Cards left with familiar bad taste in mouth - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Cards left with familiar bad taste in mouth

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Posted: Monday, November 7, 2005 5:05 am | Updated: 8:46 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander was sick to his stomach Sunday.

So were the 43,000 or so Cardinal fans who bothered to show up at Sun Devil Stadium.

The only difference: Alexander will feel better.

There's no stopping Arizona now. Its destination this season is a given. The only question is whether the Cardinals have another really bad season or a truly stupefying, even-we-haven't-seen-this-before kind of year.

And what with coach Dennis Green apparently considering the possibility of John Navarre starting this Sunday in Detroit, we're not ruling out a belly-flop of unimaginable proportions.

For much of Arizona's 33-19 loss to Seattle Sunday, the prevailing thought in the press box was, “What do we write now?”

Been there, described that.

Fortunately, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals' defense provided some answers.

Let's start with Fitzgerald, who gets paid like a diva and apparently thinks he can act like one, too.

Fitzgerald wasn't around to see the end of Sunday's game. He sprinted into the north tunnel and headed for the locker room with 24 seconds remaining.

Sudden departures are nothing new for Fitzgerald. Win or lose, he's always the first Cardinal off the field and out of the locker room.

This was the first time, however, that he pulled a Randy Moss and deserted his teammates before the game was over.

The selfish act — and there's no other way to describe it — was noticed by Cardinals management, and if they put the looks on their faces into words, Fitzgerald will get a much deserved tongue-lashing this week.

Someone might want to deliver a message to Arizona's defense, as well.

The Seahawks rushed for 208 yards, 173 of which were gained by Alexander.

They had scoring drives of 63, 41, 60, 88 and 93 yards.

Now, we understand the Cardinals' offense has been primarily responsible for this sorry season. Kurt Warner had four turnovers in his return Sunday, and the dread-zone offense led to four more Neil Rackers field goals, but where's the fast, aggressive and potentially dominating defense Arizona was raving about in August?

“I don't know. We've got to find it, though,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said.

Isn't it a little late for that?

Yes, the Cardinals have suffered some key injuries. But nose tackle Russell Davis isn't indispensable.

Arizona allowed Dallas rookie Marion Barber to rush for 127 yards eight days ago, and Alexander did whatever he wanted to Sunday, often against a five-man front designed specifically to stop the run.

“I think that right now he's playing like the best back in the National Football League,” Green said.

Maybe so, but Alexander still shouldn't be able to run away from Arizona for an 88-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half.

Safety Adrian Wilson took a bad angle on Alexander's cutback, and no one on a defense built for speed was able to catch him.

Even more disturbing was the defense's collapse at a critical juncture in the fourth quarter.

The Cardinals had just scored to cut the Seahawks' lead to 27-19. A penalty on the ensuing kickoff backed Seattle to its 7-yard line.

Twelve plays, 93 yards and nearly seven minutes later, Alexander strolled into the end zone.

Blame the third-down pass interference penalty on Wilson early in the drive if you want, but the Seahawks still had 61 yards to go. Even with end Bertrand Berry and tackle Langston Moore out with injuries, Seattle shouldn't have been able to run for 51 of those yards on just seven carries.

“We're not going to make excuses,” defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. “We just have to play better.”

That theme echoed throughout the Cardinals' locker room, but it fell on deaf ears.

Arizona is 2-6. Five of its final eight games are on the road. Darnell Dockett is mad at fans who boo the Cardinals? Here's a question, Darnell:

What do they have to cheer for?

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