Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cards vs. Baltimore 10/30/11

Baltimore 30 Cards 27

Was anyone really surprised that Baltimore came back from a 21 point deficit?  Fitz said he was shocked.  A couple of the guys in the locker room looked shocked.  But, sadly, the rest of the Cardinal nation looked at the halftime score as another opportunity to break some records, which of course they did.  It was the largest comeback in Baltimore history.  Go Cards.

I actually liked the game plan better than in games past.  They relied heavy on the run, which kept the offense on the field.  They mixed up the run plays enough to get some yards against a difficult front seven.  They ended up splitting the time with the Ravens as far as possession, which is a major plus for this team.  And they contained the run against a shifty back; which is another weakness they’ve had this year.  The game was close because they did the right things to keep it close.  However, that doesn’t win you games. 

My last few posts have ranted about this offense, so I want to make it clear that I thought they played a lot better than people are going to remember.  Yes, they let the Ravens back in the game, but they also scored 27 points on a team that only gives up 14. (Ranked #1)  They ran on a team that doesn’t let you run. (Ranked #3)  Yes, Kolb stunk.  But I’d argue that he looked better.  I know that’s a tough argument since he threw under 50% and had a 68.2 QB rating.  But there were definite signs of growth. 

If this team had one glaring weakness it’s gotta be third down conversions.  Today they were 2-11 in that department.  This team could not get a big 3rd down conversion when they needed it.  Baltimore got two more than they did, and I think that was the difference in the game.  This team just doesn’t have that one or two plays that they can go to to get a first down.  I’m amazed that Fitz doesn’t have one for him, or that the TEs aren’t in on one.  That’s all these losses are gonna come down to: one or two important conversions.  They couldn’t buy one in the 3rd quarter.

I hate to say this, because I scream at the T.V. every time Whiz says it, but the players just weren’t executing today.  The game plan made sense.  But Kolb couldn’t complete the passes and the entire secondary couldn’t cover Q.  I give Whiz a pass on this game.  (Although he did trade one of their best secondary players for Kolb, but I’m trying to be nice)

I want to point out a couple positive and negative things about Kevin.  First the negative.  The first play of the game was a passing play.  Kolb drops back and pressure forms to his left.  He makes a stupid decision to run back to his left and takes a sack.  I watched the play like six times and the pressure to his right got pushed back behind him.  There were zero defenders in a huge hole to his front right.  Yet he ran backwards.  Why is he running away from the open gap and into the pressure?  This is a really bad sign that has sprung up a lot this season.  I don’t think Kevin has any idea what to do with pressure.  I mean he just goes brain dead when he thinks, key word: thinks, that there is pressure.  He’s actually ran away from defenders who weren’t even there.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, someone needs to hang a dress in his locker and tell him to man up in the pocket.  If this were NFL Head Coach he grades out to be a 37 on his pocket presence.  I need to say 37, because saying an F just doesn’t scream how bad this really is.
He also, still, does not understand that you have to get rid of the ball quick… hang on… let that word rest a bit… let me repeat it… quick… okay, I’m done.  I can’t believe that he truly thinks that he has all that time with THIS offensive line against THAT defense.  He took six sacks today and looked shocked that they were in his face.  Kevin Kolb holds onto the ball way too freaking long.  I’m glad he’s showing his manliness in the fire, but holy crud get rid of the ball!  More proof that he doesn’t get this offense.  AT ALL!

Some positives?  Well, even while I deservedly rip him for his happy feet, I thought his feet were less happy than in weeks past.  He seemed to step up into the pocket more and deliver some mediocre throws.  I even saw him step forward away from the pressure and throw the ball away.  James and I were so excited to see him look like a real NFL QB we actually cheered.  Also, he made a big 3rd down conversion late in the game.  The game was tied and they were deep in their own territory.  Kolb stepped up and took off for a five yard game that gave them a huge 1st down.  He took a big hit to knock him out of bounds.  Those kind of plays will win you player’s respect, the fan’s love, and sometimes games. 

Beanie played great again.  He had a couple of huge hits.  Its becoming an every week thing that he annihilates a defender.  I still think they should have ran more, but that’s just me being greedy.  Smith should have had some more carries.

Three catches for Fitz, huh?  Well, that has to be mostly attributed to the poor QB play, but you have to believe that he’s questioning signing that big contract here.  Especially after watching Q go off for the 5-2 Ravens. 

David Carter is a steal.   He’s like a bolt of energy on that line.  He’s exactly what this line needs.  But they need more of him.  Dockett and Campbell both played well again.  Campbell should be considered for the Pro Bowl. 

The LB corps played a heck of a game today.  Both rookies showed up big with sacks.  And Washington was his usual stud self.  I saw them overrun the gaps on two occasions, but for the most part they seemed to stay with Rice.  I felt like they team got away from what made them successful in the first half: which was getting to the QB.  They seemed to stay with four man rushes and it got Flacco back into the game.  It’s a shame because they really were getting to him early. 

The corners lost this game for them.  Jefferson was manhandled by Q, and Peterson didn’t fair much better.  A.W. played well again, which I’m ecstatic to see.  He had a few jarring hits that got me out of my seat.  Rashad Johnson was all over the field making tackles.  When these corners pick up their game, this team has a chance to win.  It seems the Cards can stop the run now, but haven’t been able to stop the pass all year.  Can I mention DRC again?  No?  Okay.

Special teams played awesome.  There were two monster hits to go along with PP21’s 2nd punt return for the year.  This has been a strength all year.

If they can continue to run the ball effective, provide Kolb with plays he can execute, continue to stop the run, teach the corners how to cover, and continue playing good special teams than this team can win.  But two of those five haven’t showed enough improvement for that to happen.  The Cards are officially in the Luck sweepstakes.  If they lose to the Rams next week they’ll only have to contend with Indi and Miami.  And I think both of them will win one or two games this year.  Its still early, but who knows.

No comments:

Post a Comment