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Arizona Cardinals announce they have released Michael Crabtreeby Seth Cox on September 23, 2019 at 8:55 pm
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports The changes are coming. It starts with the release of what was always a perplexing signing, as the Arizona Cardinals announced that they have released wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The fact that they pursued Crabtree always seemed odd as the team had invested heavily in the wide receiver room during the offseason. They signed Damiere Byrd and Kevin White, drafted Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson and somehow felt like Crabtree helped them. What made it even more odd was they first kind of botched the signing, then a couple of weeks later, when it seemed like they did not need him, he was signed. It was a low salary, so not a cap thing, but the fit didn’t make sense. The Cardinals are the worst team in the NFL in wide receiver separation, part of the reason you saw the team really focus on the short game yesterday, and they brought in an older, slower veteran. Crabtree finished his Cardinals career with four catches for 22 yards. Good luck in your next stop, or if this is the last, congratulations.
Three Games, Three Takeawaysby Blake Murphy on September 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Photo by Dan Kubus/Getty Images How should the Cardinals look to the future as the team three weeks into the season is showing some strides but more discouraging holes Welp. That about sums it up, right? Granted... This game wasn’t guaranteed for the Cards to win. They were only a 2.5 point favorite at home and the Panthers have always given them issue. However, against a young quarterback making his second start and after two decent defensive efforts that kept them in the game, optimism abounded. Even through the 3rd quarter, Arizona led 17-14. Then...it fell apart as it often did in 2018 and Arizona ended up losing 35-20, by two touchdowns. And at 0-2-1 on the season, that opening tie might feel like a win given the play of the Detroit Lions in future games...but without a W on the board now it hangs like a loss in the atmosphere hovering somewhere over Lake Havasu. So what is the team to do? Here’s where I stand and granted, I’m a fan and more of a fanalyst who’s not paid to make decisions but as usual there will be opinions. So here are my big 3 takeaways through 3 weeks of the season so far. #1. It’s not time to worry about Kliff and Kyler...in fact almost the opposite Three weeks in and the biggest difference from last year are some of the masterful, well-executed drives from the Cardinals and continual progress. Week 1, the team looked terrible on offense w/ Murray lost and the team completely ineffective...up until the 4th quarter comeback. Week 2, Kliff adjusted. Murray was able to get some time and go deep despite a ton of pressure in his face and went deep with success and luck, however there was no run game to speak of and 2/11 on 3rd down kills you Week 3, Kliff adjusted. As the yards per attempt plummeted, chains were moved to go 9/14 on 3rd down and the run game took a step forward as Kyler used his legs to make some plays In short, there’s continual progress being made week in and week out by K1 and K2. However, none of these games ended up a win for probably because of the core issue that the team is facing in that one man can’t make an entire offense and as a growing/learning rookie the expectation he has is... ...to have to go out and win games now. Yikes. Imagine just graduating college, getting your first job and then the boss walks up to you and says “By the way, this is your department now as if you don’t succeed we all might close down.” Fun stuff! The adjustments and growth through 3 weeks we’ve seen from Kyler has been solid, but moreover Kliff Kingsbury’s growth is more and more encouraging. The fact that Kingsbury’s self aware and understands and is able to adjust is part of why he’s had offensive success and part of why every Cards fan should be excited. It’s a steep learning curve in the NFL yet Kliff seems to be figuring it out more and more. At least so far. 2. Vance Joseph’s defensive approach should be on the hot seat The Cards are in a rebuilding position and a transition into a new team. Some players will survive. Some won’t fit. Some will be band-aids until you can add talent around guys, or if you’re missing a talent like Patrick Peterson on the sideline. But 3 weeks in and Arizona’s defensive approach has more holes in it than swiss cheese. They keep dropping their best pass rushers like Chandler Jones into coverage Clearly their