A soaking wet Dolphins aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on December 11, 2016 – 10:04 pm

The message wasn’t a surprise. Calais Campbell has been calling every game a playoff game and none of the players in the locker room were confused at exactly what was at stake Sunday. Still, when Bruce Arians brought his team together after the rainy loss in Miami and said out loud that it likely doomed its playoff hopes, “it was terrible to hear,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “I don’t think that’s set in yet.”

Perhaps it was its downfall, but this team never really gave serious thought to the idea it wouldn’t make the playoffs. There are many reasons for that, one being that under Arians, this team has never been in this predicament. In his first season, the Cardinals won seven of eight down the stretch and went into the last weekend still with a slim chance to make the playoffs. The past two years, they had clinched playoff spots right around now.

No reason to belabor the point right now. The Cardinals do have three games left to play, and those last two – road trips to Seattle and Los Angeles – aren’t just any games. Those remain personal. Motivation is there.

But everyone knew the expectations of this season. Falling short of even making the playoffs wasn’t supposed to be part of the equation.

— We will see what the week brings, but left tackle D.J. Humphries left with a concussion and right tackle Ulrick John was injured on the Cards’ last offensive play. Not sure who might be left to play if both are too banged up to go. Earl Watford indeed was reinstalled as right guard in place of John Wetzel, but Wetzel ended up having to play anyway. Injuries have just torn up the offensive line.

Defensively, the Cardinals already were iffy on the return of Tyrann Mathieu and now Tyvon Branch may be down, and perhaps cornerback Marcus Cooper.

— The rain is not why the Cardinals lost, but it came down at times incredibly hard and it was weird how it did seem to kick up when the Cards had the ball.

“I swear to God it felt like every time we touched the ball it started raining,” wide receiver Brittan Golden said.

— Speaking of Golden, he got his first career TD reception, but he actually went in to the game for a play before that – at deep safety. Cooper and Branch were out and safety Tony Jefferson got banged up on a play and had to leave the field for a snap. Golden has practiced at times with the secondary, but this was the first time he actually went out there playing deep centerfield on a run play. And what went through his mind?

“Please don’t break that tackle,” Golden said with a grin.

— It was probably fitting that the loss that basically ended their hopes came in large part because of special teams woes. This week it was the kicker Chandler Catanzaro and long snapper Aaron Brewer. Couple of high snaps doomed two extra points, one of which was returned for two points. Add in the missed field goal of 41 yards, and that’s a seven-point swing in a three-point game. Killer.

Yet Cat Man mixed in a 56-yard field goal that I will admit I was shocked Arians called for, a boot that was the third-longest in franchise history – behind the 60-yarder he had in Buffalo earlier this season and the 61-yarder Jay Feely had against the Bills in Arizona in 2012.

— Sunday may be the first time in NFL history both teams faced a third-and-at-least-33.

— Larry Fitzgerald was targeted nine times Sunday but had only three catches for a scant 12 yards. He has 91 receptions this season but so many of late have been for so few yards that his per-catch average has sunk to less than 10 yards a reception – 9.8 to be exact.

— The rain made the downfield passing game terrible. Michael Floyd had 18 yards on two catches – and those were the most by any wide receiver. Fitz had his 12, Golden nine and J.J. Nelson eight. Smoke Brown played but wasn’t targeted.

— Kerwynn Williams did well in the wildcat. He took three snaps as a “quarterback,” running each time, gaining 34 yards. The Cardinals had 175 yards rushing as a team and averaged 6.5 yards a carry. But with the turnovers and the sideways special teams, it wasn’t enough.

— Three games left. We’ll see how the Cardinals play it out.

Carson Palmer, Ndamukong Suh

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Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “A soaking wet Dolphins aftermath”

  1. By cadhky on Dec 11, 2016 | Reply

    Any chance Cards are on the list to play in London next year?

  2. By Darren Urban on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    cadhky —

    RE: London

    I don’t see why it’s not possible. Don’t see them giving up a home game though.

