The Arizona Cardinals' defense and special teams are good enough to keep them in every game. The offense will make sure that no game comes easy.
Arizona has been living a charmed life this season full of dropped potential game-winning touchdowns, missed game-winning field goals, and all kinds of fumble recovery luck. The Cardinals have played tough every week, but their 4-0 record heading into Week 5 covered up a lot of traits more typical of 2-2 teams. Those traits showed up in their 17-3 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Thursday.
Arizona gave up nine sacks on the night. Kevin Kolb has been sacked 17 times in the last two weeks, the most of any two-week total since 1986. There were times Kolb held onto the ball too long, but these mostly were on his offensive tackles.
The Cardinals give up a pressure or a quarterback hit seemingly every snap. Arizona's offensive line remains one of the worst units in football. It's been that way since the preseason.
Kolb shouldn't escape blame here. He showed great toughness and moved the ball late, but the Cardinals were in position to score multiple touchdowns in the first half. Kolb underthrew a seam route to Rob Housler that should have gone for a score early in the game. He missed Larry Fitzgerald open for a possible touchdown on the same drive. In the second quarter, Kolb overthrew a wide-open Andre Roberts streaking down the field. These were plays in which Kolb was protected well.
The Cardinals have next to no running game, and Ryan Williams' injury Thursday won't help. So they can't protect the passer, and they have a limited running game. They can overcome all these problems to compete each week, but it's hard to making a living that way for an entire 16-game season.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.