approach with linebackers is solid but Hicks’ lack of athleticism limits them there Big plays are being given up on a weekly basis by Tramaine Brock And of course, the refusal to double tight ends after how they are set to give up a record number of yards and touchdowns to opposing tight ends Tweets like this: The easiest decision in DFS is which TE is playing against a Vance Joseph defense. Free money. https://t.co/iH93nNrYZC— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) September 15, 2019 Look, I checked in with Broncos fans and was warned in advance that their personnel type in Arizona might not be a success. The book is out on Vance Joseph’s defense and today was a day where he had no answers and the adjustments (if there were any) at the half weren’t good. I’m still curious to see what it looks like if he can play Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford to isolate them one-on-one versus outside receivers and then safety help can go over the middle...but a game in which D.J. Swearinger was given one-on-one coverage on Greg Olsen all day and Olsen burned him and the Cards all day was a bad look since nothing changes. So I’ll say this—I think that the Cards should 100% give him the season to figure it out. But for now? I think as long as he fails to fix or address this one issue, even if the D improves with Peterson back, I think I would move on. Right now, he’s off the team for me for 2020 until he can show he knows how to stop or slow a tight end threat. Sue me if you want but when there’s a trend and it’s a RECORD-SETTING trend that has a few baffling in-game decisions (like he was criticized for in Denver) you have to be willing to find the right guy, not just find a guy who many thought was the best guy. And perhaps hiring another ex-coach out from the Denver Broncos after Mike McCoy wasn’t the smartest thing that Steve Keim did. There’s plenty of defensive fish in the sea. And Kliff has zero ties to Joseph like one could say about an Arians-Bowles combination, for example. I’ll finish with this: The Cardinals defense can’t be weighed down by having Kyler Murray facing 4th quarter deficits in every game he plays in. #3. Doesn’t seem like Keim Time is winding down but it should 16 sacks in 3 games. Not enough talent SEEMING to be a keyword on defense. Poor expectations and not managing to build a 3-13 team any more up in an offseason outside of looking like they found the right guys at HC and QB. Welp. Cue the #FireKeim tweets coming back onto the Twitter timeline...#sigh The Cardinals are stuck in a rut where General Manager Steve Keim continually seems to be unable to retool in filling holes. He skimped out in 2016 on special teams...couldn’t address the defense or offensive line in 2017 and made the wrong coaching and contract decisions in 2018. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back when they essentially lost all 5 starting lineman from the worst o-line in the league. This year? It’s been a bit of a band-aid approach. So much so that the Cards had no right tackle, choosing instead to rotate guys in and out. Yikes. There’s been no fixing this line outside of 8 games in 2015 and the lack of OL was why Rod Graves got fired in 2012. This shouldn’t be different no matter how close the reported relationship between Keim and Bidwill may be. I think Keim should be given the same stipulation as Joseph: fix the offensive line (through trades, signings, etc.) before the end of the season where it shows improvement; the same sort of time he gave Steve Wilks. But then that brings up a whole host of other questions as far as the future of the team and the turnover and chaos within the organization. It would kind of reflect what the 2016-2019 Cardinals have done overall: been a slow slide back into the “same ol’ Cardinals” poor play where the GM dug himself into a hole and struck out on the patches he wanted to fill it with. There’s no denying that he took a huge roll of the dice in hiring Kliff Kingsbury and even moving on from Josh Rosen to draft Kyler Murray. Just how many NFL people (whom many were laughing at throughout the process) will buy into this full-on Air Raid identity? How many outside of Arizona? Not many...and that’s a problem with any experienced GM coming into the Cards. Fans, however, feel that he’s past due and I think the area of “accountability” and “performance” and “production” doesn’t feel like it applies to the GM and it should. The answer might be simple: if Keim’s handpicked offensive line can’t hold up and the Cardinals O-Line stays on pace to set a brand new sack record, they might already have a solution. Promote Quentin Harris from his current position as