Epitaph for a Sad Loss

Harry

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It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Had Dickens been covering this team, that might have been his opening line. This is a great group of players, yet they played well below their capabilities at a critical time.

What bothers me most is where were the halftime adjustments? To me it seemed the team used the same tactics on offense and defense in both halves. Only an excessively egotistical leader could have felt confident the team was on the right track at halftime. The Rams has beaten only one team with a winning record. Right before the game 2 of their key players were added to an already long disqualified COVID list. This game was there for the taking. However, it was the Cards who got taken.

Sadly the answer to why the Cards’ team failed so badly is multifaceted. It appeared to me that once again many of the Cards just phoned it in. They didn’t come fired up to play. They had a wounded beast before them but they lacked the killer instinct to put the opponent away. In the end I was left wondering what game the Cardinal coaches were watching? Just last week I had praised Kingsbury for producing game plans that fit the circumstances he faced. This time his ego got the best of him. Could anything have been more obvious than the fact the depleted Rams couldn’t cover? Yet no changes were made to provide Murray better protection. Instead the Cards continued to run the ball, allowing their O-line to repeatedly fail to open holes, including 2 of 4 plays on a 4th quarter critical drive that ended on turning over the ball on downs. Admittedly Murray didn’t play well, but it’s inexcusable the Cards did virtually nothing to assist him.

Then there’s the defense. Once again the Cards failed to respond by changing a failed strategy. It seemed every time the Cards closed the gap the defense gave up points. The primary failure was the pass rush. The Cards kept proceeding by using a 4 man rush that over and over allowed Stafford the time to throw deep or to let the receivers execute double moves. Incredibly on one key down the Cards rushed only 3 players. This is the same Stafford who in recent weeks had failed badly under pressure. To complicate this the Cards played a porous zone behind this weak rush. Kupp is an expert at settling down in holes, which the Cards facilitated. They also refused to double Kupp except on one play that resulted in a sack. Why repeat a defense that worked? Make Kupp ordinary and the Cards win. As early as summer I pointed out the Cards could only succeed with their weak secondary if they had a successful pass rush. To expect players like Alford to cover NFL receivers was inviting disaster. This coaching failure is the perfect reflection of the definition of insanity. I’d venture to say the Cards played several games this season where they blitzed more often.

Murray was in the MVP conversation, but no longer. Kingsbury was a Coach of the Year candidate. He is no more. Would Joseph leave for a head coaching offer? Would you hire a head coach who stubbornly continued a failing game plan? The Cards would have been the first Cardinal team to be first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot.p in a given year. That was merely wishful thinking.

The season isn’t lost but this game presents serious doubt that this staff could flourish amidst the rigors of the playoffs. Through the game I kept insisting there was plenty of time and there was. What there wasn’t was competent coaching. Losing isn’t always about bad coaching. Sometimes a team just gets outplayed. This loss, however, was on the coaches. They again didn’t have the players ready to play. They began with a poor “business as usual” game plan rather than a customized strategy. They failed to modify that strategy despite its obvious failure. In the end they’ve likely forced the team into a gauntlet of a playoff. They aren’t the “same old Cards,” but they may sadly be more like those teams than we had hoped.
 

BullheadCardFan

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It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Had Dickens been covering this team, that might have been his opening line. This is a great group of players, yet they played well below their capabilities at a critical time.

What bothers me most is where were the halftime adjustments? To me it seemed the team used the same tactics on offense and defense in both halves. Only an excessively egotistical leader could have felt confident the team was on the right track at halftime. The Rams has beaten only one team with a winning record. Right before the game 2 of their key players were added to an already long disqualified COVID list. This game was there for the taking. However, it was the Cards who got taken.

Sadly the answer to why the Cards’ team failed so badly is multifaceted. It appeared to me that once again many of the Cards just phoned it in. They didn’t come fired up to play. They had a wounded beast before them but they lacked the killer instinct to put the opponent away. In the end I was left wondering what game the Cardinal coaches were watching? Just last week I had praised Kingsbury for producing game plans that fit the circumstances he faced. This time his ego got the best of him. Could anything have been more obvious than the fact the depleted Rams couldn’t cover? Yet no changes were made to provide Murray better protection. Instead the Cards continued to run the ball, allowing their O-line to repeatedly fail to open holes, including 2 of 4 plays on a 4th quarter critical drive that ended on turning over the ball on downs. Admittedly Murray didn’t play well, but it’s inexcusable the Cards did virtually nothing to assist him.

