They say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
The game of football, like life, is filled with lessons learned.
The Arizona Cardinals were taught many in their 27-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
Levi Brown was put on spin cycle by Robert Quinn (three sacks, TFL) more often than Valley washing machines Sunday
If you’re a glass-half-full person you’ll say Carson Palmer (26-40, 327 yards, two touchdowns) is a major upgrade over any quarterback since Kurt Warner retired.
You may mention Larry Fitzgerald’s eight catch, 80-yard, two touchdown “Fitz-esque” performance. A welcomed site after seeing one of the best receivers in football underserved in 2012.
Tyrann Mathieu, who said last week he was “going to make a bunch of plays,” fulfilled the promise. If, and it’s still a big if, he keeps his head on straight, the skies the limit from the sneak peek we’ve seen to this point.
On the flip side Levi Brown was put on spin cycle by Robert Quinn (three sacks, TFL) more often than Valley washing machines Sunday afternoon. Brown, who was called “elite” this off-season Bruce Arians, was exposed every way possible inside Edward Jones Dome. The freak, season-ending injury to Jonathan Cooper leaves Arians with even less wiggle room to shuffle the rotation up front.
But let’s not be naive enough to pin the entire loss on Brown. Arizona held an 11-point lead late in the third quarter but in typical Cardinals fashion, failed to put the game away. The window of opportunity for road wins in the NFL closes faster than Robert Sarver’s wallet. Case in point Sunday.
Jay Feely’s 50-yard miss before the half wasn’t a chip shot but for a NFL veteran kicking in a dome it’s one he needs to make and he’ll be the first to second that. My guess is Arians bringing in some “competition” in the near future to push Feely even harder.
Lastly, the Cards defensive line didn’t do their secondary any favors. Yes, Dan Williams had a pick-six but Rams quarterback Sam Bradford had plenty of time to go over his progressions in the pocket. The Bird Gang failed to record a sack (the Rams had four) and Darnell Dockett was close to invisible (one tackle).
Obviously, a season is not won or lost in Week 1 but with the much-improved Lions visiting Glendale next week followed by three of the next four on the road, letting this one slip away stings.
There’s no need to belabor the point the NFC West is one of, if not the toughest divisions in football. Look at the standings and you’ll see why.
Every team is unbeaten.