What to Make of This Game

Harry

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The first thing to keep in mind is the Cards won. They won ugly but they won. The tough part is injuries are mounting. I expect Williams to be gone for the year. It looked exactly like my career ending injury. In my day virtually no one came back from an ACL tear. Hudson’s injury may be serious as well. Ribs are tricky. As a linemen the heavy contact makes playing in a flak jacket unworkable. If the ribs are broken he might have punctured a lung. Hudson is never injured so this was extreme bad luck. I figure he’s gone for at least 3 weeks. With Justin Murray already gone, it’s now a thin red line. Of course CB Murphy is out as well, but I suspect he is week to week. The next game is tough. Mayfield seems to be recovering and the Cards will need Murphy to win.

Another thing not to lose sight of is how well the defense played. They won the game. Those 4th down stops were amazing, especially the goal line stop by Simmons. The secondary was surprisingly decent. Zack Allen had the game the Cards believed he could deliver. However in the end it was Watt who provided the dominant plays on defense. Despite the lack of a sack he totally disrupted the SF offense. He threw their linemen around like toy soldiers. It was one of the most impressive displays of raw power I’ve seen. I firmly believe without his level of play, the Cards would have lost.

One last comment on the defense, I still think my idea of spying Lance with Simmons would have worked effectively as well.

The offense has to be labeled disappointing. SF out-coached Kingsbury on this side of the ball and found a way to neutralize Murray to a large extent. Murray responded by dropping back deeper and deeper on pass plays. That was exactly what SF wanted. It made the tackles have difficulty controlling the rush angles. They couldn’t direct rushers behind Murray, he was too deep. For his part Murray’s favorite move, pivoting then heading to the sideline meant more often than not he turned into the pursuit. Where were the draw plays, the screens and the swing passes to neutralize the rush. Virtually no slants or other quick pass plays were employed to exploit the defensive spacing. Finally the run game struggled but as in previous games, they eventually seemed to wear down the defense. Finally when they needed to score at the end, the offense couldn’t be stopped. However, this game should have been easier.

This is an excellent, playoff bound team. Let’s not yet canonize it as a great team. They beat Tennessee, which subsequently appears mediocre. They should have lost to a mediocre Vikings team. They failed to dominate Jax. The LA win was a classic and showed how good this team could be if they played consistently at that level. Finally they beat the Niners but struggled against a one-dimensional backup QB. Still they are 5-0 and you can bank those wins. Just splitting the remaining 12 games would surely put them in the playoffs, probably with a bye.

No team plays great every week. Ups and downs are typical. This team has unreal offensive weapons. They’ve played good defensively, but I think they will have to hit the QB more often. They have enough talent to dominate most weeks. They haven’t consistently played to that level yet. This is likely the best Cardinal team ever. They likely need to trade for a TE and add another CB. This is doable and Keim seems the right guy to do it.
 

slanidrac16

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Harry , what te out there would you prefer and could be had? Are you privy to any rumors of Keim shopping around?
 

ASUCHRIS

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Great stuff as always Harry. I got sick to my stomach as soon as I saw the hit on Maxx...his play this year has transformed our offense, and his loss will be felt both for our running backs and in the pass game.

If TE isn't addressed, Keim has some serious questions to answer. This is a team that has Super Bowl potential, so all stops should be pulled at this point.
 

daves

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Just splitting the remaining 12 games would surely put them in the playoffs, probably with a bye.
Great, informative post as usual, Harry! Just one quibble: There's only one bye per conference nowadays, and 11-6 will probably not be good enough to clinch it.

...dave
 

LoyaltyisaCurse

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The first thing to keep in mind is the Cards won. They won ugly but they won. The tough part is injuries are mounting. I expect Williams to be gone for the year. It looked exactly like my career ending injury. In my day virtually no one came back from an ACL tear. Hudson’s injury may be serious as well. Ribs are tricky. As a linemen the heavy contact makes playing in a flak jacket unworkable. If the ribs are broken he might have punctured a lung. Hudson is never injured so this was extreme bad luck. I figure he’s gone for at least 3 weeks. With Justin Murray already gone, it’s now a thin red line. Of course CB Murphy is out as well, but I suspect he is week to week. The next game is tough. Mayfield seems to be recovering and the Cards will need Murphy to win.

Another thing not to lose sight of is how well the defense played. They won the game. Those 4th down stops were amazing, especially the goal line stop by Simmons. The secondary was surprisingly decent. Zack Allen had the game the Cards believed he could deliver. However in the end it was Watt who provided the dominant plays on defense. Despite the lack of a sack he totally disrupted the SF offense. He threw their linemen around like toy soldiers. It was one of the most impressive displays of raw power I’ve seen. I firmly believe without his level of play, the Cards would have lost.

One last comment on the defense, I still think my idea of spying Lance with Simmons would have worked effectively as well.

The offense has to be labeled disappointing. SF out-coached Kingsbury on this side of the ball and found a way to neutralize Murray to a large extent. Murray responded by dropping back deeper and deeper on pass plays. That was exactly what SF wanted. It made the tackles have difficulty controlling the rush angles. They couldn’t direct rushers behind Murray, he was too deep. For his part Murray’s favorite move, pivoting then heading to the sideline meant more often than not he turned into the pursuit. Where were the draw plays, the screens and the swing passes to neutralize the rush. Virtually no slants or other quick pass plays were employed to exploit the defensive spacing. Finally the run game struggled but as in previous games, they eventually seemed to wear down the defense. Finally when they needed to score at the end, the offense couldn’t be stopped. However, this game should have been easier.

This is an excellent, playoff bound team. Let’s not yet canonize it as a great team. They beat Tennessee, which subsequently appears mediocre. They should have lost to a mediocre Vikings team. They failed to dominate Jax. The LA win was a classic and showed how good this team could be if they played consistently at that level. Finally they beat the Niners but struggled against a one-dimensional backup QB. Still they are 5-0 and you can bank those wins. Just splitting the remaining 12 games would surely put them in the playoffs, probably with a bye.

No team plays great every week. Ups and downs are typical. This team has unreal offensive weapons. They’ve played good defensively, but I think they will have to hit the QB more often. They have enough talent to dominate most weeks. They haven’t consistently played to that level yet. This is likely the best Cardinal team ever. They likely need to trade for a TE and add another CB. This is doable and Keim seems the right guy to do it.
Need to dial up ATL to inquire about Hayden Hurst.
 

Jetstream Green

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I think Hudson comes back and is the major concern and why Kyler finally was excelling in the pocket compared to past excursions of not having a legit pocket to judge the guy... yeah, trade for a TE now!
 

Garthshort

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Harry, you didn't mention KM's health. I think that his injured arm/shoulder played a big part in his sub-par game. I hope I'm wrong and it was just good 49er defense that caused Kyler's struggles.
 

Jay Cardinal

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I agree on all items here. Especially the way Murray kept dropping back. If he stepped up in the pocket -- there would have been to to pass, or especially to take off running. It was a good gameplan on the d-line for SF. I would imagine we see other teams play it similar.
 
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