Heading into Week 5, there remained three undefeated teams at 4-0, and the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons were two of them. In the weeks that followed the teams fortunes couldn't have been more different. While The Cardinals suffered five back-to-back losses heading into their bye week, the Falcons would extend their unbeaten streak to eight games before finally suffering their first loss in Week 10 to the New Orleans Saints. Coming into the game, the Falcons were clear favorites, but Matt Ryan's interception on the first offensive play of the game, and a quick Cardinals touchdown quickly changed the complexion. The Cardinals built up a 13-0 lead, picking off Ryan twice more and adding two field goals before the end of the first period of play, however, even this was, in many ways, a disappointment. The Cardinals had the chance to put the game to bed early, when starting quarterback John Skelton had star receiver Larry Fitzgerald open in the end zone, but the ball was overthrown, and the Cardinals squandered great field position, which quickly became the theme of the afternoon.
The St Louis Rams are coming off an impressive performance against one of the best teams in the NFL. The New York Jets are still trying to figure out which quarterback should be under center. Will we see much of the same in Week 11 action? Let's take a closer look at why I like the Rams to come out on top.
The Arizona Cardinals were once the toast of the NFL, after unexpectedly beginning their season 4-0, but those days seem a world away, and heading into their bye week, the team now find themselves in the midst of a five game losing steak with the undefeated Atlanta Falcons waiting when they return.
At 4-5 their early success has waned, and most of the blame has rightly been placed on the teams sub-par offensive line.
Through eight games, the Cardinals offensive line had been directly responsible for injuries to both quarterbacks John Skelton and Kevin Kolb, giving up a league worst 39 sacks and innumerable hits and hurry ups.
The Cardinals tackles, left tackle D'Anthony Batiste and right tackle Bobby Massie were by far the worst offenders—though this is hardly surprising given that neither man had ever played at tackle at an NFL level coming into the season. But the Cardinals more experienced interior line of center Lyle Sendlein and guards Daryn Colledge, Adam Snyder and Rich Ohrnberger have also made more than their fair share of mistakes too.
MNF Cardinals vs. 49ers Recap And Analysis: Alex Smith's (Near) Perfect Game Matched By (Near) Shutout
While Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Eastern seaboard, the San Francisco 49ers pounded the Arizona Cardinals in dry and arid Phoenix, Arizona. Whether it was with their short passing game, Frank Gore rushing inside, outside or with their defensive front seven, San Fran swept through University of Phoenix Stadium with the force of a once in a lifetime hurricane..or sand storm.
Randy Moss used the opportunity to remind the NFL of his Mr. Monday Night moniker by scoring his 18th touchdown in 19 Monday Night Football appearances. (Keep that 18 of 19 number in mind.)
Jay Feeley ended the 49ers shutout bid in the fourth quarter but his field goal at the conclusion of a 14-play, 6:30 drive was the only highlight of the night for Arizona. Prior to Monday night, the Cardinals were the only team to hold each of their opponents under 21 points this season. San Francisco put that streak to bed in the first half. The Cardinals' 4-0 start seems like a lifetime ago after their fourth straight loss.
Here's how the 49ers beat the Cardinals:
Alex Smith’s Near Perfect Game
The NFC West is on the big stage this week on Monday Night Football, as the Arizona Cardinals face the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium. This is a heated rivalry in the NFC West, with very talented defenses on both sides. Both teams have interesting storylines going into this critical divisional rivalry.
The Cardinals have three straight losses and are desperate to defeat the NFC West division leaders, the 49ers. Injuries have plagued the Cardinals offensive line, which has given up 28 sacks in 4 weeks. The Cardinals running backs have been decimated by injuries, and with the exception of Larod Stevens-Howling's good game against the Vikings, all have struggled to get a ground game going which can as well be attributed to the offensive line not getting a substantial push on running plays.
The Cardinals struggles on the ground have affected their ability to throw the ball. Without a ground game to threaten the defenses, over the last three weeks we have seen the Cardinals beaten by two deep shell defenses that would typically be defeated by running the ball successfully.