  3. By Dr. G. on Dec 11, 2016 | Reply

    Well…stick a fork in ’em…. Now we’ll see what sort of character comes forth for the remaining games. People and sponsors pay big money for every game…our guys need to play like their pay check is on the line…

    And many fans are calling for the developing players to see what we have and who needs to exit stage left in the off season…

  4. By CardsNation on Dec 11, 2016 | Reply

    TBH, Butler had some really good punts. Chandler Catanzaro and the long snapper, my men. The special team cost us again. Four games this season, patriots, seahawks, Vikings and this game. Frustrating to watch Carson Palmer get hit, I don’t blame him he did horrible this year, the offensive line is terrible. Now, you wonder, what is the chance that the Seahawks lose 3 games straight and Cardinals win rest of their games and clinch NFC west. I doubted. It’s possible if the Seahawks don’t play the 49ers last, the Rams and the Cardinals could potentially beat the seahawks.

    Now is the time to start offseason, evaluating the players. Extend players like Tony Jefferson and Chandler Jones before the free agency. Cut players and restructure contract if needed, fix the special team issue. Get a good draft spot and learn from the last draft mistakes and especially in the first round.

    Steve Keim and rest of the scout, “Correct and learn from mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not.”

    I trust Bruce Arians and Steve Keim. I mean we could’ve been 10-3 right now. Well, many cardinals fans went through this in the past. Moreover, Arians is one of the best coaches and Steve Keim is a magician.

    Shine next year, GO Cardinals!!!

  5. By Steve on Dec 11, 2016 | Reply

    Special teams cost us yet another game but I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Butler and special teams coach Amos Jones stick around and keep their jobs. Darren I thought you said this was a results based business, yet both Butler and Jones are still around after months of ineptitude…..unbelievable.

  6. By Wild Blue Yonder on Dec 11, 2016 | Reply

    I’m sure that, if it weren’t for the injuries, the Cards would have gone 16-0. LOL

  7. By CARDS62 on Dec 11, 2016 | Reply

    Our team did not play great and the weather was a part of it, but our guys did play hard all game and even on the very last play Justin B. did his best to block the FG. No reason to play Honey Badger this year. and I do hope they play some of the young guys especially some rookies more these last 3 games,
    Same issues we have experience all season went into this loss. Special teams, Carson not playing well. and our passing game not playing well. I do not want to see Carson get hurt with our depleted line so hopefully we will play Stanton a bunch these final 3 games.

    Most frustrating this game and season for me has been our total special teams play, and our front office and coaching staff not doing anything to improve the situation. Most of us fans have seen and talk about it all year and for several years and the men who make millions did nothing. You only get 16 chances for a victory and special teams are so important, and no more so than the playoffs.

    Our season was summed up the last 3 minutes. As poorly as we played the game is still tied 23-23 with 3 minutes left and we kick off. Our defense does it job and we force a 3 and out. Strange coaching pops up as we call a time out with 2:04 on the clock to save 4 seconds. Miami punts and our punt return team picks up one whole yard. Carson blows first down and puts us in a whole that our passing offense can not overcome. We punt a mighty 43 yarder that our punt coverage team can not cover and Miami returns it for 20 yards so they are now set up in business. We blitz a backup QB that throws a duck that our CB can not cover and there goes our game and season.

    Margin for error in NFL just too small and our unspecial teams just continue to destroy our hopes and dreams and it is allowed to continue game after game and season after season. If this is not addressed in the off season I guarantee we will not be holding up any trophy next year either.

    I am proud that our guys played hard and hope all players on both teams are okay.
    Go Cards draft well and do free agency well as we have put a fork in the 2016 Season,

  8. By Rust on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply


  9. By texascard on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    This offense can score 21 plus consistently. Add r foster and CB to put the defense back where it should be.

  10. By Marlin on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Our Cardinals are simply NOT a well coached team. We had great times the last few years. We appreciate all that BA has done for the Valley. We love him. But its time for a change.

  11. By Eric G on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Well, that game perfectly symbolized the season, sloppy play, slow start, turnover laden, bad long snaps, missed kicks, Butler out kicking coverage setting up returns, no returns on our special teams, cbs opposite of Peterson giving up big plays, getting down in the start only to come back and blow it.

