Friday, November 30, 2007

Sisyphus in the Desert (AZ Cardinals Top 10 Losses Ever)

We all know the Myth of Sisyphus, the guy doomed for eternity to push a boulder up a moutain, only to have it fall back down when he is about to succeed. Over and over again. Since the Cardinals moved to Arizona back in 1988, being a fan here is alot like that. Sure we had a tiny run of success in 1998. We'll always have 1998. But other than that tiny blip of happiness (taken away by the Bidwill's stunning parsimony and short-sightedness that off-season), it has been tough out here in the hot desert.

The Cardinals repeatedly find new ways to lose and new ways to kill progress. But last weekend's loss against the woeful 49ers may have taken the cake. Not only did numerous players have to make bone-headed mistakes in order to get the loss, but the coaching staff had to put in record-breaking performance for consistent mismanagement. I like Whisenhunt, but this stuff is unacceptable. Anyway, the loss inspired us to list the 10 worst Arizona Cardinals losses in their troubled tenure here. The secret common link is Bidwill incompetence. Use the comment option below this post to let us know how you'd rank 'em.

#1. “We Let ‘Em Off the Hook!”2006 Week 6: Cardinals v. Bears.
The loss marked the first time in history that a team blew a 20-point lead to an opponent who did not score any offensive touchdowns. As a fan at the game, this was just unbelievable. Missed FGs, defensive TDs for the Bears,e tc.
At the post-game press conference, coach Dennis Green erupted at reporters. "The Bears are who we thought they were! That's why they took the damn field! You want to crown them, crown their asses! They're who we thought they were and we let them off the hook!" Enjoy the infamous Dennis Green video here.

#2. “10 pt Favorites”
2007 Week 11: Cardinals v. Niners
This game is so bad, we had to break it down.

*Cardinals are 10pt favorites at home against the woeful 49ers (on a 8 game losing streak!) with Trent Dilfer at QB. A Cardinals win would put them in great position for the playoffs. Yet they lose despite outstanding performances by Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner.

*"The Celestine Prophecy": This bodes very bad for the rest of the year. Due to injuries we had someone named Celestin[e] in the game (#35) at Safety. He was just dreadful. Gave up big runs and got juked out of socks by Arnez Battle on that long TD pass when the Cardinals were trying to hold it together. Not only was he not cut, but he will be starting this week vs. the Browns. Terrance Holt was dreadful too, but with Eric Green out, what can we do?
One of several goats:

*Off his Rackers: That Pro Bowl seems long ago. This is the 2nd game on the list the Cardinals could have won if Rackers had done his job by making a simple, mid range Field Goal. I love the guy –gutsy, tackles on kick offs, and funny. But he HAS to make a clutch kick.
Another Goat:

*Bar Barr: The Cardinals were penny-wise and pound-foolish once again! They let Scott Player go to save money and picked up bargain-basement Mike Barr. When the Cardinals needed a clutch punt, he shanked it and put the Niners in business. He was the worst punter in the league this year and this game sealed his fate. He is history. But the Cardinals history of cutting corners bit them in the ass yet again.
Barr's Resume Picture:

*Breaston. THREE times he returns punts inside his own 12. How could he know that rookie TE would make blunderous bad blocks two plays in a row? But still, quit returning them when we have the lead late. He is speedy, gutsy and talented and I’m glad he’s here. But he needs a coach! Clearly the Cardinals forgot to spend time teaching Breaston the basics. Damn Michigan grads.

*Gee Whisenhunt? This game may hurt because of the repeated, BONEHEADED mistakes by the coaches. Repeated clock management blunders and just idiotic playing calling with the game on the line (way to call 4 passes in a row when we’re trying to run the clock down in the 4th quarter). Why did we go for it on 4th down with Rattay when we needed that FG to tie? Sure, it worked, but it barely did and that would have been the game. But with the game on the line, Bryant Johnson was out of bounds at the one foot line and instead of lining up and running a play with 6 seconds left on the clock, we wasted the play on a time out that was COMPELTELY unnecessary. This meant we had to pass and San Francisco knew it. Needless to say they broke up the pass. Then we MAKE the winning kick in OT only to have it taken back on a delay of game penalty. Then he missed. Outrageous. Plus I hold the coaching staff entirely responsible for Ben Patrick’s IDIOTIC and useless clipping penalties.