Then there’s the defense. Once again the Cards failed to respond by changing a failed strategy. It seemed every time the Cards closed the gap the defense gave up points. The primary failure was the pass rush. The Cards kept proceeding by using a 4 man rush that over and over allowed Stafford the time to throw deep or to let the receivers execute double moves. Incredibly on one key down the Cards rushed only 3 players. This is the same Stafford who in recent weeks had failed badly under pressure. To complicate this the Cards played a porous zone behind this weak rush. Kupp is an expert at settling down in holes, which the Cards facilitated. They also refused to double Kupp except on one play that resulted in a sack. Why repeat a defense that worked? Make Kupp ordinary and the Cards win. As early as summer I pointed out the Cards could only succeed with their weak secondary if they had a successful pass rush. To expect players like Alford to cover NFL receivers was inviting disaster. This coaching failure is the perfect reflection of the definition of insanity. I’d venture to say the Cards played several games this season where they blitzed more often.

Murray was in the MVP conversation, but no longer. Kingsbury was a Coach of the Year candidate. He is no more. Would Joseph leave for a head coaching offer? Would you hire a head coach who stubbornly continued a failing game plan? The Cards would have been the first Cardinal team to be first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot.p in a given year. That was merely wishful thinking.

The season isn’t lost but this game presents serious doubt that this staff could flourish amidst the rigors of the playoffs. Through the game I kept insisting there was plenty of time and there was. What there wasn’t was competent coaching. Losing isn’t always about bad coaching. Sometimes a team just gets outplayed. This loss, however, was on the coaches. They again didn’t have the players ready to play. They began with a poor “business as usual” game plan rather than a customized strategy. They failed to modify that strategy despite its obvious failure. In the end they’ve likely forced the team into a gauntlet of a playoff. They aren’t the “same old Cards,” but they may sadly be more like those teams than we had hoped.
100% this
 

DaHilg

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Pathetic game plan all around. Kyler didn’t play well beyond the 2 picks. He was off on a few other ‘gimme’ throws. Even with that said, absolutely did not put the players in position to succeed just as Harry stated. Why go after their DLine knowing they have a corpse of a secondary out there?
 

Crimson Warrior

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It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Had Dickens been covering this team, that might have been his opening line. This is a great group of players, yet they played well below their capabilities at a critical time.

What bothers me most is where were the halftime adjustments? To me it seemed the team used the same tactics on offense and defense in both halves. Only an excessively egotistical leader could have felt confident the team was on the right track at halftime. The Rams has beaten only one team with a winning record. Right before the game 2 of their key players were added to an already long disqualified COVID list. This game was there for the taking. However, it was the Cards who got taken.

Sadly the answer to why the Cards’ team failed so badly is multifaceted. It appeared to me that once again many of the Cards just phoned it in. They didn’t come fired up to play. They had a wounded beast before them but they lacked the killer instinct to put the opponent away. In the end I was left wondering what game the Cardinal coaches were watching? Just last week I had praised Kingsbury for producing game plans that fit the circumstances he faced. This time his ego got the best of him. Could anything have been more obvious than the fact the depleted Rams couldn’t cover? Yet no changes were made to provide Murray better protection. Instead the Cards continued to run the ball, allowing their O-line to repeatedly fail to open holes, including 2 of 4 plays on a 4th quarter critical drive that ended on turning over the ball on downs. Admittedly Murray didn’t play well, but it’s inexcusable the Cards did virtually nothing to assist him.

