Facing the Steelers is no easy task, especially when you come into the game 1-4. Arizona played tight with Pittsburgh for much of the game, even cutting the deficit to just 3 in the second half. Ultimately they couldn’t keep up and ended up losing by 12. In doing so they lost starting RB Beanie Wells once again, this time with a knee injury. The oft injured back will sit out at least next game, and could miss 2 or even more. Details are a little fuzzy on the situation as Beanie is convinced it is not serious. Another tough blow to what looked like a real breakout season from the former first round pick. The Cards will run out with Alfonso Smith as the starting halfback next Sunday at Baltimore. Not exactly a comforting feeling. Larod Stephens-Howling didn’t see any carries, but did have an electric pass and run that went for 73 yards and a score. That helped to pad the stats of the struggling Kolb.
Looking at some positives from this game, Kolb didn’t play half bad. He finished with 272 yards with 2 scores and an INT. Not a horrible performance against a great defense. Baby steps, but at least he took a step forward. On another positive note, there was only one turnover in the game. If you can at least hold onto the football, you are going to be in a lot more games, and that is what happened Sunday.
On to some of the negative observations from the game. This pass defense is atrocious. Obviously we knew there would be some growing pains after trading away DRC, but 28th in the pass isn’t going to cut it. Big Ben had his way with the secondary, lighting them up for over 360 yards to go along with 3 scores including a 95 yard bomb to Mike Wallace. Antonio Brown added another 100 yards receiving. To look at the bright side, Mendenhall was a non factor for much of the game. He finished with just 32 yards on the ground, but with the aerial attack in full go, it was hardly a problem.
Another glaring problem with this team is a lack of a reliable number 2 receiver. Fitzgerald is incredible, but when you are the only bright spot on an offense, teams will game plan to keep you in check. Fitz ended up with 4 catches on a team high 10 targets, totaling 78 yards. Doucet was coming off a solid performance, and did manage to bring in all 5 balls thrown his way. Unfortunately he could only manage 30 yards.
Things aren’t getting any easier next week as Baltimore is next on the slate.