director of player personnel. He’s already here with Kingsbury and we know that the organization’s bought into Kliff. Keep Adrian Wilson in his current role and bring in a new assistant general manager from outside the organization...preferably with a history of building a team’s offensive line through the draft. In short—this team’s in a rebuild that was caused in effect by Steve Keim and while I do not expect the team to move on from him at GM any sooner than the 2021 season, I can’t help but wonder if they are better served finding better production at the GM spot. But I expect no changes. I don’t expect the Cardinals to move on cause I think Keim bringing in Kliff alone was a job security type of move where he clearly “needs an adjustment period” and while it was done to win and not just for job security, it means Arizona won’t want to overhaul their identity. And that’s unfortunate as it means they really had no choice but to keep him if they wanted this experiment. You feel stuck as a fan. If Keim wants to change my mind and turn back into the 2015 GM from the pumpkin that he’s become, I’d more than welcome it. After all, he already has taken more steps in terms of change. Just hasn’t been enough for the touchdown. Kind of like Sunday’s performance. And I hope I’m not hoping and praying for the end of 2021 to get here to know what I have in Murray because the team continues to struggle to build the offensive line.
Player of the Game: Week 3by Robert Ban on September 23, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images In such a disappointing loss, it wouldn’t have taken much for a single player to stand out. But no one told Chandler Jones that, as he put together a game that would be standout on a good day, notching 5 tackles, 2 sacks to go along with 2 forced fumbles, recovering one. He also impacted other facets of the game, holding up when asked to drop into coverage, making plays against the run and otherwise generating pressure. He also had a hand in hurrying Kyle Allen, saving a probable touchdown with the Cardinal’s walking kryptonite down the field in the end zone. Just another day in the office for one of the best and most underrated edge rushers in the league. Do you agree? Who was your Player of the Game?
CAR 38 ARI 20: Adjustment Pointsby Walter Mitchell on September 23, 2019 at 1:55 pm
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Getting an Early Lead and Never Getting One Chance to Build on It The most promising improvement of the week for the Arizona Cardinals is that, for the first time this season, they jumped out to an early lead, thanks to a timely Chandler Jones strip sack and fumble recovery and by virtue of a meticulous 14 play 75 yard drive led by Kyler Murray that was punctuated by Larry Fitzgerald’s hitch pass TD. Cardinals 7 Panthers 0 As is the case in baseball when your team gets the lead, you need your pitcher to go out and have a shutdown inning. But, for the Cardinals’ defense, their responses to the offense getting the team the lead were absolutely demoralizing. The Panthers’ offense, behind 2nd year UCFA QB Kyle Allen, marched right down the field on an 11 play, 75 yard drive in 5:21 and tied the game—-on a play where for some strange reason DE Chandler Jones gave himself up on an inside pass rush (as if it was a TEX stunt, only the DT wasn’t looping), thereby losing contain and giving Kyle Allen an easy escape route to his right where he was able to throw a strike to WR Curtis Samuel in the right corner of the end zone, who had beaten CB Byron Murphy by two steps. Cardinals 7 Panthers 7 The Cardinals’ offense responded by mounting a 15 play, 53 yard drive in 5:58 which culminated in a 34 yard FG by Zane Gonzalez. Cardinals 10 Panthers 7 Panthers response: 3 play 75 yard drive in 0:47 on a 52 yard TD pass from Allen to D.J. Moore with 0:49 on the 2nd quarter clock, thanks to CB Tramaine Brock never turning to see the ball and running himself out of the play, and poor FS help. Panthers 14 Cardinals 10 The Cardinals responded by throwing a perfect deep pass to an open Christian Kirk, who failed to catch and tuck it. End of half. To start the second half the Cardinals responded as well as one could ever hope for. Just as they did with their 1st possession of the 1st half, they marched down the field with the 1st possession of the 2nd half in 9 plays for 75 yards and scored a roll right throwback TD from Kyler Murray to RB David Johnson, who alertly made one defender miss and then bulled his way over another defender into the end zone. Cardinals 17 Panthers 14 The Panthers responded by going on a 7 play 75 yard drive where they get an easy short pass TD to TE Greg Olsen on