Then there’s the defense. Once again the Cards failed to respond by changing a failed strategy. It seemed every time the Cards closed the gap the defense gave up points. The primary failure was the pass rush. The Cards kept proceeding by using a 4 man rush that over and over allowed Stafford the time to throw deep or to let the receivers execute double moves. Incredibly on one key down the Cards rushed only 3 players. This is the same Stafford who in recent weeks had failed badly under pressure. To complicate this the Cards played a porous zone behind this weak rush. Kupp is an expert at settling down in holes, which the Cards facilitated. They also refused to double Kupp except on one play that resulted in a sack. Why repeat a defense that worked? Make Kupp ordinary and the Cards win. As early as summer I pointed out the Cards could only succeed with their weak secondary if they had a successful pass rush. To expect players like Alford to cover NFL receivers was inviting disaster. This coaching failure is the perfect reflection of the definition of insanity. I’d venture to say the Cards played several games this season where they blitzed more often.

Murray was in the MVP conversation, but no longer. Kingsbury was a Coach of the Year candidate. He is no more. Would Joseph leave for a head coaching offer? Would you hire a head coach who stubbornly continued a failing game plan? The Cards would have been the first Cardinal team to be first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot.p in a given year. That was merely wishful thinking.

The season isn’t lost but this game presents serious doubt that this staff could flourish amidst the rigors of the playoffs. Through the game I kept insisting there was plenty of time and there was. What there wasn’t was competent coaching. Losing isn’t always about bad coaching. Sometimes a team just gets outplayed. This loss, however, was on the coaches. They again didn’t have the players ready to play. They began with a poor “business as usual” game plan rather than a customized strategy. They failed to modify that strategy despite its obvious failure. In the end they’ve likely forced the team into a gauntlet of a playoff. They aren’t the “same old Cards,” but they may sadly be more like those teams than we had hoped.

Thanks Harry.

Do you think the coaching staff deserves credit for our improved record this year? Do you think our coaching is better than it was last year? Or is the coaching performance flat vs. 2020, and it's simply a better roster and/or players playing better?
 

Zobaczcie suki

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And yet we were with a score of pulling it off. A play here or there and we would have won. I thought we were moving the ball pretty well in the first half before the int's started happening, especially with Conner's performance. Woulda, coulda, shoulda....
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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I don't think the "throwing the ball to the other team" was on coaching. My comment was regarding the offensive coaching being called pathetic.
I think as with all games this year there were definitely some head scratching calls.

If I were to criticize kliff in this game it would be a handful of offensive play calls, but primarily passing on two FGs where we came away with zero points, not having the team ready at the beginning of the game (yet again), not doubling the best interior lineman in the league - even after he’s proving to crush your protection, and the total debacle of penalties and the final play after recovering the onside kick. Generally when a bunch of players look like keystone cops (and I’m including the two penalties before the last play carnival of the damned) it’s on the coach not having everyone calm, cool and collected and ready for the moment.
 
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Harry

Harry

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Over 400 yards of offense and one punt all game...our definitions of pathetic are very different.
Mine is scoring more points than the other team, especially when major components of that team are sidelined. Also scoring you’re average is another good marker. Murray deserves some criticism, but he’s likely still rusty. However, I have to question why the coaching staff didn’t do more to help him.
 
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Harry

Harry

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Thanks Harry.

Do you think the coaching staff deserves credit for our improved record this year? Do you think our coaching is better than it was last year? Or is the coaching performance flat vs. 2020, and it's simply a better roster and/or players playing better?
Certainly that’s the key question that needs to be studied in depth. Keim has done an exceptional job of bringing in talent. Still I’d say coaching has improved, but remains inconsistent. I think Kingsbury is like the girl with the curl. The sad thing is the Cards keep getting inflexible coaches. I really thought the staff was having a decent year except for getting the team up for some of the games. This setback was shocking. Not because they lost, but because they made no in-game adjustments. I hope that question gets asked at a press conference. At this point I‘d rate Kingsbury as a slightly above average coach who desperately needs a defensive coordinator who can work independently. Kingsbury still needs to grow to be in the top echelon of coaches. I’d go one more year, as replacing him is not certain to produce a better coach. At some point you have to decide if he’s peaked And if not him, who?
 

TheCardFan

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Mine is scoring more points than the other team, especially when major components of that team are sidelined. Also scoring you’re average is another good marker. Murray deserves some criticism, but he’s likely still rusty. However, I have to question why the coaching staff didn’t do more to help him.

