They won the game, but once again their defense was picked apart. That was the biggest flaw in the Cardinals’ 30-27 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday.
“We’ve got to improve that,” coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged.
“That was disappointing. We can’t let them have three successive drives for points at the end of the game when we have a lead.
“Maybe that was a function of us being a little too comfortable, having a 10-point lead, and playing a little bit too soft.”
The Cardinals’ dilemma: trying to protect a depleted secondary with enough pass coverage while still getting a rush on the quarterback.
They were clearly thinking about an earlier 74-yard scoring play given up by cornerback Antrel Rolle.
“You have to try to … get pressure on them. But you don’t want to expose yourself, like we did on the 74-yard play,” Whisenhunt said.
“Our defense understood what was coming at them. We were just playing a little too soft in those situations.”
Though they realized their win wasn’t exactly impressive, a couple of players reacted in a sort of mock horror when asked if they needed to apologize for it.
“Apologize?” said defensive lineman Darnell Dockett.
“Man, I’m not apologizing for winning. I’ve had enough losses to put gray hair on my head at age 25.”
Agreed linebacker Calvin Pace, “I’m not apologizing for nothing. Some of us have never won seven games with this team.”
Actually, there are just two: Adrian Wilson and Marcell Shipp played on the 2001 team that went 7-9.
Long-snapper Nathan Hodel has a badly sprained ankle.
If he can’t go Sunday at home against St. Louis, backup Troy Bienemann will take his place.
Bienemann, normally a tight end, has practiced long-snapping this season.
Right guard Deuce Lutui has a sprained knee.
The Cards will try to see if he can play with a brace.
If he can’t go, Elton Brown, who filled in Sunday, likely would take his place.
The Cardinals placed injured defensive lineman Ross Kolodziej, who has been out with a quadriceps injury, on injured reserve.
They elevated linebacker David Holloway from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster while signing him to a two-year contract.
Holloway was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland after this year’s draft.
In addition, the Cardinals re-signed tight end Alex Shor to the practice squad.