Flashback to September 29th. The Cardinals are 3-0 after beating the Seahawks, Patriots, and Eagles. They are heading to bed ready to wake up the next day and destroy the time-to-crumble Dolphins. A team people were beginning to claim could sneak into the Superbowl with no body noticing facing a team at 1-2 that was outperforming experts but still losing.
The very next day things don’t go exactly as planned. The usually stout Cardinals defense gives up 431 passing yards to rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill who throws all day long to Brian Hartline for 253 yards. The Dolphins marched up and down the field all day while the Cardinals defense scratched their heads. Tannehill makes a few mistakes which the Cardinals are lucky to cash in on.
The Cardinals offense who was surprising everyone to start the year gets a little more of a challenge than originally expected. Kevin Kolb has a very nice day, but Larry Fitzgerald is stymied all day long. Fitzgerald goes 8-64-1 in a game some thought he should have torched the Dolphins in. More impressive even, the Cardinals rushing game goes for a total of 28 yards…28 yards.
A missed field goal (an all too familiar feeling at this point), and a few ill timed turnovers cost the Dolphins the game. It easily could have ended in a 6 point swing with the Dolphins winning by 3 instead of the other way around.
Fast forward 4 weeks to October 29th at 11:47 PM EST, the Cardinals have just been demolished by the San Francisco 49ers 24-3. The Cardinals have not won a game since that Dolphins game. Beaten by the Rams, Bills, Vikings, and 49ers they are spinning out of control. After week 3 most people would have predicted in that 4 game stretch they would go 3-1 at the very worst, never mind 0-4.
Nothing can go right for the Cardinals. Since the Dolphins game they have been outscored 81-36. Certainly not a statistic that would lead one to believe they will rebound for any reason. So the question has to be asked, did the Dolphins game shake something lose in the Cardinals? Did something the Dolphins did do something to show other teams how to beat the Cardinals? Or is it possible they were playing on borrowed time and taking wins that they never should have been given.
Watching the Cardinals they look completely apathetic. They appear to be the team most people thought they were in the beginning of the season, which is very average at best to mainly sub par in a division that usually does not play up to par with the rest of the NFL (probably not going to include this year in that statement).
Things do not necessarily get easier for the Cardinals from here on out either. They spend their next 3 weeks facing the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field followed by their bye week and then have to travel to Atlanta to face the undefeated Falcons.