Upon Further Review: Cardinals Week 4

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
12:30
PM ET
A review of four hot issues from the Arizona Cardinals' 13-10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Offense needs work: Arizona''s offense struggled to move the ball last season, and it seems to be carrying over into the Bruce Arians era. The offense seems to get stuck in the mud and spin its tires for most of the game until it gets a light nudge from the defense or one of its receivers. And, as much as the Cardinals have talked about fixing the problems, the same things keep happening. Arizona didn’t convert a third down in the first half and was 1-for-10 overall. Six of their 10 third downs, including the one conversion, were for 10 yards or less. The Cardinals managed just 87 yards of total offense in the first half, and they were lucky to win. Since 2001, the Cards are 20-47 when totaling less than 100 yards in either half, according to ESPN Stats & Information. There could be a simple fix, but it’s a matter of finding out exactly what’s wrong.

[+] EnlargeArizona's Larry Fitzgerald
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsLarry Fitzgerald wasn't targeted in the first half but got going after the break.
Run D showed up: No wonder the defensive line wanted to know how many rushing yards it allowed right after the game. The Cardinals held Bucs running back Doug Martin to 45 yards on 27 carries, his lowest total of the season and the lowest of his career when he has 27 or more carries. Martin is averaging 137 yards per game in the four contests in which he has 27 carries or more. According Mark Dalton, Arizona’s vice president of media relations, with information from the Elias Sports Bureau, Martin is the eighth player to have 45 or fewer yards on 25 or more carries since 1935.

Fitz needs to be fed: As Carson Palmer attempted each pass during the first half, none of which were intended for Larry Fitzgerald, the shock spread. Fitzgerald wasn’t targeted once in the first two quarters for the first time since Week 16 of 2010 against the Dallas Cowboys, when the Cardinals also squeezed out a win, 27-26, according to ESPN Stats & Information. As soon as Fitzgerald was worked into the game plan Sunday, Arizona moved the ball with ease because it put the Bucs on alert.

Injuries hurt defense: If the Cardinals weren’t decimated on defense already after New Orleans on Sept. 22, they might not want to go into the training room Monday. Arizona lost three more players to injuries, all at key positions. Linebacker Vic So'oto left the game with a possible concussion. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett left with a groin injury, as did linebacker Jasper Brinkley. This is on top of the rash of injuries suffered two weekends ago and the loss of Dan Williams for the game. So’oto’s injury could be more serious than the others, but Dockett and Brinkley have until Wednesday to rest, otherwise it’s another run through the waiver wire.

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.