    What a miserable year.

  12. By clssylssy on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    I’ver heard fans ripping the team all over the internet…facebook, team sites, etc. but, really this isn’t the first time we’ve been tested and, this is the only time that we’ve had a legitimate excuse–the weather–for not rising to the occasion and finding a way to win, we’ve played worse under better conditions! While it’s sad, disappointing, and frustrating, most of could see this coming and it still angers me to recall Steve Keim’s condescending tone and advice to fans that it was too early to panic! Perhaps if things had been fixed back then when the faithful were “panicking” we wouldn’t have arrived at where we are now! And, the irony is that in the face of REAL adversity, a light hurricane (for desert dwellers) we actually were beginning to overcome. IF, our defense had held up just a little longer, and we had gone into OT, the pendullum had begun to swing in our favor, and, I believe, we could have squeaked out a win.
    On the plus side, we have been forced to use players we hardly knew we had and with some success, and we have gone to using plays we don’t normally use, giving our offense a different look and, it’s worked! We have started using our big TEs with a great deal of success and have even gotten creative with the use of players we never hear about except in preseason–WOW! Hopefully, we can use the time we have left to further work these players and plays into our offense. Our defense is in shambles and I keep wondering where all this depth has gone that we were suppose to have at the first of the season. Again, Steve Keim hasn’t found replacement players when we needed them, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised The “unblockable” D-line we had against Washington apparently doesn’t travel, but when we don’t even have enough players to blitz, I would say that is a GM problem. And, Special Teams, we know is hopeless but again, I don’t think SK has ever given it a thought as far as being a priority, and so what can we expect.
    Thursday night watching KC, I thought about how Andy Reid has been kicked around by the media etc., but, mad respect to the man for knowing how to build winning teams beginning with his linemen and Special Teams! Steve Keim, PLEASE pay attention to the other teams who have figured it out and managed to get it done without a Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers!
    The Saints are coming to town and hopefully, everybody hasn’t decided to quit just because we are no longer in the playoffs. We can still go on to win our remaining games and salvage some of our dignity. I think Harold Godwin had it right when he likened our situation to a learning video in school…”This is what happens when you don’t wear your seatbelt”! OR, you don’t react and correct when not making a curve!

  13. By joe holst on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Who would have thought Mike Leach retiring last year would have such a catastrophic effect. They need to load up on o-line , d-line and rebuild the wide receivers positions, the teams ahead of them aren’t any better they just know how to snap the ball, block on FGs and XPs, as well as punts,,

  14. By mitchaz on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Same old road game script dating back to the Carolina playoff game: (1) Palmer playing hot potato early and often—leading to bad turnovers and digging the team a hole; (2) defense giving up untimely TDs, worse of all game after game following half-time; (3) STs proving to be an embarrassing liability.

    In looking ahead—here are some thoughts:

    1. Either the offense has to change or the team needs a different QB.

    Palmer is not a hot read QB like Warner or Brady or Rodgers. If you speed up Palmer’s clock he is going to do what he did again today—throw the ball too soon (1st interception) or throw the ball out in desperation (2nd interception). He needs time and plenty of it.

    Expecting Ulrich John to handle Cameron Wake one on one is just plain idiotic—there is no other way to put it. The only kind of QB who can handle zero sets without sterling bookends is a mobile one who can break pressure with his feet. Carson Palmer, as we know, is not that guy.

    2. The defense still needs a stronger 4 man rush, a more instinctive and athletic Mike ILB, a competent #2 CB and a nickel FS who can cover over the top.

    One could argue that this was the biggest game of the season today—and yet, where was Chandler Jones? There is absolutely no way Jones is worthy of $17.M a year. If he believes he deserves that kind of money, then the Cardinals need to f-tag him and do everything they can to trade him. Jones cannot handicap the total 2017 cap the way Calais Campbell did this year.

    For $17.5M the Cardinals can add 4-5 good starters and a couple of good STs players.

