After winning their first game of the season for the previous two years in a row, the Arizona Cardinals lost to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, ending their streak. The Cardinals lost their season opener by a score of 44-21 after never holding the lead.
After jumping out to an early 14-0 lead with five touchdown passes from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City never looked back. The Arizona Cardinals didn’t provide many encouraging answers on Sunday after a long offseason of speculation about why they’ll have such a dismal 2021 season.
The hosts, correspondents, and editors discussing the disappointing setback suffered by the Cardinals in Week 1 Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: The Arizona Cardinals’ defense was a major worry heading into the season Without DeAndre Hopkins for six weeks, the Cardinals’ offense is certain to struggle.
The Cardinals’ sluggish finish to the 2021 season appeared to be repeated in Week 1 of 2022. It was Arizona’s sixth straight loss in front of their home fans as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense played with the Cardinals’ shorthanded defense from the get-go on the way to a 44-21 triumph at State Farm Stadium.
“They kicked our ass.”
Kyler Murray on the Arizona Cardinals season opening loss to the Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/v1u3Dua8nz
— Bo Brack (@BoBrack) September 11, 2022
There was no pass pressure from the Cardinal’s defense, and they had trouble tackling and covering receivers. On their first three possessions, the Chiefs scored touchdowns (on drives of 75 yards or more on each play) and never looked back.
The Cardinals appeared uninterested in attacking. Kyler Murray didn’t appear to have chemistry with any of his receivers, and the offensive strategy as a whole was uninspired. Nothing happened on defense besides a strip of JuJu Smith-Schuster by Dennis Gardeck, which resulted in a turnover.
If Week 1 was any indication, we’re in for a lengthy football season in the desert. What part of this didn’t anyone see coming? Because, you know, the Chiefs were healthy and the Cardinals weren’t. Depending on how the rest of the season goes, Patrick Mahomes could go down as the best starting quarterback in NFL history.
The Chiefs scored 44 points against the Arizona defense, whom we have been critical of over the past three months due to their lack of a proven pass rusher and inability to adequately address the vulnerabilities at cornerback. These concerns also pertained to the defense, where recent first-round picks Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins raised red flags.
The Arizona defense failed to record a single takedown and had no interceptions while allowing 488 yards and 33 first downs. KC scored on all six of its opportunities inside the scoring zone. Mahomes completed 5 passes for scores. Insignificant is the Cardinals’ 21-point performance, as 14 of those points were scored after the Chiefs had ceased playing.
This one wrapped up super quick. They grabbed the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown. When they received the ball back, they drove 88 yards in 7 plays and scored a touchdown.
Once again, the team regained possession and scored 11 plays later, this time after traveling 75 yards. With the score at 20-7, it was clear that the Chiefs were too strong for the Cardinals to overcome. The only thing left to guess was how many points KC will score. In a word, it was revolting. The Cardinals’ roster has numerous weaknesses that will likely go unaddressed this year. Arizona is light years behind the league’s best teams.
Dave Burns, one half of the radio duo Burns & Gambo, says: “Imagine you’re at the movies (remember those?) and a preview for an upcoming release is shown. You turn to your companion and mutter, “Well, that looked awful.” That’s how many Cardinals fans felt when the injury report was released on Friday.
As was to be expected, the Cardinals performed poorly against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. There have been too many injuries to key players. Inadequate pass rush. Inadequate secondary-level coverage. Insufficient wide receivers to maintain current scoring rates. There’s a good quarterback on the opposing team, and they’re a threat. Hence, Sunday’s shame.
However, the bigger issue is what this signifies for the future. Could this be an anomalous match? Doomed to fail? Did the NFC West’s poor performance in Week 1 dilute the significance? There will be an improvement in their offense. The question is not if reinforcements will arrive, but when (apart from the five games left of DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension).
In contrast, the defense was overly giving, and not in a good manner. There, too, reinforcements are on the way, though it’s hard to imagine that Antonio Hamilton or Trayvon Mullen Jr. will significantly alter the outcome. J.J. Certainly Watt can make the adjustment, but who can depend on his availability week after week? As things are, the operation could be derailed due to the lack of focus on that aspect of football.
Although they won’t be facing Patrick Mahomes every week, Kliff Kingsbury is correct that this will be your defense for the remainder of the season. This season is slipping away from them just as quickly, so they need to improve quickly.
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