The Arizona Cardinals have lost five straight to their rival, the San Francisco 49ers. However Larry Fitzgerald pointed out on Wednesday that both teams need to win for it to be a rivalry.
“To be a rivalry, you got to go out there and win,” explained Fitzgerald. “Eventually you need to stand up there and fight. I mean five in a row, enough has to be enough at some point.”
So what has been the problem for Arizona the last five times these teams have faced each other? The factor that stands out the most to everyone you ask in the Cardinal locker room has been the turnovers.
Ken Whisenhunt explained last time they faced San Francisco back on November 20th, they had a hard time getting into a rhythm. “We never really got a chance to do anything offensively,” he said Wednesday. “It’s not so much we got to take the ball and drive it down and score the ball on the first time we get the ball. It’s more about not making mistakes, not turning the ball over, making some plays.”
By the numbers, in the five game losing streak to the 49ers, the Cardinals have been outscored 132 to 45 and have 18 turnovers. The most points Arizona has scored during this five game streak is 16 which was a home loss in week one of the 2009. That is also the last time the Cardinals have scored in double digits against the 49ers.
Fitzgerald added, “We have to give ourselves a fighting chance by not turning the football over.”
But Arizona has won four of five games and seem to be finding their stride in this 2011 season.
Cardinals Quarterback Kevin Kolb will be making his first start against the 49ers since coming to Arizona as he missed their last meeting with the turf toe injury. Kolb mentioned Wednesday that he understood what they need to do to compete with San Francisco.
“They (San Francisco) know what they are good at and they stick to it and they are very disciplined with their technique and schemes, which makes them a tough defense to go against” explained Kolb. “We just have to be precise and anticipate things and take care of the football.”
San Francisco officially clinched the NFC West last week in a win over the Rams but still have work to do as they are eyeing a first round bye in the playoffs. The Cardinals do have a small glimmer of hope as they are still mathematically in the playoff picture at 5-7 but a 6th straight loss to the 49ers would end their chances completely
Kickoff is Sunday at 2:05pm from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale
For more on the Cardinals, follow Jared Cohen on Twitter at @JaredPros2Preps.