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Cardinals: Takeaways in Loss vs Undermanned Patriots

hogan-vs-williams
hogan-vs-williams

The good news is that it’s only week one. The bad news is that the Cardinals have a long way to go. The Cardinals open the season 0-1 with a loss to an undermanned Patriots squad.

The Patriots were without starters Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Rob Ninkovich, Nate Solder and Jonathan Cooper. Regardless of who played, the Patriots showed up and the Cardinals didn’t.

Here are a few takeaways.

The first takeaway is the Cardinals defense’s inability to get off of the field. The Patriots offense controlled the ball for nearly eight more minutes than the Cardinals and converted 10 of 16 third downs. A lot of factors contributed to this, such as busted coverage and questionable play calling. However, the most notable factor to the defense’s inability to get off of the field was their poor tackling. All pro defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson in particular had their struggles. Considering the tackling issues Sunday night, expect the Cardinals defense to emphasize getting their man to the ground this week in practice.

The second takeaway is that the Cardinals had zero turnovers and caused two themselves. Despite a plus two turnover margin at home, the Cardinals were still unable to pull out a win. The biggest element to this is that quarterback Carson Palmer didn’t turn the ball over. Prior to Sunday night, including preseason, Palmer had 13 turnovers in his past seven appearances. Despite the overall poor performance from the entire team, he gave the Cardinals a chance to win at the end by taking care of the ball.

The third and final takeaway is that rookie cornerback Brandon Williams took every defensive snap in his first NFL game. This is a lot to ask for from a rookie who has converted to a cornerback just a year and a half ago. Williams’ first mistake of the night came in the first quarter, giving up a 37 yard touchdown pass to Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan. Williams attributes that play to poor communication and a busted coverage. The second mistake he made was giving up a 28 yard reception to rookie wide receiver Malcom Mitchell. Williams went for the ball, missed the tackle before Mitchell escaped for 28 yards. The Patriots scored on the following play. Yes, these are only two mistakes by Williams, but two monumental mistakes that led to 14 points for the Patriots. Backup cornerbacks Justin Bethel and newly acquired Marcus Cooper didn’t play one defensive snap Sunday night, which says plenty about their ability (or lack thereof) to relieve Williams.

The Cardinals have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers up next on the schedule and will have the opportunity to redeem themselves. The Buccaneers will come into University of Phoenix Stadium with a hot quarterback in Jameis Winston. Winston led his team to their first win and threw for four touchdowns in his season debut vs the Falcons. In order for the Cardinals to spit out the bad taste of this Patriots’ loss, they’ll need to first ignore all the hype and taste a piece of humble pie.

 

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