were behind in OT by 3 points…near the goal line…4th down…would you kick for 3 or go for the TD? …same sort of question….

    Be well…

  22. By Kevin S Mesa on Jan 21, 2016 | Reply

    NFL coaches are generally conservative and are unlikely to go for two there.

    And I’m a believer in analytics. My feeling is you don’t go for two based on a gut feeling or “momentum” — I mean, sure, the Packers just scored on two crazy plays, but prior to the first bomb, they had two incompletions and a sack, and they had another incompletion prior to the Hail Mary. I don’t think those plays have any bearing on their likeihood of success on a conversion. I saw some Packer fans commenting on blogs that AZ’s defense would be “down on themselves” and so they should’ve gone for two. The flip side is just as likely — having given up a TD on the final play, everyone on the D would be extra motivated to give it their all for one final play.

    So where do the analytics start? Well, NFL teams have a 48% success rate going for two. Is there any reason to think the Packers, with an average offense (15th in the league in scoring, somewhere in the 20’s in total yards) would have a better success rate than that against the AZ defense (one of the best in the league)? Probably not. If anything, the success rate probably goes down — perhaps to the low-to-mid 40’s.

    And what’s their chance of winning the game? Based on how it had gone to that point, they were dominating us completely in terms of our running game, plus they nearly intercepted 2 or 3 passes in addition to the two they did intercept. You had to figure it was roughly a 50/50 proposition to go into OT.

    Interestingly, if the shoe was on our foot, how do you factor in the fact that Cat missed 5 extra points? It’s no longer automatic that the game goes into OT.

    I still think that unless you have a reason to believe your success rate will be higher than your chance of winning the game in OT — which should be around 50% — you kick. Maybe if you had a trick play or something that you thought had a great chance of succeeding, you’d try… But no one’s going to fault you for kicking, whereas if you go for 2 and don’t make it, you’re going to have a hard time living that one down.

  23. By hammerdon on Jan 22, 2016 | Reply

    that play was a horrible non call . pass interference was obvious .

  24. By Cardinal's Chick on Jan 22, 2016 | Reply

    Scott – I agree 100%. The O-Line needs to step up and give Carson time. But, we need to limit penalties and mistakes. None if possible. And, if our defense can help by capitalizing off of a turnover or 2…well that would be this girl’s dream.

    Big Al…Yes!!! I’m in Atlanta…so all I’ve seen all season is the bandwagon fans jumping on Cam’s jock. It is almost more than I can stand to see the guy cheesin every week. Especially when you consider some of the teams they’ve played. I’m not saying this will be easy…but I keep hearing people say this game will be a blowout for Carolina. I don’t agree at all. It will definitely be a dog fight…but one the Cardinals are very capable of winning if they play smart football Sunday.

    Go Card’s!!!!

  25. By Scott H on Jan 22, 2016 | Reply

    Big AL –

    I got that “scary” stat from the current issue of USA Today Sports Weekly. You can look it up yourself. You don’t have to buy it but that don’t mean it ain’t accurate.

    No, that did NOT all happen this season. If ya read my post, I said Cam is 6-0 OVER HIS CAREER in those games.

  26. By Dr. G. on Jan 22, 2016 | Reply

    All this exchange on end-game goal line situations, reminds me of the 1/10/16 game… Vikings vs Seahawks… The super lucky, unethical bubble gummer coach won by default again!! One can tell, I really like Pete…!

    Blair Walsh missed a 27 yard field goal presenting Seattle a gift win undeserved. The WIN is on Walsh’s foot. FYI ~ we all know the P-A-T is normally 33 yards… I really felt his pain…having to assume responsibility for losing a PLAYOFF game…ugh….

  27. By BIGAL on Jan 24, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H-
    Yeah Scott, my apologies…you did state, re: 6 & 0 @ home “for his career” & what w/tonight’s game soo huge @ their home…it is a “scary stat”
    So sorry about that!!! Guess I kind a just been pretty hyped up about how it seems like Carolina has been very fortunate going back to the Ryan Lindley WCard game last year which we all know…a healthy Carson/Stanton even that game should have been played in AZ! Then as I stated earlier, this year they get the weakest schedule I think I’ve ever seen in all my life! And yet none of the shows or analysts want to even mention it! So all said & done…”We owe them big time!” So let’s go out & break this 6-0 “scary stat” home record, & just bury them!!!
    Thanks! AL

  28. By TucsonTim on Jan 24, 2016 | Reply

    I’ve waited and thought I should just let it pass, but after tonight I can’t

    It wasn’t the damn pass…we needed to pass to get a first down and then score. It was calling a low percentage play, with no other receiver to go to if Fitz was covered (and he was) and then making a terrible pass to boot….that was the problem. Rodgers proved he only needed a few seconds and 2 plays to go 98 yards. So, just running out the clock wasn’t gong to work.

    Bad play call, bad execution; that was the problem. That will always be Palmers problem. Watch and see. If the Cardinals go 13-3 next year (highly unlikely), all the reporters will be talking about is will Palmer choke again in the playoffs.

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