The Arizona Cardinals season is almost upon us. Kyler Murry’s amazing throws and running ability, and Hopkins ready to burn every secondary. With Budda Baker solidifying the safety core and new pieces like JJ Watt and Rodney Hudson to look forward to along with the new rookies like Zaven Collins and Rondale Moore, the team should be exciting.
Now imagine a team with statistically one of the worst offenses of all time, a bad pick in Josh Rosen, a coach who’s never coached above high school level, and a team that showed no life. That, was the 2018 Arizona Cardinals. Wait, it was only 2 years ago?
ACT 1: Offseason/Preseason
After an 8-8, disappointing season for the Cardinals, there was a lot of changes that had to be made within the organization. Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer both retired (at least at the time), and the start had to be who we hired at coach. We went with a defensive coordinator from Carolina and his name was Steve Wilks. Arizona would then go on to signing Sam Bradford to a risky, hefty, 3 year deal to replace the void Palmer left. We also made some very miniscule signings like Elijahaa Penny and Kerwynn Williams to back up the number one back in fantasy the previous year, David Johnson.
Drafting also looked like a massive success. Keim traded up with Oakland to get the 10th pick which we then used to draft Josh Rosen from UCLA. An obvious choice as he was projected to go number one just weeks ago. We drafted hometown hero Christian Kirk to replace Fitz, Mason Cole to bolster the oline, and Chase Edmonds to help the running back room.
Preseason brought up the hype to the majority of the fanbase if anyone can remember. Sam Bradford looked like he was finally living up to his potential, Johnson looked like the rest didn’t effect him one bit, and the defense, even after the loss of players on that side of the ball, still looked like the “No Fly Zone” from seasons past. We thought we’d have a fun, competitive season. Oh how foolish we were…
Act 2: First Half
Week One: Arizona opens up at home against the Washington Football Team, hopes were high, fresh football was finally here. Then, we finally realized what we may be in for. Our offense couldn’t move, the defense let Adrian Peterson, a member of the Cardinals the previous season, run all over them without resistance. Washington had double the yards we had. We had 2 turnovers. Lastly, the Football team won: 24-6.
Week Two: Next, we had to travel to LA Coliseum to play the young, upstart Rams. Now, this was the game most fans realized that we didn’t have hope. To say how bad it was, the offense didn’t get over midfield until very late in the fourth quarter. Bradford went 7-15 for 90 yards and an interception, David Johnson had 18 yards, and the Gurley turned the defense into Swiss cheese (which became a trend for Rams backs over the years). In the end, we fell 34-0.
Week Three: After the Rams game, most people wanted Sam benched for the Chosen Rosen, we went up against one of the best defenses in Chicago. They acquired Kahlil Mack the previous off-season. Now, with the oline, tell me how you think this ended for Arizona. Surprisingly, we jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Then, that lead dwindled and dwindled away. 16-14, in the middle of the fourth, Sam Bardford tries to run but Khalil Mack forces a fumble. This was the last straw. Rosen came in for the first time, he proceeded to go 4-7 with an interception and still looked better than Sam Bradford ever did. 16-14 is how this game ends.
Week 4: Rosen doesn’t look half bad, the Cardinals showed one of their only pulses of the season and fought the whole way. Still, it didn’t matter, lost on a last-second field goal. 20-17.
Week 5: A victory, at last. Yes, Rosen did throw under 50 percent, David Johnson was still bad, and the O line still couldn’t block a paper towel. However, they forgot two factors: Christian Kirk and Injuries. Kirk, was one of the only bright spots we had and Rosen and him connected early for a 75-yard bomb. Then, Niners season got decimated with injuries. Mainly to Quarterback Jimmy G. Cardinals win 28-18
Week 6: No hope exists in the Desert. Rosen throws an interception and no TDs, Johnson can’t get above 3 yards a carry. Mike McCoy and Wilks aren’t deserving of coaching jobs. We lose 27-17
Week 7:…………. 45-10 loss to Denver. Mccoy Fired. Rosen 2 pick sixes.
Week 8: We win again against San Fran. Rosen shows flashes of potential with a late 4th Quarter comeback, Larry spikes the GW touch down. Finally, 18-15 win.
Act 3: Second Half…yay…..
Week 10: Oh god no, we play Kansas City. Well, thankfully, only a 12 point loss. As well as holding them to their lowest point total. Game sealed on a Rosen interception to a DL.
Week 11: This game is life or death for Arizona, lose, and the number one pick becomes that much closer. The cardinals, tried to screw it up. They, specifically Fitz and David Johnson, wanted to win, and with little time left, up one, Daniel Carlson comes out with the Raiders down one for a game winning field goal. For reference, Dylan was cut early in the season for being horrific against Green Bay for Minnesota. He became a meme and was still picked up by what was the Oakland Raiders. Didn’t matter. In typical Cardinals fashion, Carlson drills the field goal. However, we win the war for the first pick.
Week 12:……….. 10-45 loss to the Chargers. Rosen sucked. Our defense let Melvin run hog wild. We are now 2-9.
Week 13: Now, at week 12, something special was happening. Against Green Bay, despite Rosen and Johnson still being non-existent. Miraculously, we forced overtime 17-17 due to two Chase Edmonds touchdowns. Then, chaos ensues. With a vigor for winning, Fitz does what he does best, especially against Green Bay, big plays in overtime. He comes up with a huge catch to set up a field goal for Zane Gonzalez. After that, Mason Crosby’s field goal fell short. A wild Cardinals victory. Mike McCarthy was abruptly fired after the loss. Finally, Cardinals win, 20-17. However, this is the last win of the season.
Week 14: We lost to Detroit. Even with a drive over midfield with a chance to make the game completive. Rosen throws a pick 6 to Darius Slay. Game ends 17-3.
Week 15:…… We lose to Atlanta 40-14.
Week 16: At the home stretch, we get the reward of getting blown out by LA again. 31-9
Week 17: In the end, doesn’t matter what happened. We lost. Thankfully, Wilks and most of our coaching staff was fired, we got the number one pick which became Kyler Murray, and we hired a young, upstart coach in Kliff Kingsbury.
Act 4: Historical Offense
Twitter can explain better than I ever could.
Act 5: How far we’ve come
In the end, as much as this was to tell a sad tale of one of the worst seasons in recent memory, it’s also one to look at fondly. This, should show how far we’ve come. From the 3-13 cardinals with no hope, to where we are at now. Like anyone, I don’t know what the future holds, nor do I know how pickups like Watt and Hudson will preform. However, the one thing I do know, is that I’m excited for the Cardinals season. Finally, in this moment, is our time to strike.
Stats and Games used taken from Pro-Football-Reference Website.