On-Line NFL Pool
NFL Fight Songs
"The Cardinal" Bio
The Playoff Race
- - - - - As 2014 comes to an end, fans of the Arizona Cardinals look back on the season with mixed emotions. At 9-1, the team's best start since 1948 gave way to a still-impressive 11-3 conference-leading record. But with yet another injury to the starting quarterback, the Cardinals dropped the last two games to lose home-field and the division lead. Now, Arizona must go on the road as a Wild Card qualifier as the team seeks to extend its season.
- - - - - The 20-17 loss to the 49ers ultimately did not change our seeding, as the Seahawks were pulling away from the Rams to clinch the NFC West. Furthermore, the Cardinals' performance in San Francisco does actually give some cause for optimism as 3rd-stringer Ryan Lindley looked more comfortable with the offensive reins. Two touchdown tosses allowed Arizona to lead 17-13 at halftime, but an unforgiveable defensive penalty gave the 49ers a first-down after being stopped and led to the game-winning touchdown.
- - - - - For its part, the Cardinals did muster three trips to midfield on their four second-half possessions. Lindley did also throw three interceptions. One was deep on a lost third-down and was essentially the same as a punt. Another came on the final desperation drive on 2nd-and-19. Only the remaining pick cost us points as the Cardinals were in field goal range at the time. Also, earlier in the first half, Arizona took a horrible loss behind the line of scrimmage, being pushed out of field goal range. Six points given away. Add to that the 49ers' 54-yarder that barely cleared the crossbar. In a game of inches, the Cardinals simply made too many mistakes to come away with the win.
- - - - - That's very different from being uncompetitive. Despite all the hand-wringing with our QB situation, Lindley looked remarkably competent last Sunday. The team hasn't been using injuries as an excuse all season long, and it wouldn't make sense to start now. Although I would have preferred seeing the use of more running plays to set up manageable third-down situations, the coaching staff's confidence in our passing attack was again placed front and center. If we learned anything in this past contest, it is that our defense just needs to go out there and do its thing. No need to take excessive gambles and get beaten on long, broken plays. No need to take matters in your own hands and strip instead of tackling. Just be fundamentally sound and the offense, with all its imperfections, is capable of putting up the points to win.
NEXT WEEK, @ CAROLINA PANTHERS: . . . At least against the Carolina Panthers. Sure, the Panthers are hot right now, winners of four straight (against Cleveland and the rest of the NFC South). Cam Newton is playing up to his anticipated form. The defense either scored or directly set up 21 points in last week's demolition of the Falcons in Atlanta, a team that kicked our tails, even before the Stanton injury. Yet, the confident predictions being heaped upon Carolina, with the Cardinals barely as an afterthought might be a bit unwarranted. And the more I hear, the better I like it. My prediction, Cards win, 23-10.
NINETEENTH SEASON UNDERWAY
- - - - - As you've probably already noticed, "The Cardinal's" Nest, the Internet's longest-running website dedicated to the Arizona Cardinals, has
undergone a few changes over the years as we embark on our 19th season. This newer setup will hopefully make it easier for you, the fans, to navigate
these pages. After all, isn't life already hard enough being a Cardinals fan?
- - - - - The bar at the left will contain the links to the other pages on this site, including icons for some of the larger features.
Meanwhile, play in my Eighteenth-annual On-Line NFL Pool has begun and the Chicago Cardinals Photo
Album, featuring photos and other game memorabilia from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s has opened. Also, check out the
"Arizona Sports Fans" Message Board. As always, if you have any
suggestions, comments, or questions, please feel free to send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org;
I always enjoy hearing from Cardinals fans around the country and the world.