It's the same as the first game with the Rams. We go the opportunities then and won.

Donald's tipped pass potentially keeps us from going up 10-0, instead we are down 7-3.

We moved the ball at will - thus 1 punt all night. A few plays here and there were the difference. They made them this time and won.
Hop catches pass on 4th and 2.
Conner gets 1st down on 4th.
Etc.

Not worried about Murray 1%. Not worried about KK 1%.
 

wit3card

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It's the same as the first game with the Rams. We go the opportunities then and won.

Donald's tipped pass potentially keeps us from going up 10-0, instead we are down 7-3.

We moved the ball at will - thus 1 punt all night. A few plays here and there were the difference. They made them this time and won.
Hop catches pass on 4th and 2.
Conner gets 1st down on 4th.
Etc.

Not worried about Murray 1%. Not worried about KK 1%.
I'm with you, I didn't see more than the 7-3 live and rewatched today knowing we lost. So I watched closley why we lost.

And I admit D didn't play well or adjust in the second half, but O did have some adjustments. But some holding calls were just ... let it state, the Rams didn't get called for the same or more balant holdings, end of statement.

But overall, what I saw was an O-line that isn't gelled yet, they aren't really working as a team and there is no better view of that as of the last play of the game, 2 unblocked Defender ... just pathetic O-line play.

But overall both INT were bad advised throws by Kyler, which he didn't make now for a long stretch. If he throws to AJ or to Hop the game ends totally differnt. But that is coulda shoulda woulda.

Basically we had 2 TO against 0 and still had the chance to tie the game in the last 34 seconds. That tells you all about the team that you need to know.

Yes there are some mistakes but, we made them now, and we can adapt and improve. I knew this will be a hard game, the RAMS where hot, they needed the win, Stafford needed the win and so on. The whole Rams team was much more fired up and you saw it from the get go. I hope the next time around, we are fired up more and finish them off in the playoffs, where we will meet them probably. At the end the focus has to be the next game now and win that. Forget this bad game.
 

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let it state, the Rams didn't get called for the same or more balant holdings, end of statement.

What irked me was on the long pass to Kupp in the 4th quarter the play clock had clearly expired well before the ball was snapped, but no delay of game was called. That was a 50 yard swing in field possession and put the Rams on our 20 yard line. Then on the very next play they call delay of game. Too little too late refs.
 
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Harry

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I'm with you, I didn't see more than the 7-3 live and rewatched today knowing we lost. So I watched closley why we lost.

And I admit D didn't play well or adjust in the second half, but O did have some adjustments. But some holding calls were just ... let it state, the Rams didn't get called for the same or more balant holdings, end of statement.

But overall, what I saw was an O-line that isn't gelled yet, they aren't really working as a team and there is no better view of that as of the last play of the game, 2 unblocked Defender ... just pathetic O-line play.

But overall both INT were bad advised throws by Kyler, which he didn't make now for a long stretch. If he throws to AJ or to Hop the game ends totally differnt. But that is coulda shoulda woulda.

Basically we had 2 TO against 0 and still had the chance to tie the game in the last 34 seconds. That tells you all about the team that you need to know.

Yes there are some mistakes but, we made them now, and we can adapt and improve. I knew this will be a hard game, the RAMS where hot, they needed the win, Stafford needed the win and so on. The whole Rams team was much more fired up and you saw it from the get go. I hope the next time around, we are fired up more and finish them off in the playoffs, where we will meet them probably. At the end the focus has to be the next game now and win that. Forget this bad game.
I‘m curious about what offensive adjustments you noted in the second half and what part of the Rams’ defense were they adjusting to?
 

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Still we were probably one dropped pass by our star receiver who "never" drops a pass from tying the game. The tipped pass interception: ____ happens sometimes. Bad luck.

Blocking was poor, but that is why we have a short scrambling QB who works miracles several plays a game with his feet and quickness. Bogus holding calls from the refs killed long gains. One interception due to underestimating how tall the defender was. Again, _____ happens sometimes.