a legal pick play, since S D.J. Swearinger was pressing Olsen at the line of scrimmage. Panthers 21 Cardinals 17 The Cardinals respond with a 12 play, 49 yard drive that led to a 47 yard Zane Gonzalez FG. Panthers 21 Cardinals 20 The Panthers respond with a 2 play 84 yard drive on a 76 yard TD run right up the middle by Christian McCaffrey. Panthers 28 Cardinals 20 How demoralizing is that? The Cardinals’ offense got the team the lead 3 times and then cut the lead to a single point—-and each time the Panthers’ offense went the length of the field and scored. Defensive Disappointments: The Cardinals’ 3rd different defensive coordinator in 3 years, Vance Joseph, has shown in the first three games that he likes to start the game in soft zones—-which in all three cases has led to easy 1st or 2nd possession TDs for the opponents. After TEs T.J. Hockenson (Lions) and TE Mark Andrews (Ravens) had 100+ games versus the Cardinals and a couple of easy TDs—-this week, Cardinals’ fans were expecting to see extra attention in coverage paid to the Panthers’ Pro Bowl TE Greg Olsen. What we saw was that Olsen was wide open up the seam in the 1st drive versus Joseph’s customary 1st quarter soft zone—-and then—-when the switch to man-to-man came—-we saw Joseph try to cover Olsen with FS D.J. Swearinger, without double teaming him. Swearinger, who has looked like a shell of his former self in three games this year, was clearly no match for Olsen—-and it is almost laughable that Joseph thought his defense could cover Olsen with Swearinger. To make matters worse, Joseph never had Swearinger jam Olsen at the line of scrimmage to spoil his timing with young QB Allen, except at the goal line where the Panthers ran a legal pick play for a wide open easy gift-wrapped TD. The Swearinger we used to know would have run through that pick like a madman. Instead, Swearinger offered virtually no resistance or communication to switch with the CB on the play. Furthermore, despite Swearinger’s obviously struggles, there was no plan B from Joseph. No double teams and no matchup switches. Why not try Byron Murphy on Olsen? Do something? Anything? Getting Stronger Up the Middle Last week at this time, I was pointing out the weakness of the Cardinals’ personnel up the middle. This week, on the two swift back-breaking TDs the Panthers scored—-the long TD pass to Moore and the long TD run by McCaffrey—-the Cardinals had zero FS help on the play. On the long pass, Budda Baker was over covering the deep left third of the field and the deep middle man, Swearinger, got twisted around on the play and was no factor. On the McCaffrey run, Joseph was running a version of the 4-4 defense, with Baker and Swearinger up on the 2nd level flanking Haason Reddick and Jordan Hicks—-the Panthers ran a power dive and Reddick, who is showing some good signs of improved linebacker play, was too late to react to the lead blocker, whom he should have met closer to the hole in order to divert McCaffrey, Instead, Reddick got blocked aside, Hicks didn’t scrape well to get to the ball and the FS, Deionte Thompson, like Reddick, reacted too slowly and stormed the alley too late and whiffed completely on McCaffrey. Credit Byron Murphy for his hustle in almost catching the speedy McCaffrey from behind. Storming the alley is a skill that free safeties have to hone—-it’s all related to timing—-the goal is this: Before the snap, the RB is 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage and the FS typically lines up 10 yards behind the line—-which means that—-because the RB knows the play he gets a one yard head start, but, the second he is handed the ball, the FS has to storm the alley knowing that if the RB gets to the midway point between them—-which is 3-4 yards past the line of scrimmage, then the FS will be able to meet the RB and take him down before he can make a move in the open field. If the FS gets a bad jump—-then he should know he can’t make a lunging run at the RB—-he has to break down, stare at the RB’s belly button so as not to get juked and then do anything he can to bring the RB down. The irony is—-the best safety on the field yesterday was Tre’ Boston who played textbook centerfield, while the Cardinals at that position were throwing the book out of the window. Next point—-can anyone please explain why the Cardinals’ one defensive pass rusher who was having a major impact on the game was on a few key occasions dropping off into zone pass coverage? Other than Chandler Jones—-and one good inside push from Corey Peters—-where was the Cardinals’ pass rush yesterday? It looked like Terrell Suggs was injured—-and now two weeks in a row he was a non-factor on the pass rush, while