    Good to see Corey Peters almost get a sack today—but the Cardinals kept an inordinate number of interior defensive tackles and none of them has provided an ability to rush the QB. That has to change.

    Kevin Minter is not cutting it. Heck, Sio Moore, made three of the more athletic plays from the ILB position than Minter has all year.

    The Dolphins did what most of the Cardinals’ opponents have done all year—pick on Marcus Cooper or Justin Bethel. Their subpar play cost the team 10 points and probably more—including the game winning FG. Plus it certainly didn’t help that Tyvon Branch’s missed tackle led to yet another opening drive 3rd quarter TD. Branch has been a disappointment as well. One has to wonder how effective the Cardinals’ CB coaches are.

    While D.J. Swearinger and Tony Jefferson make good tackles over the middle—teams know they can beat the Cardinals’ defense deep because the FSs are not good at anticipating the deep pass and lack the requisite speed it takes. Thus, a nickel FS who can cover over the top is important to add.

    3. The Special Teams needs new leadership (coaching) and Steve Keim’s full attention in FA and the NFL Draft. These embarrassments cannot continue.

    4. The Cardinals have to stop leading the league in talk.

    They are still pretenders, not contenders.

    Strongest performances: DJ, JJ, Gresham (save the boneheaded penalty), Humph, Iupati, Kerwynn (Wildcat and STs), Campbell, Mauro, Bucannon, Moore, B. Golden, Swerainger, Jefferson (save the missed tackle with Branch on Landry).

    Major Disappointments: Palmer, Shipley, John, Wetzel, Floyd (when Fitz gets bracketed all game, Floyd should take over), Chandler Jones, Minter, M. Cooper, Bethel, Brewer, Butler, Catanzaro.

  15. By reap37 on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Most disappointing season I can ever remember and I’ve been a Cardinal fan for a very long time. All or Nothing turned out to be nothing. Where do we go from here? Need QB, WR a new kicker, many older guys are the end of careers. If it wasn’t going to happen this year, it isn’t going to happen.

  16. By michael on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    CardsNation – special teams cost at least one moen game (vs Rams) and possibly two (Bills). As terribly as we played vs the Rams, still had a 3pt lead with two minutes left at home. But coverage team allowed a huge punt return and the Rams punch in a TD

    then vs the Bills, even after their awful first half, momentum was swinging and a FG would have made the game 23-10 early in the 3rd quarter. but a botched snap led to a returend TD to make it 30-7 and put the game out of reach

    so definitely 5 games were affected (pats, rams, seattle, vikes, miami) and possibly six with Buffalo. that’s 10-3 or 11-2. heck, that’s even 8-5 if only a few of those plays go our way. Can count on anyone being perfect, but even average would have put us in the playoffs.


  17. By Dr. G. on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Mitch ~ ~ much of what you post is thoughtful analyses…and yours is usually the only lengthy post I detail finding little blather…usually covering what I would if I had the time.

    One thing to add is “”work ethic.”” …the gym, stretching, and playing until the whistle, personal stuff..? BA thinks these guys are grown men and should handle some of these things without monitoring. NOT!! Some are diligent;; some are lax. These days adolescence has expanded beyond age 25 for many young guys…esp. when you hand them thousands of Benjamins…eg.,…I wanna panther, priority one!!

    Wisdom and desire for success can transform, but you need coaches and leaders who possess those qualities or it won’t happen. When we assume some of the guys are real men, we trust the business to the children…

    When we hear David Johnson talking about learning how to enhance his fitness and tirelessly working to succeed, it boggles to think he is really a leader by example…got married, has a child, got a house and a dog… vs “check out my wheels” or gotta go clubbin’ with the possee…

    A very wise man once said: “”trust, but verify.”” We need mgmt by objectives.

  18. By Scott H on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Funny….the rain didn’t prevent Tannehill from going 15 of 20 with 3 TD’s NOR did it prevent two of their WR’s from having 100-yard days.

    And let’s be real – it was the loss of Tannehill that slowed the Dolphins down enough to allow the Cardinals to even catch up at all. When Tannehill was in there, did it look to anyone like the Dolphins were doing anything but cruising? Tannehill stays in, this is probably at least a 10-point loss.