This game hurt. It was a grand combination of stupidity and it cost us the playoffs (most likely).

#3 "The Shutouts"
2003 Week 2: Seattle 38, Cardinals 0. In Arizona. Bryant Johnson and Calvin Pace's first game. Nice trade down Cardinals.
2002 Week 13: KC 49, Cardinals 0.
1996 Week 3: Patriots 31, Cardinals 0.

#4 "Rattay's Greatest Game"
2004 Week 5: Cardinals at San Francisco
The Cardinals were up 28-12 with 8 minutes to go against winless San Francisco. But the Cardinals choked and made Tim Rattay look outstanding by giving up two TDs and a 2pt conversion in the last few minutes. This was a game the Cardinals were "supposed" to win against a winless Niners side. We should have remembered this game. The Cardinals did try to return the favor in Week 14 of 2004 when they came back to tie the game after being down 28-10 to the Niners in the fourth quarter. Sadly the Cardinals were who we thought they were and the 49ers won it in OT with a FG. Better still, these two games were the 49ers only wins of the year.

#5 "False Start"
2005 Week 2: Rams at Cardinals
Is there a team crushed by false start penalties more than the AZ Cardinals? This game sums it up perfectly. Down 17-12 in Tempe but making a great last-minute drive for the score, the Cardinals screw up in clock management. Warner (otherwise playing a great game) gives up a brutal sack when they were at the 5. With seconds counting down, the Cardinals had time for one play in the red zone, only to blow that when Leonard Davis was whistled for false start --and so the game ended without a chance to try that last play. Gut-wrenching.

#6 “Rejected Gift”
2006 Week 3: Rams at Cardinals
The Cardinals' valiant try for a 4th quarter comeback falls far short. The only score that Arizona could muster was a 6-yard TD run by RB Edge. Yet, after a Bulger fumble deep in St. Louis territory while trying to run out the clock, the Cardinals were in position to steal one. Finally! The Cardinals set up for an easy chip-shot field goal to win, but Warner fumbled a snap and St. Louis recovered to seal the victory 16-14. Ugh.

#7 “You Complete Me Buddy”
1995 Week 17: Dallas at Cardinals.
Before a sell out crowd on a Monday Night, the hapless Arizona Cardinals give this craptastic gift to all loyal Cardinal fans: A 13 - 37 drubbing by the hated Dallas Cowboys. Yikes! Coach Ryan told us: “You’ve got a winner in town.” Yeah, right Buddy. Somehow this game was used for game action scenes in the movie “Jerry McGuire.” Highlight: Larry Centers leaping over the Cowboys defender and keeps running. Lowlight: Buddy Ryan leaving the field before the end of the game -- knowing he is done in Arizona.

#8 "Buddy Ain't A Winner"
1995 Week 5: KC 24 Cards 3.
Awful game with the added bonus that Steve Bono sets record for the longest run by a quarterback in NFL history with a 76-yard touchdown scramble. Check it out:

#9 "Rackers' First Choke?"
2006 Week 5: KC at Cardinals.
Up at home 20-10 after three quarters in Matt Leinart's first start, the Cardinals go into a shell and find a way to lose 23-20. Rackers gives us a preview of things to come by missing a 51yd FG that would have tied it with 2 seconds left.

#9(b) "Another Blown Lead"
2005 Week 5: Carolina at Cardinals
This one ties with the KC game because again the Cardinals were up 20-10 at home after 3 quarters and found a way to lose it 24-20. The 4 turnovers helped.

#10: "[im]Perfect Season Ruined"
1996 Week 9: The 0-8 Jets face the 3-4 Cards before a packed house (OK 28,088) in a crucial game in which they can pull to .500 at the halfway point of the season. Instead of pounding the worst team in the league at home, the Cards give up 31 points (to a team averaging just over 14 points before the game) while only scoring 21. The Jets fail to win a game the rest of the year, finishing 1-15.

*Agree? Disagree? Please post your comments and take part in the poll. Thanks!

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