Cardinals in Pittsburgh: A Case of Déjà Vu


It seemed like déjà vu for the Arizona Cardinals. The 25-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed eerily similar to that of the first Cardinals loss to the St. Louis Rams two weeks ago.

It was a game of mental errors and penalties.

Arizona, who usually is excellent at keeping the penalties to a minimum, committed nine penalties for 111 yards. This was not the best game for the refs after several phantom calls on both sides. One of the most talked about calls was a no call, in which Michael Floyd was held and interfered with on a possible touchdown catch.

If it was not the penalties, it was the Cardinals mental errors. It seemed like on nearly every drive someone missed converge, dropped a pass, or bobbled the ball. The Cardinals overturned the football three times while the Arizona defense was unable to get the ball with no turnovers.

Carson Palmer was able to move the ball well almost all game, but two interceptions cost the Cardinals points. Palmer’s first interception came in the first quarter on a weird bounce off Jermaine Gresham and was picked off by the Steelers defender.

When the Cardinals were driving late in the 4th quarter, Palmer threw his second interception. He tried to find John Brown in the end zone but did not see the safety up the middle.

Outside of the turnovers the Cardinals offense moved the ball well at times. John Brown had 196 yards on ten receptions while Larry Fitzgerald had 93 yards on eight receptions. Palmer found eight different receivers in the game, but they were unable to finish drives with points. Palmer finished the game 29-for-45 with 421 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.

On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals defense had been preparing for two quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger, and Mike Vick. Vick started the game after Roethlisberger was ruled out, but Vick left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury.

With Vick at the helm, Pittsburgh was unable to get anything going offensively, having only six points at the beginning of the third quarter. Vick was 3-for-8 with only 6 yards of offense. Landry Jones was the quarterback the Cardinals had not planned for.

After a John Brown fumble, Landry got his opportunity and used it giving the Steelers the lead on his first career touchdown pass.

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Then after Palmer’s interception, Landry took advantage and threw a strike to Martavis Bryant, who went 88 yards for the game-sealing touchdown. Landry went 8-for-12 with 168 yards and two touchdowns.

Landry was aided by the run game, which had 141 total yards. Le’Veon Bell had 88 yards on 24 rushes. The Cardinals defense did an excellent job of stopping the run early, but as the game went on the Steelers run game began to pick-up. When the Cardinals needed a stop in third down, it was the Pittsburgh running game that was there to get a first down.

The Cardinals’ secondary, even without an interception, performed well for most of the game. Patrick Peterson was matched up with Antonio Brown, who was limited to three receptions for 24 yards. The killer receiver was Bryant, who had 137 yards on six receptions and two touchdowns.

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If you were to look just at the stats, the amount of offensive yards, first downs, and time of possession, it would seem like the Cardinals had won.

The Cardinals dominated the first half though they only got 10 points in the first half.

They would drive, but it would stall because of a penalty or dropped pass. These mental errors lead to the Steelers being able to win the game.

The Cardinals will need to sharpen their game as they head into next week. They need to work on being more disciplined when it comes to penalties and converting on opportunities that are given to them.

Arizona will look to move on from the loss as they head home. The Cardinals next game is on Monday Night Football when they host Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.

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