Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wrap-up: Bears 28, Cardinals 13
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 28-13 home defeat to the Chicago Bears in Week 16:
What it means: The Cardinals fell to 5-10, moving closer to a second 5-11 finish in three seasons. Arizona again showed its ability to play strong pass defense, but there is now even less hope that any of the quarterbacks on the 53-man roster will factor in a meaningful way next season. Week 1 starter John Skelton was named inactive behind rookie sixth-round pick Ryan Lindley, who was benched during this game, and waiver-wire pickup Brian Hoyer.
What I liked: Punter Dave Zastudil broke the NFL record for punts downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. ... The Cardinals held Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to one completed pass in his first 11 attempts. ... Larry Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 111 yards, by far his best statistical performance in more than two months. ... Calais Campbell had a sack and a pass defensed. ... Adrian Wilson blocked a field goal try, setting up Justin Bethel's 82-yard return touchdown.
What I didn't like: Lindley averaged 4.7 yards per attempt with zero touchdowns and an interception before getting the hook. He has now played six games, started four and attempted 171 passes this season without a touchdown. Lindley also has seven interceptions.
With Hoyer appearing likely to start in Week 17, Lindley is on track to finish the season with 80 more pass attempts than any touchdown-less quarterback since at least 2001. The chart lists all players since 2001 with more than 50 pass attempts over a full season and no touchdowns. Lindley and Pittsburgh's Byron Leftwich still have time to remove themselves from the list.
The Cardinals' defense collected only one sack and allowed plays of 36, 35 and 30 yards. It's tough to fault any defense getting zero support from the other side of the ball, but if the Cardinals were going to win this game, they needed a nearly perfect game from their defense. That's too much to ask of any unit.
Beanie Wells fumbled and finished the game with four carries for 3 yards. LaRod Stephens-Howling had 11 carries for 20 yards. He and Wells had zero carries longer than 4 yards. The team's longest run covered 7 yards.
What's next: The Cardinals close the regular season at San Francisco.