a younger UFA with Vance Joseph ties, Shaq Barrett ($4M for 1 year), is leading the NFL with 8 sacks in 3 games. For much of the game, the Cardinals interior did well stopping McCaffrey as they were swarming to him and gang tackling him. But, to McCaffrey’s credit, he kept hitting his holes like he was going to break one. And, of course, he did—-and with it—-the Panthers broke the Cardinals’ backs. The Cardinals’ Running Game: McCaffrey’s effort is why so many Cardinals’ fans have been exhorting David Johnson to hit the holes harder—-because his deliberate approach is giving the defense a better chance to close down on him. Yesterday, Chase Edmonds hit the holes harder and he had two carries for 10 yards at 5 yard a pop. But, Johnson did run harder on a few of the key third down conversions, including the one for the Wildcat. But this week, make no mistake about it, all of the short passes that the Panthers were giving the Cardinals were in essence, 4-5 yard running plays. It makes no difference whether you are handing the ball off and passing it quickly. Credit Kyler Murray and the Cardinals receivers for doing a very good job of taking what the Panthers were giving them. This is the first week that Kyler Murray established himself in the running game and he did so with great skill, gaining 69 yards on 8 attempts, often keeping the scoring drives alive in the process. The most beautiful of which came on one of the rare occasions where the Panthers played man to man coverage and left the middle wide open—-which Murray saw and then ran the QB draw through for chunk yards. The Panthers’ Zone Defense After Murray exploited man coverage with his feet, the Panthers reverted exclusively back to their zone coverage, which might be the best zone defense in the NFL, because they draft fast linebackers who have the feet, agility and anticipation to play their zones effectively and the toughness to lower the boom on passes made in front of them. The Panthers also draft zone CBs who are good at keeping everything in front of them, and as was the case with CB Donte Jackson, they have the savviness to peel back to make zone plays on the football. Last week, I mentioned the zone rule of—-if you are standing still with no receiver in your zone area you are making a mistake—-look at the way Jackson peeled back on throws to his side by running toward the intended receiver. That is textbook zone play. The result was two big interceptions. The biggest problem for the Cardinals was just when they had dinked and dunked their way in getting the Panthers to inch up in their zones, the two zone breaker passes that the Cardinals threw deep, the one to Kirk and the other to Trent Sherfield, were dropped. You have to make zone teams pay in the gray areas, otherwise, in the Cardinals’ case, they gave the Panthers the comfort and confidence to keep not only the receivers in front of them, but, most of all, keeping Kyler Murray in front of them—-which further enabled them to pin their ears back and rush him like crazy. The Cardinals’ Pass Blocking and Kyler Murray’s Time Clock Like Matt Judon wreaking havoc in the Cardinals backfield at LDE the week before, Brian Burns was constantly having his way with the Cardinals’ new RTs, Justin Murray and Jordan Mills. If I am Kliff Kingsbury, I am doing two things this week—-one, I am designing chip help for the the tackles and two I am seeing whether someone more athletic, like Brett Toth or Mason Cole—-can be more effective against quick edge rushers. On the other side, D.J. Humphries struggled this week with RDE Mario Addison—-who had 3 sacks. However, when Kyler Murray watches the tape, he will see that he bailed out of the pocket a little too quickly on a few occasions and he missed opportunities to throw the ball away. The Panthers had 8 sacks, most of them in the 2nd half. But, to be fair, it’s tough for the offensive line when their QB does not step up in the pocket. One can imagine that Murray is reluctant to step up for two reasons—-one, to incur added hits from defensive tackles and two to hinder his downfield vision. This is why the Cardinals’ offensive line cannot and should not be blamed entirely for the 8 sacks. The Cardinals need to figure out ways to fix this. One of the ways is to put Murray on the move, far more than they have thus far—-shifting the pocket the way the Redskins used to do for Joe Theisman and the way the Packers do at times for Aaron Rodgers would make it harder for the defense to know where Murray is going to be. Another way is to have Murray take deeper drops off the shotgun snap, thus creating more open space for himself. The thing is—-as unconventional as this is—-Murray has the