    I don’t want to hear how the rain affected the Cardinals passing game so adversely. Perhaps Palmer should have played something other than God-awful BEFORE the rain started.

  19. By georgiebird on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    The Cardinals are delusional group from Keim thru most of the players. It is so easy to blame Cat or the snapper but let’s be realistic.
    1) the Cards got the ball in OT and could do nothing
    2) the Dolphins with their #2 QB were able to go 50 yards against our #1 defense.
    Our defense is essentially the #1 unit. There are no injuries. Someone will pick an injured player but this defense is easily the healthiest defense in all the NFL.

    BA keeps talking about key plays after every game. Of course, if someone could reverse or correct 5 or so plays a game, a team might win every game. How about giving the Dolphins 5 do-overs and maybe they would have won by double digits.

    The excuse have been lame all year- the Cards are just not a playoff team.

  20. By Darren Urban on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Defense

    One quibble here — by the time we got to the fourth quarter, the secondary was down Cooper, Branch, Mathieu, Simon. “There are no injuries”?

  21. By 11zfan on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Clearly the pressure was too much for Michael Floyd since he was arrested with a DUI early Monday AM. Keim and coaches have a lot of work to do to rebuild this team for next season.

  22. By georgiebird on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    The DLs were there, the LBs were there, and PP was there. But now I understand why we lost to a #2 QB.

  23. By creditcard on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H — totally agree. If Tannehill was playing in the 4th qtr — the game would have been lopsided.

    Another “rain” issue, the Cards knew several days ahead that the probability of raining in Miami was high. I would bet that the Cards did NOT practice in sprinklers or with soaking wet balls during practice this last week.

    Another point about the Cards and their O-line woes … what makes things worse, is that the Cards do NOT have a quick passing gaming. Everything is based on deep routes and taking a longer period to develop.

    These next three weeks will be ugly

  24. By clssylssy on Dec 12, 2016 | Reply

    Scott …
    Really? You don’t think that torrential down pour effected our passing game? I know you don’t live in the Phoenix area so, it may be beyond comprehension that we’ve hardly had a light rain mist in the last six months and playing in such conditions are TOTALLY beyond are skill set whereas it rains all the time in Florida. That kind of rain is difficult from the sliding around and slippery balls to the mental distraction from being cold and soaked to the skin! And, it actually DID let up for brief periods but started the heavy downpour again when we had the ball in the fourth quarter. As desert dwellers, we were TOTALLY out of our element and would have done better in the cold or snow. It was like we got water boarded!

  25. By Patti Bond on Dec 13, 2016 | Reply

    Other teams have got BA figured out now. That is why the Steellers let him go and brought in Todd Hayley Kurt Warners buddy. Anyway on 3rd down and 1 or 2 yards for a first down it is bombs away. What happen to run it like other teams do? The play calling is not good. Also why did we not keep our 2015 defense together. What happen to the turn overs and 6 picks and D touchdowns we had on the 13-3 team last year? Special teams and kickers did kill us, no excuse. The bottom line is we just had more talent on last years 2015 team, why? I think Steve Kiem or and BA had a lot to do with our poor showing in 2016 and what players go or stay. Lets face it, bring back the 2015 Cardinals team! We just blew it in 2016. If we can WIN our 3 last games that would give us confidence and respect for 2017. Do it!

  26. By Scott H on Dec 14, 2016 | Reply

    clssy –

    What I believe is that I did not see the torrential rains affecting the Dolphins passing game as much as it affected ours. And while rain may be a more common occurrence in Miami than in is in Phoenix, it’s not like the Dolphins are playing in the rain so much that they are used to it. Rain like they had down there on Sunday is generally rare for an NFL game. So, my feeling is that it should be affecting BOTH teams equally. But it didn’t look to me like it did.

    And as others have pointed out, teams have the ability to be aware of weather forecasts and to practice accordingly. Did that happen? Don’t know.

  27. By Eazy E on Dec 16, 2016 | Reply

    Easily the most disappointing season in franchise history period!

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