Monday Night Horror Show

Facing off with this guy would be less frightening than watching the Arizona Cardinals play on Monday night

Sometimes in sports, it’s just easier to go through the teams you know can’t win it all rather than to try and figure out who can.  Tonight’s debacle by the Cardinals tell me that Arizona is going to be one of those who’re in the former and not the latter.

Sure, they were inconsistent at times last season — but that was supposed to be a thing of the past this year after their breakthrough in the playoffs in 2009 en route to a trip to the Super Bowl.  But they’ve been just as maddening to watch this season, mixing in solid, inspired play with sloppy, mail-it-in performances like tonight’s that make them look like they’ve somehow switched uniforms with a team like the 49ers, who spanked them easily in a game that should have marked a division title clincher for Arizona.

With San Francisco’s upset loss against Seattle last week, Arizona had opened a comfortable lead in the division — which was possibly the worst thing that could have happened to them.  With seemingly easy match-ups against the Lions and Rams still on the schedule, it was easy to see once Monday’s game started that the Cardinals weren’t prepared to play San Francisco at all, on either side of the ball.  Seven turnovers?  Those type of performances from the Browns or the Rams might be expected, but not from a team that fancies itself a contender.

Granted, the Cardinals are still going to the playoffs and in all likelihood still winning the division — but with a chance to wrap things up early and give themselves an opportunity to challenge for a first-round bye, Arizona instead crapped the bed on every level possible Monday night, mailing it in during a performance that suggests that they took this game as seriously as Tiger Woods takes his wedding vows.  Penalties, turnovers, and generally sloppy play were all on display in San Francisco, as Arizona embarrassed themselves with a pathetic performance that suggests that anyone in the desert who’s expecting a repeat of the team’s run in the playoffs last year is going to be severely disappointed.

It’s clear to me that there are only two teams in the NFC that look — and play — consistently like a Super Bowl contender, and it’s the Saints and the Vikings.  The Cardinals, at least for this year, are little more than pretenders to a throne they don’t deserve to sit on.  Their putrid play on Monday suggests they think the same thing themselves.

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One Response to “Monday Night Horror Show”

  1. […] I’ve already expressed my disdain for the Cardinals efforts earlier this season, and last Sunday’s effort at home against the Packers only confirmed my belief that this postseason will not be a repeat of the team’s magical run last year.  Again, you can forget about the whole “game didn’t mean anything” explanations — the Cardinals have had a nasty habit over the last two years of simply not showing up to play in plenty of games, including ones that do mean something.  The Arizona starters didn’t play for very long last week, but even when they were on the field, the Pack was whipping up on them like the bully that took you lunch money back in grade school. […]

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