arm strength to do this. What Murray needs is time and room. Because this was the first game that Murray established himself as a runner, it looked like his adrenaline was running a little too higher than normal, which is why his time clock sped up and why he got a little too antsy at times in the pocket. The shorter passes were easy—-Murray said so himself after the game. Versus the Panthers’ zones it is the deeper passes that are most difficult and to Murray’s credit he delivered on the ones to Kirk and Sherfield. As he said about his interceptions, at that point he was forcing the issue due to being behind. If only the Cardinals’ defense could have given Kyler Murray and the offense the chance to build the lead...who knows? But this week was the first week that the Cardinals ever had a lead, that is going back to OT versus the Lions—-and yesterday the Cardinals had the lead 3 times. Conclusion: The Cardinals are making strides on offense—-and have been doing so versus three of the best defenses in the NFL. The Lions (2-0-1) have been playing excellent, sticky man to man defense the first three games. The Ravens (2-1) have one of the most aggressive front 7s...the key to beating that defense is finding a way to give your QB the time to exploit the back end of their secondary, as the Chiefs were able to do a couple of times with Patrick Mahomes yesterday. The Panthers (1-2) have the ideal zone defense to combat Kyler Murray—-and, even despite that, Murray was giving them fits for 3 quarters. The Cardinals’ defense is nearly last in the NFL right now and swift changes need to be made. There is no reason why the Cardinals shouldn’t be flat-out aggressive on defense—-in order to get the ball back in the hands of the offense as quickly as possible. The Cardinals’ special teams have been good in two of the three games. And they have been good in all three games in terms of the kicking game. There a number of aging veterans on this team who are struggling at this point. They need to pick it up and be the leaders that the Cardinals signed them to be. If not, the sooner the Cardinals can tap into their young talent, the better. Kyler Murray had a poor defense last year at Oklahoma and, despite that, he carried that team to 12 wins. However, to expect him to do that this early in the NFL with the Cardinals is unrealistic. You can tell that Kyler has been putting a great deal of pressure on himself. Under the chill facade and tinted visor, his fire to win is white hot.
Twitter Reacts to the Arizona Cardinals’ 35-20 loss to the Carolina Panthersby Blake Murphy on September 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images What were the best tweets from the contest as Arizona moved to 0-2-1 on the season? The Cardinals fought a tough game against the Carolina Panthers until the 4th quarter until it all fell apart and they dropped to 0-2-1 on the season. But there were a lot of highlights and big moments What were the top tweets from the day as Kyler faced Josh Allen. In the battle of Kyle Allen vs. Kyler Murray, the winner will be whoever can be Kylest.— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) September 22, 2019 Let’s take a look but it started with a starter being replaced: Jordan Mills gets the start at right tackle for the Cardinals.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 22, 2019 The Cards started by getting marched down with the run game and tight ends up until a drive-changing play: Was surprised to find out this week that Chandler Jones leads the league with 54.5 sacks since 2015. Got past Taylor Moton there to thwart what had been a nice opening drive for Kyle Allen.— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) September 22, 2019 Chandler Jones is amazing... Strip sack!— K1 + K2 (@SCoxFB) September 22, 2019 Defense coming up huge! Chandler Jones causes the first turnover of the game.. More of that all game and this game is ours. pic.twitter.com/hDwwNP9QgV— Sande Charles (@cardinalsFGSN) September 22, 2019 The Cardinals took over and went on a surgical 14 play drive with multiple 3rd downs converted and a LOT of Kyler Murray doing the Kyler Scurry. Kyler Murray has now run twice for first downs.It appears the Cardinals are putting more on his plate today.— Kevin Zimmerman (@KZimmermanAZ) September 22, 2019 Holy shit guys did you know Kyler Murray can run?— Max (@maxmcc11) September 22, 2019 Surgical by Kyler Murray. #AZCardinals— Johnny (@JohnnyTouchdown) September 22, 2019 The drive ended with 1 to 11, as everyone’s wanted: The rookie and the vet. @K1 to @LarryFitzgerald for the first points of the game! #RedSea #CARvsAZ : FOX : NFL app // Yahoo Sports appWatch FREE on mobile: https://t.co/qnNxI5gZ8j pic.twitter.com/5gTR5g1V70— NFL (@NFL) September 22, 2019 CARDS SCORED IN THE REDZONE ALERT — Blake Allen Murf (@blakemurphy7) September 22, 2019 My God, what a beautiful drive by the Arizona Cardinals.