My biggest and probably only complaint is KK not simply kicking that last FG when we immediately got to their 30 yd line, which would have left nearly 2 minutes on the clock. He needed think out of the box quickly and realize that time on the clock was more valuable than gaining 4 extra points via a TD was in that particular situation.

I guess he is still learning how to manage in certain situations, or fully visualize various outcomes. That is what frustrates me the most. Lack of foresight or critical thinking skills, that only a very few seem to possess, when the pressure is the highest. I just can't stand watching head coaches not reaching that higher level of critical thinking at the most important times in a game. Seems only a very few possess it, and KK isn't one of them yet.

No matter how frustrating the game is some weeks, our guys never give up, and always seem to give themselves a chance to win at the end. That is such a relief from previous decades of Cardinal football.
 
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AustrianCardFan

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My biggest and probably only complaint is KK not simply kicking that last FG when we immediately got to their 30 yd line, which would have left nearly 2 minutes on the clock. He needed think out of the box quickly and realize that time on the clock was more valuable than gaining 4 extra points via a TD was in that particular situation.
That was my first thought aswell. But then I thought about it a bit more and especially with a Kicker like Prater I think it was the right approach. Down by 10 you need a TD anyways and if you recover the onside kick you start more or less around your own 45 yard line. That means you only need like 10-15 yards to give Prater a chance and to get there 20-30 seconds can be more than enough.
 

Russ Smith

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What irked me was on the long pass to Kupp in the 4th quarter the play clock had clearly expired well before the ball was snapped, but no delay of game was called. That was a 50 yard swing in field possession and put the Rams on our 20 yard line. Then on the very next play they call delay of game. Too little too late refs.

They never call that and I'm never sure if the clock they're showing us is the real clock because it hits 0 so often without a penalty.

There were some very bad calls, the no call facemask on us being an obvious one. On the sack on the 2nd to last drive Kyler got hit in the head no call, that was the makeup I figure. On the same drive as the no call facemask Michel clearly holds Simmons when he blitzes up the middle. the hold on Harlow on the last drive again that's a basketball play you pull the defender into you and then pretend he fouled you, Donald pulled Harlow in and then acted like he was trying to pull away and was being held, you can see him laughing about after they called it. The one on Max Garcia wipes out a first down catch if we challenge.

The one that angered me the most was Simmons stupid roughing play where he hits the guy in the head with his elbow. yes it wasn't a vicious shot but it was completely stupid, totally not necessary, and IMO he did it on purpose he was trying to send a message I think. That was a huge mistake.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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It's the same as the first game with the Rams. We go the opportunities then and won.

Donald's tipped pass potentially keeps us from going up 10-0, instead we are down 7-3.

We moved the ball at will - thus 1 punt all night. A few plays here and there were the difference. They made them this time and won.
Hop catches pass on 4th and 2.
Conner gets 1st down on 4th.
Etc.

Not worried about Murray 1%. Not worried about KK 1%.
1 punt all night. And two interceptions. And two turnovers on downs. The 1 punt argument is a form over substance argument.
 

wit3card

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I‘m curious about what offensive adjustments you noted in the second half and what part of the Rams’ defense were they adjusting to?
more roll outs and some designed run for Kyler and some route adjustments for Kirk, that mostly worked. The problem what I noticed, Donald dominated our interior line so runs that Conner made didn't work well and we don't have a second RB like Chase Edmunds, I think with Edmunds the runs that KK called would have worked way better, and secondly Kyler still missed some plays. but they were there. And ref screwed us on some plays.
But you are 100% right, that D didn't adapt or change anything. And Hicks got burned by Cooper so hard on some plays.

And I give you, that KK should have changed maybe even a little bit more. But that is difficult for me to judge. I think this game was way harder for the team than they thought and overall we did make to much mistakes. we didn't have that much of margin. As for the GB game, same goes here. We were in the game inspite of 3-4 big mistakes and some calls against us. If the calls go our way or we make less mistakes, we can win both games.

Overall in my view a good game from all 3 phases and we can beat any team in the NFL. A great play by at least 1 unit and we might win comfortable.
 
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