Sunday, November 7, 2010
Wrap-up: Vikings 27, Cardinals 24
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9:
What it means: The Cardinals fell to 3-5 and blew another prime opportunity to assert themselves in the NFC West. This one had to hurt badly. Arizona can still get to 8-8 by winning its five remaining home games (against Seattle, San Francisco, St. Louis, Denver and Dallas). But losing fourth-quarter leads in back-to-back weeks has to shake the Cardinals' confidence. At least there's a fat margin for error in the NFC West.
What I liked: The Cardinals' defense and special teams showed up in a big way (even if the defense didn't stick around for a full game). LaRod Stephens-Howling scored on a kickoff return. Cornerback Michael Adams scored on a fumble return collected during a Vikings kickoff return. Safety Kerry Rhodes missed an interception return for a touchdown only when the Vikings forced him to fumble near the goal line, resulting in a touchback. Arizona's goal-line stand in the fourth quarter prevented the Vikings from pulling within a touchdown. Rookie Andre Roberts' weaving run-after-catch for a 30-yard touchdown was another impressive play. These were precisely the types of plays Arizona needed to claim an upset victory on the road.
What I didn't like: The Cardinals have lost a few late leads over the last few seasons, from the Super Bowl to the defeat against Tampa Bay last week. It happened again Sunday when Brett Favre led two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, tying the game 24-24 through regulation. Favre finished with 446 yards passing. The late defensive letdown wasted the impressive goal-line stand. Another downer: Ben Patrick's holding penalty on the Cardinals' first offensive play wiped out a 7-yard gain and put Arizona at risk deep in its own end. I didn't see the play well enough to know whether Patrick committed a blatant penalty. The result, however, could have cost the Cardinals early momentum on the road.
For the records: Larry Fitzgerald moved past Anquan Boldin into third place on the Cardinals' all-time receiving yardage list behind Roy Green and Jackie Smith. Fitzgerald also reached 100 yards receiving in a game for the 24th time. Boldin holds the team record (27).
Wells, Wells, Wells: Running back Beanie Wells carried only once after entering the game listed as questionable on the injury report. Tim Hightower carried 13 times for 39 yards. The Cardinals did not have a run longer than 11 yards, however.
Big Revelation: A Cardinals quarterback could make it through an NFL game without throwing an interception. It hadn't happened since Week 1, but Derek Anderson completed 15 of 26 passes for 179 yards, one touchdown and a 91.7 rating against the Vikings. Minnesota nearly picked off a couple passes, but the interception-free performance was critical for the Cardinals' chances. It's tough to blame the Cardinals' quarterback situation for this defeat.
What's next: The Cardinals return home to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10.