— K1 + K2 (@SCoxFB) September 22, 2019 The defense gave up to Kyle Allen, however, a TD on the ensuing drive. Great ball placement by @KyleAllen_10 ️#CARvsAZ | #KeepPounding pic.twitter.com/aDpWXltVzF— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 22, 2019 First quarter ends with Kyle Allen 8-of-9 for 74 yards.He's playing well. Carolina needs to cash in with this red zone opportunity.— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) September 22, 2019 That's what coaches meant when they said Allen keeps his cool.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 22, 2019 And the offense, while they moved the ball, stalled out and they punted it back to Carolina. Reddick stepped up on a crucial 3rd down. Reddick with a nice pass breakup on a pass to McCaffery on third down to force the Panthers' first punt.Defense needed that. And Reddick is getting better.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 22, 2019 Nice coverage by Haason Reddick. Not an easy cover against Christian McCaffrey. Forces a punt.— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 22, 2019 On the ensuing drive, the Cardinals quickly got into the red zone with some nifty calls and well-designed and well-executed plays. Chase Edmonds got into the action too. That's my favorite 7-yard gain of all-time. Had no idea who had the ball.— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 22, 2019 Another designed Murray run.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 22, 2019 Love that play design on Edmonds run. Kirk, Byrd and Murray all went right as if play going that way but Edmonds takes handoff and goes left. Very creative— scott bordow (@sbordow) September 22, 2019 Cardinals are now 7 of 8 on third downs. Probably helps having a lot of third and 1s and third and 2s.— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) September 22, 2019 At one point, Zane kicked a field goal and the Cardinals’ right tackle for the last two weeks returned to the field: Just noticed: Justin Murray in at RT on this drive ... Jordan Mills started the game at RT#CARvsAZ— Craig Grialou (@CraigAZSports) September 22, 2019 Kyle Allen to D.J. Moore for a 52-yard TD. Panthers 14, Cardinals 10 with 49 seconds left 2Q.— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 22, 2019 #FlagGate reared its ugly head again as well. Kyle Allen just clapped a bunch of times to get the snap (with plenty left on the play clock) and Kliff Kingsbury threw his arms up on the sideline as if to say, "Where's the flag?"— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 22, 2019 Tre Boston helps the Panthers catch a huge break there.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 22, 2019 The Cardinals defense excels at making quarterbacks look statistically magnificent.— Scott Howard (@ScottHoward42) September 22, 2019 Kirk dropped a surefire wide open deep passing play from Murray as well and there was a collective groan as it would have surely put them in position to score. Kirk should have had that 50 harder from Murray. No excuse.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) September 22, 2019 At halftime, well, the Cardinals were down. At the half, Murray 18-for-22 for only 95 yards. That 50-plus yarder to Christian Kirk that Kirk couldn't hang on to would've made those numbers a bit nicer. TD drive on the first possession for Arizona, but not much else.Cardinals trail, 14-10.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 22, 2019 The @K1 love continues from the @NFLonFOX halftime crew. Howie Long: “This kid Kyler Murray, whenever you walk on a football field your eyes are automatically drawn to one or two guys who are just special athletically. He has that capability.”@AZCardinals-@Panthers— Bill Goodykoontz (@goodyk) September 22, 2019 Biggest thought through one half? The Cardinals defense excels at making quarterbacks look statistically magnificent.— Scott Howard (@ScottHoward42) September 22, 2019 The 2nd half began with the Cards getting the ball. And a Fitz clutch catch... Obligatory big Fitz catch to get the Cards out of a crappy situation.— Kevin Zimmerman (@KZimmermanAZ) September 22, 2019 That was 2nd & 20 and just like that, Fitz makes a 1st down— doug franz (@doug987FM) September 22, 2019 Larry with the big catch, gets popped, gets right back up and revs up the crowd. Never gets old.— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) September 22, 2019 And then they drove into the redzone....and scored again! Kyler throws it back to David Johnson across the field and he takes it in for the score. Cards back on top 17-14 pic.twitter.com/1ZjUE0swnT— 12 Sports (@12SportsAZ) September 22, 2019 Throwing across the field might be the NFLs new corner three, just because the D never expects it— Josh Hermsmeyer (@friscojosh) September 22, 2019 Murray fires back across to field to David Johnson, who makes a guy miss and then barrels into the end zone for a 3-yard TD. Big answer by the Cardinals.Cardinals 17, Panthers 14. 11:20/3Q.— David Brandt (@davidbrandtAP) September 22, 2019 Kyle Allen already has more touchdown passes than Mitchell Trubisky this season.Kyle Allen has played one half of football.— Justin Twell (@JustinTwell78) September 22, 2019 Clearly OPI. Terrible officiating and terrible work by the replay official because it’s a scoring play— doug franz (@doug987FM) September 22, 2019 Three touchdown passes for Cam Newton’s backup. Three! QB-Kyler Allen local Kid Dessert Mountain High School has throw 3 TD passes.Carolina 21-17 over Cardinals.— Larry Fitzgerald Sr. (@FitzBeatSr) September 22, 2019 We wondered through the first two weeks when the defense would look horrendous. It appears today is that day.— Johnny (@JohnnyTouchdown) September 22, 2019 The play-calling and efficiency on offense looks so good right now. Idc if it’s Arizona. After what happened last week vs TB, this has been good to see. Kyle Allen has made some great throws today. OL has played fairly well, especially when Greg Little was in.— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) September 22, 2019 I've almost typed Kyler* Allen about 10 times today. — Lisa Matthews (@LisaMatthewsAZ) September 22, 2019 Murray kept using the legs....too good results. Kyler Murray up to eight carries for 69 yards in the game after a heads-up scramble for 20.— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 22, 2019 Kyler Murray is a handful. Nothing really Carolina can do. Hard to game plan and defend against Arizona’s Air Raid offense. I had a feeling that this defense was gonna struggle.— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) September 22, 2019 The Panthers scored on 4 straight drives after Arizona scored on a possession. Would they make it 5? Yes they would. And Christian McCaffrey https://t.co/qoV2q0mxix.... — Lisa Matthews (@LisaMatthewsAZ) September 22, 2019 What time is the presser to announce Vance Joseph's firing?— Raising Zona (@RaisingZona) September 22, 2019 That is a casual 76-yard TD for extremely-fast-arm-mover Christian McCaffrey. It's 28-20.— katherine fitzgerald (@kfitz134) September 22, 2019 That's 21 points in the last 14 minutes for Carolina.— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) September 22, 2019 Christian McCaffrey just torched the #AZCardinals defende #RedSea #CARvsAZ pic.twitter.com/LQz5dg2g5Z— Arizona sports fan (@GlendaleCards) September 22, 2019 Kyle Allen, in his second start ever, has four touchdown passes. He’s been close to flawless.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) September 22, 2019 And when it rained, it poured. Murray's pass to Fitzgerald is overthrown and intercepted. Panthers at the Arizona 22, and in a game where the Panthers aren't being stopped, that's not a turnover Cards can afford.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 22, 2019 Kyler threw a pick and gave it right back to the Panthers. Looked like some miscommunication between Murray and Fitz.— scott bordow (@sbordow) September 22, 2019 Almost forgot Kyler Murray was capable of throwing an INT, that’s how good he’s been most of this season with decision making.— Jody Oehler (@radiojody) September 22, 2019 Panthers rushed to get the snap off and Allen got swatted by Jones and the ball came loose - but he snatched it back before it was turned over. McCaffrey also called on a chop block.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 22, 2019 Cardinals have allowed 348 yards and 5 TDs to tight ends already in 2019.— Vince Marotta (@Vincemarotta) September 22, 2019 Olsen now has 6 catches for 75 yards and 2 TDs, and after three games, the defending-the-tight-end thing for the Cardinals is an undisputed problem.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 22, 2019 8th sack. But that's on Murray. He has to get rid of the ball— scott bordow (@sbordow) September 22, 2019 All in all, it was a brutal day to be a Cardinals fan. The fans came in with hope expecting a change only to see an ending with more positive strides than their 2018 counterparts. Instead, it’s a brutal loss to a backup quarterback and the Cards will move on to look for their first win next week against the Seahawks.